87-year-old Calgarian starts another tech business

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Breaking age barriers and shattering stereotypes is nothing new for Calgary’s Marjorie Zingle.

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At 81, Zingle received one of the inaugural Top 7 Over 70 awards six years ago for her work as CEO and founder of DataHive. She’s believed to be the only woman in the world to own a data centre 100 per cent on her own, making significant contributions to the internet in Alberta. (Yes, that internet.)

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These days, Zingle is leading the charge with another tech business she’s started called DHSecure, targeting hackers and protecting clients from online attacks.

“I’ve started another business based on technology and I’m over 80; I’m actually 87. And, why not? says Zingle. “If you can do something, why not do it?”

There’s no shortage of older adults accomplishing remarkable things in our community, she notes, and any program that shines the spotlight on these achievements can provide welcome inspiration to an aging population.

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Calgary’s Top 7 Over 70 program aims to do just that, opening nominations for its fourth round of awards this week.

“It helps people appreciate that there is some real value in experience,” Zingle says.

The 2021 Top 7 Over 70 winners: Front row, seated: Marg Southern and Bonnie Kaplan; Back row, left to right: Don Taylor, Miiksika’am (Elder Clarence Wolfleg), Sherali Saju, Louis B. Hobson and Murray McCann. Christina Ryan photo.
The 2021 Top 7 Over 70 winners: Front row, seated: Marg Southern and Bonnie Kaplan; Back row, left to right: Don Taylor, Miiksika’am (Elder Clarence Wolfleg), Sherali Saju, Louis B. Hobson and Murray McCann. Christina Ryan photo.

Top 7 Over 70 founder Jim Gray echoes the sentiment, noting it’s been remarkable to see the achievements of Top 7 Over 70 winners over the past six years. Those winners have included an 80-something cardiologist doing groundbreaking research on the use of cannabis to treat heart inflammation; a 90-something visionary bringing a professional soccer team to the city; and a mathematician who still taught, mentored and published at age 101.

“There’s no limit to what seniors are doing,” says Gray. “And the Top 7 Over 70 program is celebrating their successes, with a focus on new achievements or accomplishments that have been started after age 70.

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“It isn’t a lifetime achievement award; it’s an award for what these seniors are doing today.”

The Top 7 Over 70 program also raises funds for its sister organization, InterGen, an education and capital group that also matches scale-up businesses with accomplished senior executives to stimulate the economy.

It’s increasingly important that seniors’ contributions are recognized as vital cogs in society and the economy. After all, over the next 20 years, Canada’s senior population — those age 65 and older — is expected to grow by 68 per cent, says the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Nominations for this year’s Top 7 Over 70 awards are open until June 14, with information at top7over70.com. Winners will be announced in early September and celebrated at a gala at the Hyatt hotel on Oct. 23, 2023.

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