By Roberto Muñiz
I recently had the privilege of participating as a coach in the second meeting of the LeadingAge Leadership Academy
, joining colleagues and "influencers" in the field of aging. The year-long program, designed to develop aging services leaders nationwide, brings together some of the best and brightest stars in our line of work. We meet several times a year and I am honored to serve as coach.
Preparing aging service professionals so they can better serve our field is extremely important, and it's clear that the Leadership Academy does not take this lightly. Many would describe the program as intense, much like writing a thesis would be for school. Although it is intense, it's tremendously rewarding. The leaders of the academy, and also coaches like me, are reaping the benefits all the time.
Throughout the three-day meeting, I realized not only was I there to serve as coach--to help create the ideal environment to share learning with the fellows--I was there to learn from the fellows and the design team. My time giving as a coach was equally gaining.
I was moved by the fellows and their interest in the field, while asking questions that addressed the challenges that face us all in the aging field. More importantly, I loved how they showed great tenacity as they brainstormed and problem solved what the future of our industry will look like.
Part of the program involves visiting other aging services communities, learning about innovative programs and engaging in discussions with other professionals in the field. This allows all participants to learn from others in the field.
I believe sharing ideas is critical to help us all become better leaders. The opportunity to help others become better versions of themselves is not only relatable but also an inspiration to all. Whether we have a few years in this field or decades, what we do every day shows that we have gravitated to the idea of and are in the business of helping others improve themselves.
I am excited to see the future for the fellows at the Leadership Academy. What I have seen the next generation propose has inspired me. I know they will take aging services in a direction that adheres to our values and looks to the future with opportunity and optimism.
Allowing people to make aging part of life, whether at home or at organizations like Parker, takes many leaders and mentors coming together. Not how, but where can you be a leader? I encourage you to take a step toward mentoring--you just might learn something along with those you mentor.