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Top Takeaways from Bridge the Gap’s Ignite Conference 2022

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Bridge the Gap’s Ignite 2022 was not your typical conference. This close-knit event provided an opportunity to think differently, connect with industry peers in a new way, and to leave the conference inspired to DREAM Again in our companies and communities.

A Senior Living Conference Where We Didn’t Talk about Senior Living

The first day of the conference we practiced the art of ‘saying yes’ through improv exercises. We connected with our younger selves by reminiscing on our childhood dreams and contemplated the roadblocks that stopped us from achieving them.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a published author. Fast forward to today and I’ve had several articles published, but I haven’t written the book that I’ve always dreamed of writing.

This got me thinking, how can we take our passion from our youth and bring that energy to the jobs we hold in senior living today?

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? It’s Time to Dream Again

When I was a little girl wanting to be a writer, the avenues to tell stories were limited to writing, calling, radio, and television.

Today, I still have an opportunity to deliver a powerful message, but through an avenue I could never have imagined when I was a young girl.

“Storytelling does not just take place within a pool of lamplight in a nursery or round a campfire. Stories are part of our daily lives, in the anecdotes we tell to our friends, the books we read and the films we watch. Stories are also recognized as an important way of connecting with any audience and storytelling is increasingly used in workplaces, advertising and fundraising,” according to the Health Foundation.

One of the reasons I’ve been waiting to write the book is because I’ve been waiting for the book to find me.

What Ignite helped me remember is that I am writing a story – but it’s an epic story coauthored by a network of senior living operators.  It’s a story about how a group of leaders came together because they wanted to do things differently. We were tired of complaining about not having the technological solutions we wanted. We realized we couldn’t fix a broken system by ourselves; we had to come together to write a better story for all stakeholders.

Ignite’s Keynote Speaker, Inky Johnson, is the dictionary definition of someone who decided to write a bigger story with his life. Inky grew up in a two-bedroom house with 14 people. His upbringing was hard, and he was determined to forge a new path for his life. He was the first in his family to complete a high school education, attend college, and was prepared to go on to play in the NFL.

Dream

Things were looking up – until a career ending injury left one of his arms paralyzed. He could have played the victim, he could have spent the rest of his life lamenting what happened, but he said he wouldn’t change his injury for anything. Instead, Inky chose to find the reason in what happened, and leveraged that for making his life better moving forward as a motivational speaker.

I’ve always told my kids I don’t like the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” What we do say in our house is, “there’s a reason in everything that happens.”

I believe that to be true for where we are headed in senior living. We’ve closed a chapter where our industry was going with COVID-19, and it gave us the opportunity to change the narrative going forward.

Here’s the thing about change – change doesn’t come from one of us, it comes from all of us. By collectively creating a better journey for our seniors, we create a ripple effect for caregivers, senior’s families, and all stakeholders involved.

What about you? How do you see the industry growing in changing in its next chapter? I’m inviting you to be part of the collation writing a better story for our seniors. Schedule a time for us to talk; I’d love to discuss this more with you.

About The Author

Kelly Keefe is a Registered Nurse with a former life in Labor & Delivery, who became highly skilled in the management, modification, and workflow of technology in the healthcare realm. Kelly brings 7 years of experience working in senior living. She is an advocate for providers, bridging the technology gap between operators, sales and marketing teams, and the product development gurus at Serviam Care Network. Her ability to educate, motivate and communicate proves to be highly valuable for all parties involved.

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