The last two days have been an absolute whirlwind. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present research at the UCLA Aging Conference and interview the Deputy Director of the National Institutes on Aging. Hours later, I was on a red-eye to Nashville to present our innovative social enterprise student caregiver model in front of hundreds of senior living executives and share strategies for millennial recruitment. The same day, at the 2017 Argentum Senior Living Conference, I was honored as the youngest recipient of the Under 40 Senior Living Leader Award.
There are three key reasons I believe this award materialized...
1. Mentors. Every time I have the opportunity to talk with someone who is more experience than me in entrepreneurship, medicine, or the field of aging, I am blessed to walk away from the conversation with more knowledge than I did going into it. Mentors who I've had recurring talks with are the most powerful because I am motivated to implement their advice quickly enough to ensure I have results by the time of our next discussion. Thank you to all my mentors who have been rigorous in their feedback and sincere in their intentions.
2. The cause. Alzheimer's sucks. Caregiving sucks more. Of the thousands of people I've interacted with throughout my life, none have so tremendously shifted my life perspective as those who spend their days caring for their husband / wife / mother / father / grandmother / grandfather and helping them make it through each day. Their ability to accept each day as a new challenge, power through the hostilities with a foundation of love render a desire within me to find ways to alleviate their burden. I wake up every day knowing my purpose. This keeps me going. Always.
3. My team. We all do this for no pay. On our operating staff are students who are balancing working a job, rigorous classes, and still finding time to give back by creating an organization that is larger than the sum of its parts. This past weekend, I received an email from a former team member who had left the organization months ago, and she sent me a list of suggestions to improve our research webpage. Many of our team members are scattered across the nation and do incredible work outreaching to their local communities in spreading our message. Nothing great happens without a great team, and I am forever grateful for their collective belief in the mission and relentless work in developing our organization.
From my co-founder who always pushed me to think bigger and lead with a purpose to our graphic designer who puts together our flyers and pitch deck to the float volunteer who helped setup for just-that-one event - you have all played a role, and this award is for all of you as much as it is for me. The momentum is building, and I hope our efforts will materialize in building a sustainable youth-led nonprofit.