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

203: Amber Bardon, Rachel Lugge

Raising Tech hosts Amber Bardon and Rachel Lugge join BTG for a recap of the launch of the Parasol Alliance podcast plus announce a new company brand of transforming technology culture in senior living.

Raising Tech Podcast here.

VIP Ignite Experience 2022 details here.

 

Lucas 

Welcome to Bridge the Gap Podcast, the senior living podcast with Josh and Lucas. We’ve got some great friends on the program today. We want to  welcome Amber and Rachel of Parasol. They are the hosts of Raising Tech here on the BTG Network. Welcome to the show.

Amber 

Thanks for having us. It’s good to be back.

Lucas 

It is great to see you guys again. The last time we saw you, well the one I remember, you guys were amazing supporters and also sponsors of of the VIP Ignite Experience that we had in Nashville. And it was great to see you there, and thanks for supporting us here at BTG.

Rachel 

Yeah, thank you. It was a great event and we were so honored to be a part of it. 

Lucas 

Well, and we’ve got a save the date coming out very, very soon, but we’re not gonna talk about that today. We’re gonna talk about everything that you guys have going on between the growth and the forecasting and the goals that you have at Parasol. And then also about your new podcast called Raising Tech. It’s been very successful and a lot of fun to host here on the BTG network. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, and I know that you have both learned a lot in the process. Josh and I, this is our fourth year of running the podcast and we continue to learn new things every single time we do it. Talk to us about the reasons why you wanted to start Raising Tech, what’s your mission through the podcast and what are some of the things that you’ve learned along the way?

Rachel 2:07

So we obviously, we learned a lot over this last year with COVID-19 and the effect of the pandemic on senior living operators, especially in regards to technology. So we wanted, our goal was to provide a platform, an opportunity to offer a guide for senior living operators to better understand the role technology plays in their senior living strategy and their day to day operations. So that was kind of the seed that kind of started, and Amber. Amber can talk a little bit more about Parasol Alliance and, and really our mission at Parasol Alliance, but we have such a deep specialization in the senior living field and technology strategy that it just made sense to use this type of a forum to help educate and truly empower senior living providers to better maximize technology.

Lucas 

I love that. Amber talk to us about some of the things that you’ve learned along the way was starting the podcast and interviewing different people. What have you learned?

Amber 

It has been such a great journey. We have had some amazing guests and topics on the podcast. Really, I think a lot of really rich content for operators and providers and communities. We did an episode with Jack York from i2NL, It’s Never Too Late. And he was an amazing guest. He told us his whole story about how he founded the company and the journey. We also have a great episode on telehealth, which is  obviously a hot topic in the field right now. We talked about strategic planning and resident support and resident technology. And it’s just really been a great journey and a lot of information that’s come out of that with our guests. And we’re looking forward to more of that in the future.

Josh 

Well, that’s super exciting. And I’ll say even the guests that you mentioned and the topics you mentioned, I know are very valuable to your listeners. And then also to our listeners, because being on the network, it’s amazing that our listeners get to take advantage and actually we’re all in the senior living industry together. That’s been one of our themes is kind of better together. So tell me about how this rolls into what you guys do on a daily basis at Parasol Alliance. I think this has been an exciting year for you guys in a lot of ways, been a challenging year, like it has been for all of us, but how do the two kind of parallel, as far as the messages and the services of what you want to communicate to people about who you are and what you do? 

Amber 

That’s a great question. So we are a technology company and we’re a managed service provider. But we really have a broader vision than that. Our vision going into 2022 is to transform technology culture and senior living. And we really want to inform and educate and really try to change the mindset of what technology means in this industry. Historically, I think that a lot of communities have viewed technology as just a line item in the budget, possibly trying to spend as little money on it as possible. What COVID has really brought out is that that has to change. Technology is not just the computer sitting on your desk, and the guy in the server room with khakis.  Technology is so much more than that. It’s low voltage, it’s emergency response systems. It’s your business systems and your processes.

Amber 

It’s resident support. It’s bringing solutions to your community to help you solve business problems. Things like artificial intelligence and applicant tracking tools, robotics. And there’s just so much exciting things happening in the field that can really provide a lot of value to communities. So what we’re trying to accomplish is really to change the mindset in the industry. That technology is not just IT, it’s not just computers, that it’s really a holistic approach that communities can be empowered by technology and that it could really help further their own vision and mission.

