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There are some women who just sparkle when they walk into a room, and Rene' Green is one of them.  You would never know after talking with her that she, like the rest of us, has faced adversity and life-challenging moments.  Green owned a restaurant at the age of 21 near Mile High Stadium and sold it 11 years later to put herself through college and earn a BS in Finance while raising 2 young boys.  In 2006, Rene's husband, David Green, a bureau chief for ABC News in Denver, previouly Dallas & Chicago (who did assignments in many war-torn cities) died suddenly of a heart attack leaving Rene' and her family broken-hearted.  Rene' worked at Standard & Poor's for 22 years in a job she loved only to be downsized.  She picked herself up, each time, and optimistically started again.        

Rene' is now the Colorado State Pageant Adminstrator for the Ms. Colorado Senior America Pageant which will be held this year on May 26th, at 2 p.m. at the Lone Tree Arts Center with 12 contestants, (one of them, HYM Gayle Novak), entertainment by Tony David of Wildefire, and a "My Fair Lady" theme. The ladies will dazzle you with their singing, dancing, comedy and sparkling evening gowns. Tickets are ony $25, so you can be there to help cheer them on.  (www.lonetreeartscenter.org - 720-509-1000)

The Colorado winner will go on to compete in the Ms. Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ in October 2018.   Rene' adds: "The pageant captures the joy of living and letting age not be a detriment.  The contestants will compete in four categories before a distinguished panel of judges, including: Private Interview, Evening Gown, Philosophy of Life, and Talent.  This Pageant showcases these amazing women who have wisdom, talent, and a joy of life."

Read the Q & A to get to know more about this elegant and charming lady.  Rene Green believes woman can find balance in life with work, family - and still have fun doing what you want to do.  I love the saying she left me with: "Once in a while some rain must fall in life.... it helps you to see the rainbows after!" 

Rene, tell us about your role as the Colorado State Pageant Administrator of the Ms. Senior Colorado America pageant?   I was appointed by the Colorado Cameo Club, of which I am a member, to administer and coordinate activities for a Ms. Senior America Pageant for the State of Colorado.  I also assist each reigning Queen with Publicity and preparation for the National Pageant which is held in NJ each October.  I have a wonderful pageant committee who are very active in the pageant as well.   So many things go into a pageant, and no one person can do it alone.   

How did you get involved?  You must be a contestant to be in the Cameo Club.  I have to say I was a winner in 2016… everyone is a winner that competes....  I did not place in the pageant (but heard one of my sons yell - I love you Mom!).  I was a true winner because I was elected to the Board, I am the official photographer, and now a State Pageant Director.  I am doing what I love – working with others, the media, and helping to grow this wonderful organization of women over 60.  We are active!!

Tell us about the upcoming 2018 Ms. Colorado Senior America Pageant at the Lone Tree Arts Center on May 26th?  I am so excited about this year’s Pageant.  For those that don’t know –this is not a beauty contest!   You must be 60 or older.  We celebrate and give honor to women who have reached the “Age of Elegance”.  It is a search for the gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all senior Americans.

(For more information about the 2018 Pageant and if you would like to be a contestant in the future, please contact me at: renemcsap@gmail.com, or call 720-384-6249. You can also find information on the website at: colosramerica.com.)

How do you feel the pageant has progressed through the years?  Thanks to the efforts of the Colorado Cameo Club – each year the pageant gets bigger and better. The contestants amaze me too.  Such talent and ENGERY!!!   These ladies are out in the community giving back.  They certainly don’t look older than 60.  They are certainly living life to their fullest!

You are out and about and involved with several charitable organizations.  What are some of the ones you have previously worked with or are involved with presently?  Easter Seals, Canine Partners of the Rockies, Denver Dog Show, Safehouse of Denver, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), Special Olympics, and many organizations when I worked at Standard & Poor’s.  We had a community service team who gave back to the community.  It makes me feel good to give back. 

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met?  Many people but most recently it was Tony Robbins.  I love the energy that he radiates.  I want to do that too! 

