Jeanne Thompson began going grey at 23. She colored her hair for years as she worked her way into management at a large Boston-area financial services company, then gave up the dye for good about a year ago.
The earth didn't shake, and the 44-year-old Thompson was promoted to top management the following year.
She is among a new type of grey panther, a woman who aspires to do well and get ahead on the job while happily maintaining a full head of grey.
"Women put pressure on themselves to colour," the Exeter, N.H., woman said. "It's a bold statement to be grey because it's saying, 'You know what? I did let my hair go, but I'm not letting myself go.' People take me more seriously now. I never apologize for the grey hair."
But not everyone finds it so easy.
ALSO ON THE HUFFINGTON POST: Best And Worst Celebrity Hair Dye Jobs
Last week Linday Lohan brought back her red hair. Finally, all is balanced in the fashion world once again. Actress Lindsay Lohan arrives at the Wet Republic pool at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino to celebrate her birthday and her Sevin Nyne brand tanning mist June 27, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lohan turns 23 on July 2.
Um, we don't think blonde is bringing Lohan the most luck. Her arrests, court appearances, drug abuse and overall strange behaviour happened after she bleached her locks.Actress Lindsay Lohan attends Domingo Zapata's Oscar Art Show Presented by Mr. C Beverly Hills on February 22, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.
Singer Rihanna has had too many hair changes in the last five years, but we would've liked to have seen her stick with this fiery red. Singer Rihanna performs on NBC's 'Today' in Rockefeller Plaza on May 27, 2011 in New York City.
And Rhi Rhi, this is what you shouldn't do to your hair. You lose volume, depth and, well, some of your trademark flavour. Rihanna arrives for the Stella McCartney Special Presentation at 13 North Audley Street during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012 on February 18, 2012 in London, England.
When she started her career, this television host and singer looked radiant and young with blonde locks. Singer Christina Aguliera arrives at a press junket for NBC's 'The Voice' at Sony Studios on October 28, 2011 in Culver City, California.
Rewind to 2002 when Christina -- we mean X-Tina -- decided to go dirty. Maybe she should've left her hair alone. Christina Aguilera poses with her 'Best Female' trophy at the MTV Europe Music Awards 06 November, 2003 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham looks the best with dark brown locks -- short or long. Designer Victoria Beckham attends the GREAT British Film Reception to honor the British nominees of The 84th Annual Academy Awards at the British Consul General's Residence on February 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
There's nothing wrong with sporting a bob. But there is something wrong with this blonde colour on Posh. Victoria Beckham attends the Los Angeles launch party for interior decorator Kelly Hoppen's book 'Home - From Concept To Reality' at Celebrity Vault on October 17, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.
Katy Perry has been known to try almost every colour in your kids' Crayola box. But when she keeps it subtle, Perry's skin and facial features stand out. Singer Katy Perry arrives at the premiere of Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films' 'The Tempest' at the El Capitan Theatre on December 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
No we don't disapprove of the blue -- she looked great during her 'California Girls' video. What we don't like is this fading sea blue when paired with a matching coat. Katy Perry attends the Viktor & Rolf Ready-To-Wear Fall/Winter 2012 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Espace Ephemere Tuileries on March 3, 2012 in Paris, France.
Kelly Osbourne has a quirky fashion taste -- we appreciate her confidence. At least when her hair is blonde, we actually notice some of the things she's wearing. Kelly Osbourne arrives at the FENDI Boutique opening hosted by Chloe Sevigny and in conjunction with LACMA's Avant-Garde at FENDI Beverly Center Boutique on October 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
They say, "old is gold," but for Osbourne, this look isn't working out. Many stars can pull off the 'Silver Fox' -- not Kelly Osbourne. TV personality Kelly Osbourne arrives at the 20th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party held at West Hollywood Park on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.
Singer Ashlee Simpson looks flawless with her bright brownish-red locks. They complement her skin tone.Singer Ashlee Simpson-Wentz arrives at the Wet Republic pool at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino to celebrate her 25th birthday October 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Even though blonde runs in the family, we wish Ashlee kept some of her edge with the darker colour. Ashlee Simpson arrives at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on January 29, 2012.
Pink, we loved those times when we could call you pink and be proud of that hairdo -- not many women can pull it off. American pop star Pink arrives for the Brits nominations on December 18, 2000 in London.
However, Pink, when you went blonde, we couldn't help but notice you started to, ahem, blend in with the crowd. Singer/actress Alecia Beth Moore aka Pink attends the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Happy Feet Two' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on November 13, 2011 in Hollywood, California.
Jessica, maybe you should've called dibs on the blonde -- your sister would've appreciated it in the long run. Nothing looks better on you than your natural hair colour. Singer Jessica Simpson arrives to the NBC Universal 2012 Winter TCA Tour All-Star Party on January 6, 2012 in Pasadena, California.
And then this happened -- unfortunately in 2007. Jessica ditched the blonde and tired something new. Too bad she failed. Jessica Simpson attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala 'Poiret: King Of Fashion' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2007 in New York City.
When Emma Stone has red locks all eyes get locked on the stunning 23-year-old. Actress Emma Stone attends the Worldwide Orphans Foundation's Seventh Annual Benefit Gala hosted by Amy Poehler and Will Arnett held at Cipriani Wall Street on November 14, 2011 in New York City.
