Ageing Intelligence Ambassadors Exhibition - Digital Edition

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We would like you to meet the ambassadors of Ageing Intelligence®. Ten stories of real life, from real people, with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. Ten profiles of people like each one of us: extraordinary and unique, whatever the stage of life we are in.


our Ageing Intelligence ®


To introduce you to Ageing Intelligence ® we asked 10 people

around the world, who agreed with our manifesto of Ageing

Intelligence ® , to share their life experience with us. They and

their stories don’t want to teach anything or represent any

role model. They simply chose to tell who they are to help us

show how much richness there is in each of us regardless of

our age, our background, our trajectory in life.

So we would like you to meet the ambassadors of Ageing

Intelligence ® . Ten stories of real life, from real people, with

diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. Ten profiles

of people like each one of us: extraordinary and unique,

whatever the stage of life we are in.

The launch coincides with United Nations’ International

Day of Older Persons, which celebrates healthy ageing,

and an awareness abd appreciation of older people - this

is particularly important through the COVID-19 pandemic

and in light of how it has affected older people. Here we can

recognise their contributions to their own health and roles in

society, so we can strive for an inclusive and fair society.


Christopher Owens

The Photographer

Specialising in portraiture Christopher produces engaging and insightful

images for both editorial and commercial briefs.

"I always set out to capture the character and personality I meet in the

session. Trying to dismiss any preconceptions I may have about the sitter

allows for a level playing field and gives chance to a more honest and

truthful portrait to flourish. I aim to make images that not only show a

likeness but cut through to the essence of the subject. I want pictures that

the sitter's close friends and family will recognise them in"

After studying an art & design foundation course and photography HND

at Newcastle College Christopher lived in London where he assisted

and was mentored by acclaimed portrait photographer Harry Borden.

In 2007 Christopher was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery

to photograph musicians Maximo Park making him one of the youngest

photographers to be collected by the gallery at the time.

Clients have included The Guardian, Little White Lies Magazine, Stool

Pigeon Magazine, BT Broadband, EMI, Virgin Records, Brewin Dolphin,

NUFC Foundation, Sunderland AFC, Siemens, Square One Law, Sintons

Law, Mincoff's Solicitors, Hotel Du Vin, Hilton, Mill Volvo, Benfield Motors,

Gateshead Thunder Rugby League, Royal Holloway University, National

Portrait Gallery London, Entrepreneurs Forum, Lookers PLC, Newcastle

College, MS Life as well as many independent PR firms and magazines.

Producing this work with NICA has been a wonderful

experience which I shall remember as a moment forever tied to

this time. The opportunity to spend the morning making portraits

in Milan and then Boston in the afternoon was equally as

exciting as it was strange and my experience and knowledge of

photographing people was tested in every session from directing

subject, language barriers to poor internet connections. The

frustrations of wanting to be physically present and relinquishing

much of the control I normally have has been dwarfed by the

positivity of the experience. I’ve been moved by the spirit,

knowledge and generosity of time offered to me by all the

contributors, they have each left a lasting impression on me and

provided some beautiful memories within a dark period of time.

I am privileged to have collaborated with them and the process

has confirmed my belief that a portrait is not simply made in a

camera but on either side of it.

John Cohn

IBM Fellow in MIT-IBM Watson

AI Research Group

John Cohn is an IBM Fellow in the MIT-IBM Watson AI Research Group

based in Cambridge, MA. John earned a BSEE from MIT (’81) and a Ph.D

in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (‘91) where he

was named a Distinguished Alumni in 2014. John has authored more than

40 technical papers, contributed to four books and has >120 worldwide

patents. In 2005 John was elected a Fellow of the IEEE for contributions to

high speed integrated circuit design.

John is active in education issues at a local, state and national level. In

2019, John was awarded the IEEE CAS John Choma Education award

for his efforts at STEM promotion. He is so passionate about promoting

STEM careers that he spent 9 days living and inventing in an abandoned

steel mill as part of Discovery Channel’s technical survival show “The

Colony”. John lives with his family in a restored 19th century schoolhouse

in Jonesville Vermont and is eager to share his love of science and

technology with anyone who will listen.

