- Kathy Tarochione’s journey, marked by a rebellious spirit, the profound impact of her father, and early hardships, forged her into a resilient and self-reliant individual.
- Her extraordinary skill in transforming obstacles into pathways for personal development and community betterment has established her as an innovative leader.
- With The Golden Life Community, Kathy has cultivated a warm and supportive haven for women grappling with feelings of loneliness and invisibility, offering them a place of comfort and connection.
- In her leadership role, Kathy has embraced the significance of teamwork, valuing each person’s unique contributions and providing support where it’s most needed.
1. Can you tell us more about your childhood values and how they shaped who you are today?
As a child, I was rebellious – the black sheep of the family. My father, whom I was close to, owned a chain of grocery stores and my mother was a homemaker. When my father died at age 39, I was devastated. I curled up in his bed, unable to believe he was gone. My relationship with my mother improved after his death, and we had become close friends by the time she passed away.
Growing up, I was overweight, with kinky curly hair and acne. I wasn’t conventionally beautiful. But I had a good personality and many friends. I didn’t let my appearance bother me, and if someone teased me for being fat, I would simply say, “Well, then don’t look.” My experiences made me strong and resilient. I learned I was in control of my own life and I couldn’t rely on anyone else to take care of me. This is a value I still cherish today. I will never drown. I will never be the one to go down. I will make it through.
2. Can you tell us what event or idea in your life led to the creation of the Golden Life Community?
I was inspired to create this community by my own life experiences. In the United States, as women age, we can be forgotten and neglected by our families. We can feel invisible and as though we don’t matter. We may also lose our looks, personality, sense of humor, and entire identity as we age. People around us – our family and friends – also pass away, leaving us feeling isolated and alone.
I always focus on turning lemons into lemonade. Every time I face a difficulty, I view it as an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. I then use it to create something that will help others. Having felt the anonymity and isolation that comes with aging, I wanted to help other women over 55 who have faced similar challenges.
The Golden Life Community is based on a personal experience that I went through with a friend. We realized there was a need for a community where women could support each other through life’s challenges.
Besides offering virtual support through our connection platform known as the Worldwide Golden Connections, we also offer physical communities known as the GOLDENSpaces in the United States. We have The Golden Life Center too – a community center with a greenhouse, cooking area, meditation areas, a training center, a shop, and a live broadcasting studio.
What we’ve realized with this Golden Life Community is that women from all over the world share similar problems, issues, and feelings about themselves. We exist to help women with their issues and connect them with others who feel the same way. We are building a community where women can support each other, learn from each other, and grow together.
3. What do you believe is the primary challenge faced by women past their 50s in today’s environment?
Loneliness is a challenge many women have as they get older. It can be as if a shadow descends upon them. They worry that as they age, people won’t like them and won’t want to be around them. These women can feel stuck, frozen in place, and unable to move forward. They may withdraw, neglect self-care, sink into depression, and lose their passion and sense of purpose. They may feel they become almost invisible, and even their own children may not want to be around them.
Self-sabotage can be a way to escape loneliness and fear, but it’s crucial to become aware of this pattern if it exists. It’s important to communicate and express our desires.
As women age, they may forget who they are and the skills they possess. They may worry about their weight and looks. But in reality, most people don’t notice these things as much. They care about what we say, the wisdom we can share, and the compassion we show.
We should focus on the wealth of experiences and wisdom we have to offer. That’s what truly matters when we connect with others.
4. Are there any experiences or anecdotes that significantly impacted your life?
Meeting Mother Teresa in 1996 was a life-changing experience for me. I was part of a healthcare delegation to India, and I was deeply inspired by her passion for helping others. She told me to follow my passion and always follow my heart, and I have tried to do that throughout my life.
I was an advocate for battered women at the time, and I was moved by her compassion for and understanding of this cause. I was among the 10% of battered women who managed to leave their abusive situation. Many victims choose to stay in their marriages because they worry about where they’ll live, how they’re going to pay for necessities, and what will happen to their children.
When I left my marriage, I rented a five-bedroom house and contacted some shelters that cared for victims of violence. I brought these women into my home for five or six weeks, and sometimes two months. I created a newsletter for domestic violence shelters, sharing my experience of being battered and disowned by my family, and I developed my initiative into a statewide plan.
Women may choose to remain silent to avoid causing waves or facing a confrontation, which may make it easy for people to assume we are the cause or trigger of the violence. Unfortunately, abusive partners are likely to continue the cycle of violence until we choose to walk away.
Building yourself back up after a traumatic experience can be extremely challenging. But that’s one thing I’m passionate about helping other women do.
5. What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to always be a team player. You cannot micromanage your team members or play boss. Everyone has their own unique way of doing things. Acknowledge your team’s accomplishments and be supportive. Also, don’t expect everyone to do things the same way you do them. If you have a team member who doesn’t always follow through on their promises, don’t get upset or reprimand them. Instead, try to understand why they’re struggling and offer to help. Realize that only a few people on any team are going to be high performers. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Offer to help them, or delegate that task to someone else.
6. Do you have a mantra you live by?
I’ve always believed it’s important to be truthful, especially to yourself. You can’t deny or cover up reality. For instance, I can only walk 15-20 steps before I’m out of breath. I can’t deny that, so I’m always truthful about it.
Some people tend to fudge the truth or say things to make themselves look better. They want to cover up their problems or weaknesses. But I don’t have to do that anymore. The truth sets me free. I’m very honest, and I don’t mind telling people the truth, even if it’s not what they want to hear.
7. What do you envision for the future of The Golden Life Community? Are there any upcoming initiatives, projects, or goals you’d like to highlight for our audience?
I tend to live in the future, so I’m already envisioning myself living in one of the Golden Life communities. I have a vision to make our community international. I envision the Golden Life Community becoming a movement where women unite, come out of hiding, and become visible.
Safety is an important issue for women. If you’re going to tell the truth and be yourself, you don’t want to be judged. You want to be accepted and helped. We are building that safe space at the Golden Life Community and I want it to continue being that for future generations of women.
8. What advice would you give people who are afraid to follow their passion?
Ask yourself what is stopping you. Is it the fear of judgment and other people being mean or hurtful? Unfortunately, certain people will behave that way regardless. So, plunge through the fear of other’s opinions and realize that whatever they say is about them, not you. We sometimes also fear that we’re not worthy of moving forward. But the passion inside you is always there to guide you to success, as long as you eliminate the fear of moving through the pain.
Kathy’s story is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit and the potential for positive change. Confronting fear of judgment and self-doubt fosters courage, and following your passion helps you navigate life’s challenges, emerging stronger and more fulfilled.