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The senior living industry has a voice. You can hear it on Bridge the Gap podcast!

162: Meet the Ambassadors

Meet the inaugural Bridge the Gap Network Ambassadors! The 15 Ambassadors represent 13 states and are tasked with taking the mission of BTG, to inform, educate, and influence the future of the senior housing industry, to their companies, teams, and influences.

Lucas: Welcome to Bridge The Gap Podcast, a senior living podcast with Josh and Lucas on a very special program to talk about our ambassador program. It’s so fun! You know, Josh, this has been a goal of ours for a number of months, and we finally have launched this out. And this is the first season where we actually have ambassadors out there in the field championing and being the voice of BTG. 

Josh: It’s super cool, man. I’m telling you season four as if it wasn’t good enough, these ambassadors, I can’t wait for our listeners to hear from them. It’s kind of surreal. Four years ago we were sitting around in a lobby thinking about creating a platform. The whole intention was it to be the voice of the industry to inform, educate, and influence, and it was never about us. Always has been bigger than us and this year it’s proving it, all these ambassadors. I can’t wait for our listeners to hear from them.

Lucas:  Yeah. You know what, Bridge The Gap is all about connecting people, right? Connecting people with thought leadership, education, information, and influence in our space. And it’s big. It’s big. It involves everybody. And so 2021, we’re launching the BTG network ambassador program. We’ve got a number of people. Let me just tell you a couple of stats Josh, 15 ambassadors representing 13 States. This is really, really fun. 

Josh: That is amazing. And you know, these ambassadors, their mission, which is the mission of Bridge The Gap is to inform, educate, and influence the future of senior housing and be that to the companies, the teams, and all the influencers that we love, sharing those stories about in our industry on a regular basis. 

Lucas: So to all of our listeners, Bridge The Gap, the entire team here is very excited to welcome the new ambassadors and not just welcome them, but introduce them to you. Stay tuned. Listen in. Welcome the ambassadors for season four. Here they are.

Lavonda: My name is Lavonda Cantrell. I’m the director of marketing and special projects for Hillcrest Healthcare in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’m thrilled to have been selected as a Bridge The Gap ambassador, and I look forward to connecting with industry leaders, sharing our ideas, sharing our passion, and fueling our purpose, which is ultimately to impact this industry in a big way. I love senior living. I love the stories that seniors share and listening about the incredible lives that they’ve lived. This has been one of the most rewarding careers, and I feel honored to be a part of senior living.

Chris: Hi, I’m Chris Hoard. I was recently invited to be part of the Bridge The Gap family, as a Bridge The Gap ambassador, and couldn’t be more excited or thankful for this opportunity. I’m so excited to continue working with Josh, Lucas, and Sara, as we seek to educate, inform, and influence the industry. We all love this industry so much. As I think back across my 25 years in the industry to what really drew or attracted me to this industry, I would have to say, it’s the people. It takes a special person to work and live in the senior living industry. It’s a servitude attitude. It’s the opportunities that we have to love and care for others. But as I’ve really watched and paid attention to the podcasts over the last few years, what I see is not only a bridging of generations but a bridging of hearts. I really have sought to find greater purpose in the work that I’ve done, in the work I do in my career. I’m really grateful that senior living allows us the opportunity to serve. The opportunity to bring others to the industry. There’s so many places, so many things we can do to influence this space. I look forward to doing my small part and to lift where I stand and to where I serve. I look forward to meeting and knowing more of you in the industry and seeing what we can do together. I look forward to talking to you soon.

Crissy: Good morning Bridge the Gap. I’m Crissy Tohey, regional sales, and marketing director with Transforming Age. And I’m so excited to be part of this influential group of thought leaders, and influencers, and professionals in senior housing. We all learn from each other. We’re all in this together. We’re all in it to win it. And I’m so excited to raise the bar in senior housing and just learn from each and every one of you. So cheers, and let’s have a great year.

