"...we will soon see more than 50 percent of the world’s population become 50 years of age or older for the first time in history"
According to Age Nation, a digital media company co-founded by Santa Feans George and Sedena Cappannelli, and Empower New Mexico, a nonprofit that serves vulnerable members of our population, we will soon see more than 50 percent of the world’s population become 50 years of age or older for the first time in history. The impact that this demographic shift will have--both in terms of challenges and opportunities--will be profound. So instead of waiting for some other agency to prepare for this rapidly approaching change to the norm, the two organizations decided to do something proactive, organizing a multi-day symposium to help all of us live healthy, more impassioned lives as we grow older.
Happening Aug. 24 through 26 at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe (463 Paseo de Peralta), the Navigating Your Future Conference offers an ambitious line up of internationally recognized authors and speakers, musicians, films and a lifestyle expo. Admission prices range from $2 to $249, depending upon the event.
The conference kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24 with a VIP Reception, keynote lecture by mythologist Michael Meade (author of Fate and Destiny) and musical performances by the Native American Music Award-winning Indigie Femme, and vocalist Martha Reich accompanied by cellist Michael Knott.
Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 25 and Aug. 26) both begin with an optional yoga and Pilates wake-up session before attendees can dive into days packed with well- known speakers like consciousness teacher and 60's icon Ram Dass; creative coach Julia Cameron; author Jean Houston; brain power experts Michael Gelb and Kelly Howell; anthropologist Angeles Arrien; wellness expert, Dr. Hyla Cass; branding and reinvention expert, Robin Fisher Roffer; dream expert, Kelly Walden Sullivan and many more. A range of musicians, from mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski to the street musician group Urban Art, will join the speakers each day, as well.
“Our conference presenters are the leading authorities and most dynamic speakers on their subjects,” organizer George Cappennelli, (who is also a business and political consultant on change strategies) says. “Elsewhere a conference like this might cost upwards of $450, but we have intentionally kept the cost moderate so as many people as possible may attend.”
While it does seem like an event one might typically find in a much bigger city, it is also uniquely suited for Santa Fe, and for one important reason, Cappannelli astutely reminds us: in Santa Fe, 62 percent of the population is already aged 50 and over.
“We need to pay more attention to this and think through strategies to make our city strong and vital, and help this population age with dignity with the right kind of engagement and support.” So far, the community has responded. From local banks and restaurants to grocery stores and mom and pop enterprises, Age Nation and Empower New Mexico have secured conference sponsorship from a variety of local businesses.
But, what about Santa Fe’s younger set, often overlooked in a town known as a retirement mecca--will any of this be relevant to their needs? According to Cappennelli, the answer is yes.
“Younger people should attend because part of our mission is cross-generational. We believe we need to open a new pathway and dialogue between generations as the challenges that come with an aging population cannot be solved on their own,” Cappennelli notes.
“Also, the topics at the conference are not just about getting older; they are about personal and spiritual development. They are about having quality relationships and reinventing oneself in terms of career and involvement in the community. Whether you’re 20 or 60, there will be strategies that can help you lead a richer, more fulfilling rewarding life.”
Cappennelli says, “If I were a young person who had the opportunity to learn from the experts who will be uniquely gathered here in Santa Fe for this, I’d jump at the opportunity.” And, while the promotional materials promise tall goals around everything from understanding the role fate plays in life to using the mind to its full potential, it’s safe to assume there has never been an assembly of speakers quite like this in Santa Fe.
Cappennelli promises attendees will not be disappointed. “If you would like to think more about the future, learn how to build better relationships, explore legacy giving, work on your own spiritual or personal development, talk about finance or careers and more, at this conference you will be given the opportunity.”
To learn more about the Navigating Your Future Conference, including how to register online, click here.