Be An Advocate for Your Industry

I’m humbled to be one of the twenty-two women selected as McKnight’s 2020 Women of Distinction Hall of Honor inductees. McKnight’s began this Hall of Honor in 2019 to “recognize executive-level women who have made significant contributions to the senior living or skilled nursing fields.” As I reflect on the purpose of this program, I can’t help but feel inspired to make a conscious effort to advocate for the long term care industry.

We all work in different industries. We make contributions as we get through each of our to-do lists. We work hard, likely even extra hours as needed to support our career. But do we advocate for our industry as a whole? I took a moment to look up the definition of the word advocate – “to publicly recommend or support.” Career aside, are you an advocate for your industry?

Advocating for the senior living industry seems to come somewhat naturally to me. I think it’s because I lead an organization I believe in. Loretto was founded when The Syracuse Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities decided to team up to fix a social problem. In 1926, through partnership and innovation, they created the first Diocesan home for the aged in North America. At the heart of our mission, we are solving big social problems through innovative solutions.

The mission of Loretto and my personal beliefs align – and when that happens, it becomes easy to be an advocate. Think about it – who doesn’t want to promote their personal views and opinions?

Loretto’s mission and my personal beliefs are what give me a desire to protect the people who rely on Loretto for care. In addition to wanting to protect them, I also want to see the individuals providing their care to be empowered. I see both of these groups of people as an extension of my family.

The word advocate is a verb, an action. So while I may feel a certain way, it isn’t until I do something that advocating happens. What can I do? I advocate for funding for the long-term care industry, to provide better care to patients and more opportunities for staff. I get creative with providing opportunities to my staff, despite the financial hardship we experience as an organization – initiatives like the diaper bank program, car loan partnership, and HealthTrain.

My question for you is – are you an advocate for your industry? If so, how can you continue those efforts? If not, how can you take your feelings, views and beliefs about your industry and turn them into action? Take some time to reflect on these questions. Together, we can make a difference.