The CEO Who Became a Triathlete—at Age 53

September 20, 2021
Hosted by Ron Roel

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Guest Information

Episode Description

After earning her undergraduate and master’s degrees specializing in marketing, public relations and advertising, Hilary Topper embarked on a corporate career working for major PR agencies in New York City, in addition to two large non-profit organizations as director of public relations and development. Then, some 30 years ago, Hilary went out on her own, founding HJMT Public Relations and building a roster of prominent clients across the country. Along the way she became an expert and widely recognized influencer in social media marketing, writing one of the earliest books on the subject, called “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, but were afraid to ask.” In her late 40s, she decided to give herself a real run for the money—literally. She was never an athlete, but decided to start running, and by age 53, she found that running was not enough. She became a triathlete. In today’s episode, Hilary talks about the daily challenge of organizing and managing the multi-hyphenate life as entrepreneur-author-podcaster-blogger-adjunct professor-marathoner-triathlete-coach. It has been a successful journey, but often a roller-coaster, as she has been forced to make major adjustments in response to life-altering events, like 9/11, the 2008 economic meltdown, and most recently, of course, the pandemic. Three years ago, Hilary reorganized her business; she no longer managing a staff of 25 people but continues to run a concierge PR firm. She also produces two blogs and a weekly podcast and has written a second book (a third is on the way), while preparing for the next triathlon and coaching beginner triathletes. No longer as engaged in her former high-adrenaline business world, Hilary points out one unmistakable benefit: She’s much happier now.

45 Forward

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Ron Roel

Ron Roel

I’m a veteran journalist who spent a wide-ranging career covering business, politics and social issues, the last two decades focusing on the blend of diverse life skills I call successful aging.

I have written extensively on aging topics, spoken at conferences, radio and TV shows, and launched several entrepreneurial ventures, discovering along the way that the path to aging well also requires an unexpected entrepreneurial vision. I spent 20 years as a writer and editor at Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday, helping to found Act 2, a weekly section for 50-plus readers. I created Roelresources.com, a website offering practical advice and inspirational essays for people ages 40 and above. I have been a volunteer and consultant to AARP Long Island, writing articles, advocating for seniors, and developing action plans for the AARP Age-Friendly Communities initiative.

I am active in programs and organizations that support seniors, such as the National Aging In Place Council and the Senior Umbrella Network. I have developed a special expertise in family caregiving, as one of four brothers who took care of their mother for almost 25 years. I regularly collaborate with many professionals who provide services and support for older Americans, and I am completing a book for caregivers on Long Island, “The Caregiving Navigator/How to Plan, What to do, and Where to Turn When Caring for you Aging Loved Ones. And Yourself,” scheduled for publication in early 2021.

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Episode Directory

September 2021

  • 9/20/2021: The CEO Who Became a Triathlete—at Age 53 Coming Soon
  • 9/13/2021: The Post-Pandemic Art Exhibit: A Surprising Virtual Experience Listen Now
  • 9/6/2021: Encore: 'Solo Aging': Building a Great Older Life, Even if You’re Alone Listen Now

August 2021

July 2021

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