Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: So CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

News from the Assisted Living Front...

I'm in Phoenix for the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) 2010 conference. I spoke yesterday at a session about social media, with brilliant Dan Hobin of G5 Search Marketing. If you're looking for a great company to help you with SEO, call G5! Anyway, Dan and I had an SRO crowd that included my SVP boss, our CEO and the SVP of Silverado At Home. I had to pretend they weren't there in order to go with the flow of my presentation. Once again, I felt very grateful to the best presentation skills coach in the whole wide world, Pam Chambers of Honolulu, for teaching me how to do that! Dan and I received excellent feedback and I've met all kinds of people here at the conference as a result.

One of the most interesting people I've met in the past week is a keynote speaker at TWO events. Her name is Maddy Dychtwald and she's the author of an amazing new book titled, "Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power will Transform our World for the Better." Maddy is also the co-founder with her husband, Ken, of Age Wave. I read Ken's book, "Age Wave," in the 80's and it changed my life. Somehow, even back then, I knew I wanted to seek a career that related to aging Boomers. Ken was a keynote speaker at the WomanSage conference last fall, and I remember that he enthusiastically promoted his wife's upcoming book.

This past Saturday, Maddy spoke at the WomanSage Family Matters Luncheon in Anaheim. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with her along with a small group of powerful OC women. We learned how she became involved in a landmark demographic study of women that prompted her to write the new book. She was a trooper to do the breakfast before speaking to the 225 women at the luncheon. Her message was captivating.

To my delight, Maddy was also the first keynote speaker at the ALFA conference. My associate, Marcelo, and I sat in the front row to cheer her on. Before her talk, I went backstage to tell her Marcelo and I would be front and center rooting for her! This was a much larger crowd than at WomanSage - about 1200. And this time, instead of focusing on women, Maddy focused on all aging Boomers and the associated trends that affect everyone working in the field of assisted living.

My takeaway from both talks has to do with what Maddy calls "the longevity bonus" that we humans have gotten in the past 100 years. The average lifespan in the US went from something like 47 years to 78 years (don't have my book here next to me) in the 20th century. She pointed out that most of us aren't going to want to live the old "linear life" of going from babies to education to work and family to leisure to death any more. Who wants to just add 30 years to old age? She said we're going to mix it up - maybe go from education to leisure to work and family to leisure to more education to more work - you get the drift. I loved it - that life span can be more cyclical. That's kind of what I did so far, without knowing it. I went from education to work to leisure to leisure and work (Hawaii) to work to work with family (caregiving for parents) to work....and I'm planning to keep working for many more years before I hit leisure again.

Another thing Maddy did here at ALFA was profile Boomers in general. One of the most interesting things she says is that Boomers are more giving than some other generations. They like to volunteer and give back. That hit a harmonic chord with my current job with Silverado where I feel my work truly matters. Great food for thought for the new book I'm working on now, "The Heart Way Back." So I will definitely stay in touch with Maddy. And I hope you will get her book and see what it might mean for you, too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sometimes a Great Party... what you need to pick yourself up and beat the blues. So on Monday night, Gary and I went to a Hollywood movie premiere. We went with our friends, Gaye and Rick, to "The Prince of Persia" premiere at the Chinese Theater. We walked the red carpet with Jake Gyllenhall and Sir Ben Kingsley. The event was a benefit for American Film Institute which also chose to salute the movie's producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, whose hand and footprints were immortalized in cement outdoors in the theater's famous courtyard. Many stars of Bruckheimer movies were on hand to pay tribute. They lined up in front of the big screen before the movie started. We were near the front. It was fun to see Eddie Murphy, Jon Voight, Tom Cruise, Billy Bob Thornton, Judge Reinhold and so many others. By far the most interesting to me was Kelly McGillis of "Top Gun" fame, who looked older than I do and made me feel downright sexy in my "business attire." Best part of the whole evening was the party after the movie, held on the top floor of the Kodak Theater complex where they also do the Academy Awards Governors Ball. I was delighted to chat up Phil Keoghan, host of my very favorite reality series, "The Amazing Race." Phil is from New Zealand, but he lived in Antigua in the West Indies for several of his childhood years and we had a nice conversation about living in the Caribbean. I summoned up the nerve to go and talk with Phil because my dear friend, Kathy J, was not able to join me for this fabulous event, and she would have loved to have met him. She's the one who got me so addicted to "The Amazing Race." I got out my camera and Gary took a picture of me and Phil. Pretty great, in my silly little book of peak experiences! My other friend named Phill was also at the event, so I snapped a photo of him with Sir Ben Kingsley. Phill was checking out the girls, too, and happened to spot the beautiful Gemma Arderton, who plays Princess Tahmina in the movie. That's why there are two pictures of him here. The food was fantastic, the people-watching grand, the wine excellent and Gary and I got home around 2 AM. That doesn't happen often; but in this case, it was totally worth it. No blues here this week!