Matt: My name is Matt Reiners. I’m one of the co-founders of Ever Sound. And I am excited to be a Bridge The Gap ambassador, to continue to inform more people about the senior living space and all the amazing work that is being done in it. To improve the quality of life of older adults. And I really was bitten by the senior living industry bug, when I realized that I could be a part of something, whether it was creating a business or being entrepreneurial or helping in other ways and doing good. In terms of building something and doing some good around it, I don’t know if it gets much better than that. So I’m super excited to be an ambassador and continue to push the senior living industry forward. 

Micah: Hello, my name is Micah Hunt, and I’m excited to share that I am one of many ambassadors for Bridge The Gap, senior living podcast. I am truly excited to be a part of this amazing group and among other professionals in regards to sharing and being part of the growth of Bridge The Gap senior living podcast. Why I am excited is just because this group has really done a whole lot. They’ve provided mentorship, they provided resources, data, just as so many amazing videos and podcasts to us, especially this time of a pandemic to really, truly shape and give us encouragement of what the future is going to hold and what it looks like. And I love being able to connect with new people and network with like-minded professionals. I love the senior living space. I’m a passionate advocate for Alzheimer’s association, hence the purple jacket. I do have purple pants too, but I’m not even gonna bother standing up for that. And just a very passionate connector and advocator for senior living and our seniors in Virginia and across the country as well. And look forward to participating with you all, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. And I look forward to spending more time with you and seeing the growth of Bridge The Gap senior living podcast.

Michelle: Hello, this is Michelle Clark with Domus Development. I’m very excited to be part of the inaugural ambassador program for Bridge The Gap. We are a group of like-minded individuals who support the senior living industry. We all like to take care of those who have been taking care of us our whole life. And I have a special focus because my mother was an Alzheimer’s victim. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m very excited to help you. 

Mike: Hello everyone. I’m Mike Mohatt. I work for a company called Senior Living Fund, and now I’m an ambassador and excited to be with Bridge The Gap and working with some amazing people that I’ve gotten to know over the last several years. I’ve been in the senior space for only about five years. So I guess you call me kind of a newbie, but it’s very exciting. And the things that we’re doing are very fun and being involved in anything that helps our seniors is totally exciting. And I really enjoy it. I was president for two years of a local Sertoma club, where we spent a lot of time raising money for Alzheimer’s. And so it’s kind of near and dear to my heart. I had a grandmother that I lost from Alzheimer’s. And so just being involved, being able to give back and learn more about the senior spaces is a lot of fun. Being part of Bridge The Gap is very exciting. I’m hoping to do some great things and meet some fantastic people. So let’s have a good time and let’s get to know each other better and do some, some really exciting things moving forward this year. So again, nice to meet you all. And I’m looking forward to this year, go BTG.

Sierra: Hi, my name is Sierra and I am so excited to have been chosen as one of the ambassadors for Bridge The Gap senior living podcast. I’m very passionate about working for seniors. I’ve been in the industry now professionally for just about two years. I was raised by my great grandparents and that’s really where the love of seniors started for me. I am so excited to be able to contribute to this podcast and this team, and I’m very, very excited to be a part of this. Thanks. 

Jackie: Hi everyone. I’m Jackie Burnham Hurt and I’m the training guide for Park Springs Communities in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I am so excited about being a Bridge The Gap ambassador for 2021. We have such a unique opportunity to affect culture change and introduce person-centered care to senior living communities all across the country. You know, elder care is a calling and I have an internal passion that drives me daily to ensure that the elders in my care live their best lives every day on their terms. It’s about more than delivering care. It’s about caring deeply and wholeheartedly. It’s about building deep, meaningful, loving, trusting relationships that honor and value a person as a whole, as opposed to just a diagnosis. It’s about allowing yourself to be vulnerable and letting people in to know your story. But most importantly, it’s about being compassionate and being able to see another’s experience through their eyes and support them as they say they need. I am so excited about the upcoming year and the opportunities that we are going to have to make the lives of elders, everywhere, so much more meaningful. 