But, for some reason, last year, she tried going blonde. Let's just say we're glad this look was a short-term thing. Emma Stone poses for a picture at The Trevor Projects annual 'Trevor LIVE' held at The Hollywood Palladium on December 5, 2010 in Hollywood, California.
Not many women can pull off this look, but Amber Rose always knows how to rock a cool hairdo (or lack thereof). Model Amber Rose arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Hey Amber, take it easy with the colour. Short hair can do wonders for your face. But in this case, we're distracted by this ugly pink-toned dye. Best, The HuffPost Canada Style Team
Laws, of course, exist to ward off discrimination in the workplace, yet legions of men and women have no interest in letting their grey fly. Not now, when the struggling economy has produced a stampede of hungry young job-seekers.
But grey heads have been popping up on runways and red carpets, on models and young celebrities for months. There's Lady Gaga and Kelly Osbourne — via dye — and Hollywood royalty like Helen Mirren, the Oscar-winning British actress.
Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund chief, is one of the most powerful women in the world, and she keeps her hair grey. So does Essie Weingarten, founder and now creative director of the nail polish company Essie Cosmetics.
For regular working women, it's a trickier issue.
"I don't think a woman in the workplace is going to follow that trend," David Scher, a civil rights attorney in Washington, said with a laugh. "I think women in the workplace are highly pressured to look young. If I were an older working person, the last thing I would do is go grey."
Yes, he's a dude, and at 44 he has virtually no salt in his hair, but he wasn't alone in issuing a warning against workplace grey for women.
"While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was created to protect employees 40 years of age and older, some men and women may still encounter ageism in the workplace," said Stephanie Martinez Kluga, a manager for Insperity, a San Antonio-based company that provides human resources services to small and medium-size businesses.
"The long-standing perception that men with grey hair are experienced and women with grey hair are simply old may still be an issue that affects employees in workplaces across the U.S.," she said.
Some of today's new grey panthers also offer strong words of caution about exactly how well those anti-discrimination laws work.
Anne Kreamer is grey and proud, but she didn't unleash the colour until she left her day job to become self-employed. She dedicates an entire chapter of her 2007 book "Going Gray" to workplace issues.
"We only fool ourselves about how young we look with our dyed hair," said the Harvard-educated Kreamer, a former Nickelodeon executive who helped launch the satirical magazine Spy before writing the book exploring her journey to silver.
When it comes to grey on the job, Kreamer said, context counts. The colour might be easier in academia over high-tech, for instance, and in Minneapolis over Los Angeles. Job description and your rung on the ladder might also be in play: chief financial officer versus a lowlier, more creative and therefore more grey-tolerant position like assistant talent agent, for example.
Kreamer dubbed the largely unspoken phenomenon "hair-colorism."
In 1950, 7 per cent of women dyed their hair, she said. Today, it's closer to 95 per cent or more, depending on geographic location. In the '60s, easy, affordable hair dye in a box hit store shelves, changing the follicle landscape for good.
"When women were going to work, it was like they could reinvent themselves and say, 'I'm no house frau anymore.' Hair dye got kind of linked in there and we never looked back," said Kreamer, who went prematurely grey and colored for 25 years. "It's still very complicated."
Sandra Rawline, 52, in Houston knows how complicated it can be.
A trial is scheduled for June in her federal lawsuit accusing her boss at Capital Title of Texas of ordering her to dye her grey hair in 2009, when her office moved to a swankier part of town. The suit accuses him of instructing her to wear "younger, fancier suits" and lots of jewelry, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Rawline, an escrow officer and branch manager, wouldn't comment for this story. The newspaper said her superior called her lawsuit preposterous.
The reason we know about Rawline and Lagarde and Weingarten and Mirren and — let's throw in NBCUniversal exec Lauren Zalaznick — is that their grey strands stand out against a sea of, well, not grey.
Weingarten, 62, began going grey at 18 and said she colored for years. She gave it up about 20 years ago.
"People would say, 'Are you crazy? You have to colour your hair,'" she said. "I had my own business. I was an entrepreneur. I could do whatever I wanted, but the truth is I know a lot of women who are petrified to show grey hair because it means they're maturing."
The new "grey movement" doesn't keep tabs on membership, but blogs like Terri Holley's Going Gray are proliferating, along with pro-grey Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds.
"Society has boxed in women on what's considered to be beautiful, and this defies how we're supposed to look," Holley said. "People say, 'I'm so glad I found you. I'm so glad we're having this conversation.'"
Dana King, 53, started going grey in her 20s, began dyeing in her 30s and went to work for San Francisco's KPIX in 1997, rising to news anchor. In January 2010, she first approached her general manager, a man whom she had known for a decade, about her giving up the dye.
"He didn't like the idea at all and he asked me not to do it," King said. Soon after, she did it anyway, with the comfort of a no-cut contract good to May 2013.
"It got down to the point where I was dyeing it every two to three weeks. I just decided, 'I'm not doing this anymore.' I felt like I had sold my soul and betrayed myself," she said.
After sharing her hair story on-air, King was deluged with emails from viewers, including many women who colored and some who worried she had fallen ill. "The response was overwhelmingly positive," King said. "They said it was a relief for them, that they could see someone that made it OK to be grey."
King knows her road to grey wouldn't have gone so well had she been a TV news star elsewhere.
"I work in a youth-oriented industry and I'm not an idiot," she said. "This is not Miami. This is not Los Angeles. I would have been fired had I worked in some other markets. I can't get a job anywhere else, I don't think. I have no illusions about what I've done and I'm good with that."