Initiative Director, Changing the Narrative
Denver, CO

“I see the difference between how some groups view elders with respect, while others view older people as objects of charity, not agents of change. My longtime community activism shows me that disruptors are everywhere.”


An encore champion and longtime community activist, Janine Vanderburg is in her encore career leading Changing the Narrative in Colorado, a campaign started in 2018 to change the way people think, talk and act about aging and ageism. In this role, she has:

  • Launched media and social media campaigns about the value of older people.
  • Created a photo contest to counter visual ageism, soliciting photos of people age 50+ at work, volunteering and in entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Advocated for age-friendly public policies and stronger anti-discrimination laws.
  • Trained over 4,000 people across the country in research-based messaging by the FrameWorks Institute to counter negative stereotypes of older people and to advocate adoption of age-friendly policies.

In 2019, Janine created the Age-Friendly Workplace Initiative, to “reframe” older workers to business leaders and to make businesses more aware of the benefits of intergenerational workplaces, and On the Same Page, a campaign to encourage intergenerational conversations about ageism. This year, Janine partnered with the local PBS station to produce and broadcast a series of intergenerational conversations about critical topics, including the role of the arts in advancing social justice, digital divides during Covid-19, health equity and ageism.

 Janine served two terms on the Denver Commission on Aging, where she facilitated a strategic planning process to help Denver become an age-friendly community and initiated the Commission’s social media presence to challenge the stereotype that older adults are digitally incompetent. In 2018, she earned the Mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion award for her advocacy for older adults.

Committed to leveraging the talents of people of all ages to benefit community, Janine currently chairs the Encore Network Leadership Council. Her favorite saying: “We are the leaders we are looking for.”

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