Matt: Hello everyone. My name is Matt Kelley, and I’ve been in the senior living industry going on my 14th year. I am so excited to be a part of the Bridge The Gap ambassador program. I know it was something that was new this year and I feel blessed to be able to be one of the 15 that was selected to spread the word of this podcast. I’m lucky to be a part because I think Josh and Lucas have done some really great things. I think they put out a lot of great content. I think they get a lot of high-level executives on the podcast, which helps shed light on what’s going on in this industry. I think it’s a great way for people who don’t even know about this industry to tap in and learn all about it. I began my senior living journey back when I was in college at Towson, where I started in the activity program. I got into the industry because my dad was in the industry. He was a regional for Sunrise in Virginia and he had encouraged me when I needed an internship to take a chance. So I did that. Ended up falling in love with it, graduated, and went the sales route, held positions as a sales specialist, area manager of sales for Kansas and Northern Virginia with Sunrise, before I transferred over to Lorien, which is a skilled nursing-based company that also has assisted living where I was the regional director of sales and oversaw the assisted livings. After that, I transitioned to Rehab & Perform, which is a physical therapy company for about a year. After my year there, actually in 2020, I ended up coming back into the senior living industry to see if I can help make a difference. I’m now the director of community relations at Brandywine Living in Potomac. And we’re hoping to open this beautiful building here next month. I’m really excited to be a part of this awesome team. And I look forward to helping to spread the word. Thank you.

Julie: Hi, I’m Julie Podewitz, CMO of Vitality Living here in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m excited to be a Bridge The Gap ambassador for the opportunity to increase the positive visibility of our business nationally. And to also increase the professional networks. We can continue learning from one another. I love senior living. I love the people this business attracts and also the positive impact it ultimately has on our residents, our team members, and our families. My dad is a three-year resident at one of our assisted living communities. And I have never seen him happier.

Chris: My name is Chris Heinz. I’m the managing partner with West Port One, a national executive recruitment firm that specializes in senior living leadership. I am so excited to be selected as a Bridge The Gap ambassador because this podcast has done a tremendous job, further educating the senior living industry and highlighting the ideas and programs that can benefit both corporate and community leadership. I love the senior living industry because all of us in it can help improve the quality of life of the aging population. When we place a community leader like an executive director, we know that we are helping those residents have the quality of life and live their life to the fullest, along with helping the corporate team know they have the right individual in that community. One day, I’m going to be in that category. And I know that I’m going to want a beautiful community with amazing activities. And I want to have an incredible team to help support me. So by me helping do my small part in promoting the BTG podcast, I’m furthering the movement to create the best programs for now and in the future.

Elizabeth: I’m Elizabeth Dooley and I am so excited to be a Bridge The Gap ambassador. The opportunity is exciting to me to have the possibility to influence an industry in which I care deeply. And senior living, you know, for me is about having the grit and hard-working mentality and determination to provide new innovations that can impact generations to come. So I look forward to seeing where this takes me. Thank you.

Zach: Hello everyone. I’m Zach Boyer with JLL. Working on the evaluation and advisory side of the senior living industry, I spend most of my time analyzing operations and market trends that impact evaluations of the underlying real estate. My work also allows unique insights to the people who have worked selflessly to keep our loved ones safe, healthy, and fulfilled throughout this pandemic. I’m excited to work as an ambassador with Bridge The Gap to not only have an opportunity to offer gratitude for these heroic efforts but to also encourage thoughts and ideas to help drive innovation as our sector continues to grow and serve the needs of one of the most important segments of our population. 

Brenda: Hi, my name is Brenda Richy and I’m the national director of resident programming at Integral Senior Living. I’m honored to be among this group of this year’s ambassadors for Bridge The Gap senior living podcast. I enjoy, I adore, I love, I am compassionate about seniors and our industry, and I cannot wait to see where we will take this industry next.

Lucas: So excited to have these ambassadors on the network. Josh, this has been an incredible episode and a great introduction to this program. 

Josh: We are humbled and honored that so many people in our industry representing so many different awesome companies and organizations have joined the Bridge The Gap family, and so thankful for the time and effort that they give back every single day. I can’t wait for our listeners to connect with them a little bit more Lucas. 

Lucas: BTG, family, and network, go ahead and connect with all of our ambassadors. Go to BTGvoice.com/ambassadors and connect with them there. Thanks for listening to another great episode of Bridge The Gap.

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162: Meet the Ambassadors