What word best describes your life right now?   Right now – Blessed!  I have my health, I am active, involved, loving and living life to the fullest. 

Describe a typical Saturday night for you? If it is not a charity function on Saturday night, then it is dinner out, find out what bands are playing in town, grab my boyfriend and then go out with friends to sing and dance.  (He plays the guitar, and soon I hope to be his backup on the fiddle.)

What are some of your favorite restaurants in the Denver area?  Perfect Landing, Zang’s Italian Restaurant, Shanahan’s, Del Frisco’s, La Fogata’s margaritas, Bella Cucina, and the list goes on.   HMMM – maybe a theme here!   I like to eat out!

Other than your family, what is your proudest personal achievement? I owned a restaurant when I was 21.  I sold it 11 years later to finance my way through college. Education was very important to me and I wanted the degree.   I was a late - life student.  I worked my way through college fulltime, raised 2 children and graduated with honors at the top of my class.  It can be done.

What is your fondest childhood memory?  Our 1st family vacation, going to the Grand Canyon when I was 8.   Back then it was a long trip without air conditioning and no internet!!   We played finding the white horse game to keep us busy.   My family had a business to run in Boulder, so taking a trip was a luxury.   I returned to the Grand Canyon last month.  It is amazing seeing it now through older eyes.  My photography has taught me patience and to see the beauty in everything. This country has a wonderful canvas.  We need to learn to stop and appreciate it. 

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title of it be? Don’t stop believing…You can do anything!   

Who do you consider to be your most influential mentor in life?  My Mom.  She was so ahead of her time. In her day; there were not too many business women.  She was so smart.   She taught me how to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  Treat everyone with kindness.  To play nice and work with others.  To be able to cook and also change your own tire.  Never sell yourself short in love, life or business.  Make your bed each day. Always write a thank-you card!  And always try to be the best you can be and you will never be disappointed.    Mom suffered a major stroke when she was 65 and she worked so hard to recover.   She learned to walk, write, and speak again.   Mom had Alzheimer’s in her 70’s and never recovered.  I saw a vibrant woman who would be out on the slopes in her 60’s, in fact she was lost on Vail Mt. one evening, go to not knowing her daughter. What a terrible disease.  I am sure if there was a way to recover she would have done it.  She was always determined.   When people tell me you are just like your mother – it is the best complement I can ever receive.    

Sometimes it feels like there is pressure to perform and conform to the standards of others out there, how does one hold on to their true self and still remain “real” and successful?

It is 2 part – understand the other person’s standards or perspective (they may not be so different from yours) and second you have to believe in yourself.   Each person needs to have respect for the other.

How do you stay so motivated and committed to your mission and vision?   I love a challenge, to work hard, to help others, and if you are doing something you truly love…. it does not take much motivation or commitment. 

What do you see as the pros and cons of Social Media today? It is a great outlet for marketing, and quick connection with others.  HOWEVER – I see so many people with their heads stuck to their iPhones.  You are missing the beauty of the outside world and verbal connection with others.

Do you feel women have made progress in their quest to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace?  It has come such a long way.  When I started my first job at 14, women had to wear a dress and you were give “women” jobs.  Later when I had my first “real” position it was a problem if you had children.  Now I see it fairer with work/life balances for men and women.   Women in finance have and are taking on VP positions and working on the Board for many Fortune 500 companies.   Yes I do see progress. 

It still seems challenging for women as they get older to compete in a marketplace that is focused on looking and being young.  What advice do you have for women still wanting to  stay in the gain and remain career relevant?   Boy that is probably the most difficult question to answer.  I was “downsized” after a 22 year career when I turned 59.   I updated the resume, took career building classes, and other avenues to find a position.  I found my interviews turned into “you are too qualified”, or a quest for the interviewer to find answers to their company issues and yet not hire me.   I would say my biggest mistake was being too comfortable in my position and not networking outside my company.   Also, you need to stay current- your resume, learning outside your company, and also looking for opportunities even if you have a job you love. 