I've found that the more serious my life and work get, the

more important it for me to make time for Play. I found that

bringing play to my work has helped make me more creative,

more resilient, and has helped me connect better with people

all over the world. My interest in Play has also been a steppingstone

to some of the best jobs I've had it in my four decades of

work. I really love a quote from George Bernard Shaw, he said,

"We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old

because we stop playing".

Mark Culliton

Founder of College Bound

Dorchester &

Boston Uncornered

As the founder of College Bound Dorchester, Mark is the vision behind the

solution of Boston Uncornered. Before becoming CEO in 2007, he was

Vice President for Business Development at Lighthouse Academies, Chief

Operating Officer of B.E.L.L., among other roles in both the public and

private sector.

Mark spent four years in India as a child and served as a Peace Corps

volunteer in Thailand for three and a half years following his graduation

from the University of Michigan. Mark earned his MBA from Yale University.

He serves on the board of Roxbury Community College.

He and his wife, Mary, are raising two teenage boys in Dorchester,

Massachusetts. Easily obsessed, having run 3 marathons in crocs, you

are likely to find him these days hanging upside down at his rock climbing


As we age we cannot afford to allow what we know to

define what is possible when striving for social justice. We must

learn from our experience and share what knowledge we have

attained, but we must be careful not to get set in our ways or

stuck in our thinking. We must live into our years by continuing

to explore and question and be curious and ensure that we

are not living now dreaming about before. If we have the

courage and humility, we can help yesterday’s truths become

tomorrow’s memories and help usher in a better and more just


Christine Kretz

VP Programs and Partnerships

International Space Station US

National Laboratory

Christine Kretz is the Vice President of Programs and Partnerships for the International

Space Station (ISS) US National Laboratory. Christine’s role is to lead a team that

identifies opportunities for leveraging the facilities of the ISS to enable science and

technology research that will benefit life on Earth. Prior to joining the ISS, Christine

worked for IBM, starting in 1998 as a manager in the Research Division where

her responsibilities included IT security for eight labs globally. From the Research

Division, Christine took a corporate position and was named the Global Operations

Manager for IBM Life Sciences, an emerging business area for IBM at that time.

Christine has also held the positions of Healthcare Solutions Executive on the IBM

Global Healthcare Industry team, as well as roles as a Client Executive and Complex

Opportunity Manager in Healthcare / Life Sciences. Most recently, she managed

the Research Division Healthcare and Life Sciences organisation.

Throughout her career Christine has made time for volunteer work and has served

as a paramedic, Girl Scout leader and the manager of the IBM Research Family

Science Saturday program.

Christine holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA in Operations

from Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh where she is a

Director at Large of the Alumni Board and a member of the Business School Alumni


I’ve been lucky to have good mentors and insights from

friends and colleagues as well as being a mentor myself. As

a younger person, I benefited from the experience of those

older than I and always from my own group of friends and

colleagues. As I get older, I benefit from the insights and ideas

of younger people I’m lucky enough to work with and I hope I

add a value to them from my own experiences. These shared

experiences and variety of insights are what has enriched my

life so much.

Jim Edwardson

Founding Director of the

Institute for Ageing and Health

at Newcastle University

Jim was the founding Director of the Institute for Ageing and Health –

Newcastle University’s first research institute – and co-founded VOICE with

Lynne Corner. After a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry and posts at Imperial

College, and St George’s Hospital Medical School, he returned to Tyneside

as Director of the MRC Neurochemical Pathology Unit and Professor of

Neuroendocrinology at Newcastle University.

Active in the early growth of the Alzheimer’s Society he is an honorary Vice

President of the society. Jim’s involvement with carers and people with

dementia brought home the vital importance of public engagement. He was

the first Chairman of the NE Regional Forum on Ageing - strapline ‘nothing

about us, without us’.

Jim is now Chair of Newcastle University’s Retired Staff Society and actively

involved in VOICE.

‘None of us is as smart as all of us’ – I don’t know who

first said this, but it’s true, and it is the reason why NICA will

surely succeed as it harnesses the knowledge, life experiences

and wisdom of a global older population.