Josh 

Oh man. You’re speaking a language that I have painfully lived for so many years. Where have you been for all these years is what I want to know Amber and Rachel, because I can tell you as an operator, and maybe I’m just telling you my painful stories, but I have to believe there’s probably a lot of other operators out there like me, where you get inundated in caring for people in your communities and staffing your community and leading your teams. And then tech either is absent, or it’s broken, and it’s outdated and it’s not relevant. And then we start grabbing for the shiniest new toy, with the best salesperson that tells us what all it can do to solve all these problems. And then you realize without like some holistic approach and a rhyme and a reason to how all of this rolls out and works together and communicates, it can be a real nasty nightmare sometimes if you aren’t implementing the right things at the right times with the right people. I mean, is that some of the, the things that you guys deal with on a daily basis where you can come alongside people like me that are clueless and help us?

Amber (07:50):

Absolutely. And that actually is what our process was built from. So our entire business model is built on first partnering with communities to create a roadmap that gives them something very specific of what are the technology priorities and how does that impact the business overall so that you can actually have this representation from pretty much every aspect of the business. So the roadmap includes your business systems, your processes, optimization, low voltage, and of course, security in your IT  infrastructure so that you can decide as a community or as an operator, which things you want to focus your resources on both in time and dollars. And really ensure that you have this strategic vision overall, so that you’re not falling into, what you mentioned, Josh with just kind of implementing different systems randomly, possibly not taking advantage of integrations or systems you already have that could fulfill the needs that you’re trying to solve.

Josh 

Well, it’s really exciting. So Parasol Alliance has been a great partner in helping us inform, educate, influence the senior living industry, which is our mission at Bridge the Gap. That’s why this passion project that Lucas and I started happened. You’ve now become podcast hosts and experts on the Bridge the Gap network through Raising Tech. Now your mission and vision going forward is transforming technology culture in senior living. So give us a snapshot, give our listeners a teaser, what is 2022 and beyond look like for Parasol and for Raising Tech? What can listeners from you guys? 

 

Amber (09:37) 

We’re really excited to announce that we have a new chief growth officer, Patrick Leonard, who previously has been at Sherpa will be joining our team in January. This is a new position for us. We have been in business for six years and we’ve actually never done any sales or marketing or pretty minimal. We’ve never had a formal team for this. All of our business has been word of mouth and referrals and, people we meet at conferences and things like that. So we’re really excited to have Patrick come on board and really help us transform that aspect of our business and help us achieve our growth objectives.

Amber 

So we’re really looking forward to just being able to bring what we do to a bigger audience. I think there’s a lot of communities looking for this roadmap or this solution to this comprehensive point of view. And we really want to be able to just bring education of technology to a wider market and we’re excited for Patrick to help us out with that. In addition, we also will be launching a new service line on security services. So we’ll be offering a bundled managed security services that will include HIPAA security assessment, end user awareness training, security training, partnering with a product called KnowBe4, as well as penetration testing. And we’re gonna be able to offer this at a very affordable rate, which we’re really excited about especially the HIPAA security assessment, because that’s a very pricey item that everybody is required to do, but many communities don’t do it because of the price tag.

Josh 

Well, Lucas, this is really exciting. It’s always fun to have our partners on the show. And then it’s extra exciting when they’ve launched their own podcast that’s on the network and to hear all of the exciting things that are going on.  And the investment that this organization is making back into the industry for people that they may be working with now, or will be working with in the future, it’s very exciting and helping to raise the bar for everyone.

Lucas 

Absolutely Amber and Rachel. It’s great to see you. Thank you for your commitment to the senior living industry and providing such great content through Raising Tech. Thanks for being on the show today. 

 

Amber

Thanks for having us. 

 

Rachel

Thank you. 

 

Lucas

Yes, and we look forward to more in 2022, it’s gonna be a great and fantastic year with many challenges, but great opportunities. And thanks to all of our listeners, this is going to be a wonderful year for BTG. We want you to go to BTGvoice.com, connect with us there on social, reach out to us, and connect with us in the conversation and furthering information, education, and influence in the senior living industry. Thanks for listening to another great episode of Bridge the Gap. 

203: Amber Bardon, Rachel Lugge