Redefining Retirement: Meet Author and Mentor Robin Henry

Redefining Retirement

Robin Henry graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Rhetoric and Advertising. She was recruited for Teachers for Chicago and spent the next chapter of her career in CPS schools, first as a high school English teacher and then as a curriculum coordinator. She said good-bye to CPS and retired on her birthday in 2018 and returned to Advertising the very next day.

From the very first day of retirement, she said “I embraced all of the gifts I have been given and wanted to share them with the world.” She had an advertising consulting project set-up with a firm in Washington, D.C., but within six months of taking on that job, Robin wanted to do more. As a curriculum coordinator she had to plan for what kids needed for college and countless students came to her for guidance. Before one opportunity ended, the other began. Robin had connected with a friend who was the Co-Founder of The Black is Gold Organization and she quickly became a regular volunteer and mentor to young girls.

The Black is Gold Organization is a not-for-profit peer-mentoring group for young Black women throughout the United States in high school, and college. Its purpose is to empower young women and girls, through a multitude of outlets: preparing them for college and their careers, serving the community, and building sisterhood. Robin serves as a college mentor. She hosts a weekly class and a monthly seminar to help high school girls navigate the complex college planning and application process.

Robin said, “figuring out how to get from high school to college to career isn’t easy. Their future starts right now, and I enjoy being a part of that.” She helps them identify their goals, evaluate their financial situation, and figure out what school is a good fit. The majority of students she works with have a solid base of academics, service, and leadership that they obtained by working with Black is Gold. She said, “working with Black is Gold is a perfect fit for me because the organization matches my philosophy, how I was raised, how I raised my own son, and the values of my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.”

As Robin continues her work with Black is Gold, she wrote an e-book, Options For College. The book provides a road map and encourages parents and students to be a team as they navigate the complex college process. For more information about the book and to be notified of the launch email Robin at

When Robin isn’t mentoring girls, she spends time with her family, or she may be found preparing or appearing on the pages of magazines modeling her big, grey, curly hair. She said, “Retirement is like hitting the jackpot. It is a time to do whatever you want to do instead of only what you need to do.”