Ermanno Lazzarin

Founder of ERAL55

Ermanno founded ERAL55 in 1976 after working part-time as a shop

assistant in a surveyor’s shop. He is an icon of mens style in Milan and one of

the few forging a different path from the wider fashion industry’s movement

toward streetwear and casual style. Lately, he himself, his store, and his

private label Sartoria Lazzarin have garnered a loyal following across the

world in Japan, where sophisticated, discerning menswear customers are

embracing his “old school” charm and philosophy around dressing.

I have always thought that fashion is a declaration of

our freedom. The freedom to choose whether to conform

to what others tell us or to be who we are. When I opened

the windows of my store in the heart of Milan, Italy in 1976,

I always did everything so that the fashion I designed and

displayed did not resemble anyone, let alone a model that

repeated itself with the fashion seasons. I did everything so

that those who passed in front of my windows would not look

at them without passion, without love or hate, and that the

reflection of their image in the glass would resemble a man

who is not at all ordinary. In fact, extraordinary, just like any of

us, whatever the culture, the origin, the stage of life.

Paul Parravano

Co-Director of the Office of

Government & Community

Relations at MIT, Boston

Paul Parravano has been part of the MIT community since 1991. His role

in the Office of Government and Community Relations involves guiding and

fostering communication and understanding between the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology and all levels of government, major constituency

groups, and MIT’s surrounding community. He serves as a liaison and

resource for people within MIT who may need to work with external parties

and those in the surrounding region who have a similar need to interact with

the Institute. Mr. Parravano works closely with the MIT Washington office,

accompanying MIT’s President on regular visits to Washington, to meet

with leadership from the executive and legislative branches of the federal

government. He also serves as host for campus visits by elected officials and

other dignitaries.

Aging intelligence provides humanity with the skills,

knowledge, creativity and talent to maximise health,

independence, education, and safety for all. Technology offers

us the tools to accomplish innovative goals for everyone, no

matter their stage in life, or possible level of disability.

Francesca Vecchioni

President of Diversity, journalist

& consultant

Francesca Vecchioni is an expert in communication, media languages, hate

speech and human rights. She is an inclusion trainer, with a deep knowledge

on discrimination, diversity management and unconscious bias and President

of Diversity – a non-profit organisation committed to promoting social

inclusion and organisational well-being through research, training, monitoring,

consultancy and advocacy activities. Francesca is also a diversity and inclusion

consultant for some of the main Italian and foreign companies. By combining

Institutions, Universities, Media and the business world, she created the

Diversity Media Awards (DMA), a research project and media event dedicated

to the representation of all areas of diversity in communication, and the

Diversity Brand Summit (DBS), which identifies the brands considered more

inclusive - always with reference to the areas of diversity -, and measures the

economic value generated on the basis of an annual consumer based research

(Diversity Brand Index). In 2018, with Diversity, she created and promoted

the #diversitywins and “Lega del Lieto Fine” campaigns and conceived the

first experiment of unified network transmission of a TruLive streaming event

shared by the main Italian broadcasters.

There was a definite turning point, which led me to found

Diversity and engage as an activist. It was the moment in

which I fully understood the responsibility that everyone has

to their own personal sphere, and how much this sphere can

always grow. I realized it thanks to motherhood. Before the

birth of my daughters, I was convinced that I should constantly

teach them something, but the truth is that I learned a lot. The

great value of growing, and of going through each phase of our

life, is understanding what we still have to learn. It is to unhinge


Marco Pozzi

Film Director

Marco graduated in Literature at the Catholic University of Milan, and is

currently a film and advertising director, and a university professor where

Marco is in charge of developing creative and cross-media projects.

In 2015 he founded Quelquechose, a cross-media communication and

audio-visual content production studio formed by a team of creative and

communication professionals. He has carried out research in the History of

cinema theories at the Catholic University of Milan and has taught Theory

and technique of film and television direction for over a decade at the ILUM

University of Milan.

Marco was a part of the group “Ipotesi Cinema”, co-ordinated and directed

by Ermanno Olmi. He has also directed commercials and institutional films

for prestigious Italian and international companies and has created video

installations for institutions, museums and companies. Marco has conceived

and co-ordinated the creative development of cross-media communication

projects and apps for institutions, museums and brands.