What was your special “aha” moment in your life when you knew “I really get what it’s all about now!”   Is there only one “aha” moment?   I think the biggest change (aha) is when my husband died suddenly.  It really puts everything into perspective.   We thought we would work hard, save, and then when we retired we would enjoy life.  He passed when I was 49.   It put me on another path of helping widows or people who have lost a loved one. I am not a grief counselor, but I always felt a connection and comfort in helping others who walked this path too.

My advice is to enjoy the trips now (course don’t break the bank- still need to save), enjoy work but also enjoy things outside of work.  Get involved with family, friends, and those moments along the way.  I like to give to a “family” vacation instead of big presents for the holiday.   Who remembers what they received for Christmas in 2017.  My family will remember the beach in Florida and the kids playing in the sun!  Make memories!!!

What has been your most favorite vacation spot? It was last year on the beach in Florida with the family and my boyfriend.  I rented a condo on the beach.  We had family meals and lots of beach and sunsets!!!   Course the beach pictures for Christmas were a hit too!   It is not always the “spot” but rather who you are with!

Is there a saying, motto, or “words to live by” that is your favorite? I just love quotes!  They inspire and get to the heart quickly.  

“Kindness is a language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear.”

My late husband wrote one that keeps me going  “Good memories never leave us.  We hide them in safe spots in our minds and in our hearts.  They lurk there hopefully, waiting for an excuse to come back to comfort us, and warm our souls ..  Like thick broth on a rainy day.’

Is there a book you have read that really made an impact on you? The Bible

How would you describe your personal style? Energetic and with enthusiasm!!    I look for solutions and not excuses why we can’t do something.   I am energic and want to delivery that energy to others.   When I take something on, it is with my whole heart. 

What do you like the most about yourself? Always learning – I try to improve myself every day.

What would you still like to learn how to do (a language, a sport)? I am always taking an online course of some sort (music, photography, Light room, Photoshop, etc.) or more live photography courses.  I love technology and learning more about apps.  

What is a good piece of advice you have for all the young women out there ready to take on the future? Follow your dreams.  When you get out of college you may not find the position that pays the most.  Love what you do, and the hours will not matter.   

I know this sounds a bit “heavy”, but if today was the last day of your life? What would you want to do?  I don’t think I want to know it is my last day, but if so – spend with family and friends.

Tell us about some of the projects you are working on now? Ms. Colorado Senior America takes up most of my time and truly a joy.   During contestant time I hear the stories about these amazing women.  Their struggles, joys, family, and careers.   When it is rehearsal time, I see these women blossom over the weeks.  They gain confidence in themselves. 

And then Pageant night, I am like a mother watching each of my children take the stage.  So proud of their efforts and this huge challenge.   It is not easy getting up in front of 400 people.   They are elegant, talented, and confident. The audience is always amazed!

After the Pageant I am involved with Cameo Club functions -we sing and dance at senior centers, fundraising events, my photography, and my fiddle.  

How did you know what you are doing now might be your calling in life? I am not sure it is my calling in life, but I certainly enjoy it.  Who knows - still have a lot of life left!  

You have already done so many incredible things with your life.  What gave you the strength and determination to pursue your dreams? Advice from Mom and now advice from some dear friends that really know me. 

When do you feel you are most in your element? Keeping busy.  I think when I am under pressure I perform better.  Ideas flow and so does the energy. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?  Next 5 years?  10 years? I don’t have a bucket list…I have a life list!   So many things to do still.  Have the Ms. Colorado Senior America Pageant a well-known venue with major sponsors, be a member of the Tim Tebow Foundation, travel, climb mountains, get my photography out there, have a condo on the beach, enjoy my grandchildren, fiddle like a country western star, and the list goes on.  I want to grow up and have the energy some of my girlfriends have such as Venita and Pat.  They are amazing ladies that are active, involved, and full of life.    I still want to get involved with some charities – who knows maybe I will be on the board!!

What do you hope your legacy will be? Her smile and attitude was infectious.  She was determined to make a difference and she did!  She inspired others!