As a film director he made the short fiction films Assolo, Doom and Cra-cra

obtaining important prizes and awards in important international festivals

(Venice, Clermond Ferrand, Theran, Valencia, Montreal).

I have always preferred Visions to Previsions in the belief

that only visionaries manage to be truly revolutionary. I dream

of a world in which the human being is able to SEE, to really

see what he is looking at. A world that lives the sense of time

and gives meaning to Time, accepting the sense of limit,

finitude. A world that reads crises (ecological, Covid19, etc.)

as an opportunity. A world in which Humanity, Technology and

Ethics go hand in hand. An original, unruly and imaginative

human ecosystem in which Intelligence and Consciousness

walk together.

Jeffrey Schnapp

Faculty Director of metaLAB at

Harvard & Co-founder of Piaggio

Fast Forward

Jeffrey Schnapp is the faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard, a knowledge design

laboratory based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard

University. He is also co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Piaggio Fast Forward, a

Boston-based robotics company dedicated to developing a sustainable mobility ecology

with healthy lifestyles and social connectivity available to all, regardless of age or abilities.

Trained as a cultural historian, his work is informed by an approach that places human

factors at the center of innovation in the design, technology, and mobility fields. His

autobiographical entanglements with the theme of mobility include a long-term scholarly

book project entitled Quickening - An Anthropology of Speed, a fifteen-year stint as a

road racer competing in the American Federation of Motorcyclists championship, and a

current passion for gravel biking on Vermont’s backroads. Going on 66, he belongs to a

generation of active seniors who are trying not just to think about the role of technology

with respect to aging and human resilience, but also to shape that technology in the

service of qualitatively meaningful solutions.

My experience has taught me that, contrary to conventional assumptions,

senior citizens are no less engaged by and enmeshed in the world of technology

than are their children and grandchildren. So-called “digital natives” may have

developed a natural affinity for joysticks, apps, and electronic devices, but

they don’t necessarily possess a deep understanding of the technologies that

they rely upon, nor do they necessarily nurture a critical understanding of their

powers, limitations, and effects. Most have an only limited understanding of

“what is going on under the hood” on their smart devices. I encounter few

twenty-somethings but many people in their fifties, sixties, and seventies at the

helm of leading technology firms, individuals whose life experience powerfully

informs their ability to shape products that contribute to human wellbeing

and environmental sustainability. So ageing intelligence, rather than being

external to tech, seems to me integral and it is thanks to the cross fertilization

between the new and the old that the most meaningful forms of innovation

take shape.

Lorella Zanardo

Women’s Rights Activist

Lorella Zanardo is a women’s rights activist and author of the documentary

“ The body of women “ a denunciation of the banal and humiliating

representation of women on television, in a short time it was seen by millions

of people, translated into six languages with great national and international

response. In her book “The Body of Women” published by Feltrinelli Lorella

deepened the theme of the influence of the media in our lives.

Together with other activists, she conceived the educational path “ New eyes

for the media ”, to train adolescents on the subject of image education as an

instrument of active citizenship. For seven years, she has dedicated herself

to raising the level of awareness on the representation of women in the


Lorella is on the Board of Directors of Winconference , an international

organization of professional women. She is a Speaker appreciated at

international conferences on the theme of female empowerment and

women’s rights, a lecturer in Eastern countries during the transition of the

nineties and trainer and consultant on projects of the European Community.

A Member of the Commission for the drafting of the “Internet Bill of Rights”

of the Italian Parliament, Lorella was one of the first women to hold executive

positions in large organisations in Italy and Paris for years. She has dealt with

Diversity Management, Complex Organisations Management and Female

Leadership, and as an entrepreneur created a consultancy company linked

to sports as a team building practice.

I believe that living means taking sides. My lifelong I

tried to be a real citizen, to take part, to struggle against

indifference. “I care” has always been my motto.Therefore

I never spent a single day in life without engaging in what I

considered the important issues in society.

with many thanks to

John Cohn

Mark Culliton

Jim Edwardson

Christine Kretz

Ermanno Lazzarin

Paul Parravano

Marco Pozzi

Jeffrey Schnapp

Francesca Vecchioni

Lorella Zanardo


Christopher Owens

© Newcastle University Photography credit: Christopher Owens

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