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

Episode 97: We’re Better Together

Happy New Year from the team at #BTGvoice! Josh Crisp, Lucas McCurdy and Sara Mitchell share some of the team’s goals, plans and a preview of the 2020 season.

Lucas: Welcome to Bridge the Gap Podcast, the senior living podcast. Welcome to 2020, season three with Josh, Sara and Lucas. We are so excited to come to you this year and talk to you about where we’ve been, where we’re going and we want to talk mainly about our theme this year, which is all about the listener. This is about you guys. Thank you so much for listening and following us. We’ve got long term listeners, we’ve gotten brand new listeners and we’re going to let you in on a little bit of the backstory and then also where we’re going. A lot of things to talk about this year. Josh, episode 97 what does that feel like?

Josh: It feels like a lot of things, man. It feels like we’ve been doing this for a while, but then at the same time it feels like we just got started. So 97 episodes. It’s hard to believe. Thanks to our listeners for listening and for tuning in and for all the feedback they give us. It’s actually encouraged us and made this feel super exciting. 

Sara: So close to 100 episodes. How does it feel for you guys to know we’re almost there?

Josh: I’m getting older and losing hair. Like if you look back three years ago, I had more hair. Lucas, what’s up with that.

Lucas: Yeah. Coming up, coming up to a hundred episodes. I mean statistically most podcasts never even make it past seven episodes. And so to get this far is just, it’s a great achievement for our entire team. And it’s, I think it’s an asset to the industry that we love so much.

Josh: Yeah, well it all started, if you remember back about thinking, how can we take this awesome information to the masses, it became a podcast and thanks to our listeners, it’s grown. And this year we’re kind of rekindling that. Like it is truly all about the listeners. It’s all about you that are listening and watching. So couldn’t be more excited. Super huge, awesome blessing to have Sara with us on this show. Our producer, as you all know, this wouldn’t happen without her. So glad that you can weigh in with us.

Sara: Well, thank you. I’m happy to be here. Typically it’s fun snapping pictures and getting to talk about all of the things that I see on the other side of the camera. So I’m glad to be on this side to basically take this new season up a notch. We’re going to talk and tell you a little bit about that, what’s big on the horizon and I’m just excited to be here.

Josh: But let’s go back. So there’s probably some of you that are just tuning in for the first time. You’re like, season three? This is the first episode I’ve listened to. What is this all about? Bridge the Gap. So Lucas, I think we need to just to like tell our listeners like how this thing all began, right?

Lucas: You know, it was two years ago in January that we sat down the three of us and really sat down and said, what is our, why? Why are we going to do this? We know why it’s important, but really what is the core of, of, of our mission? What is, what’s going to be our why? We came up with the mission to educate and inform and influence. And, and there’s some offshoots of that. Yes. We want to also inspire the people that are doing the work. There’s so many people in this business with their heads down, the caregivers, the frontline staff, the people, the chefs, the servers, the executive directors, the administrators, people in the back office. So many people that are putting their efforts and giving their lives’ career work and journey to elevate the life of older adults. And so those things came together two years ago for us. And I think we’ve been about the business of trying to fulfill that mission.

Josh: Yeah. And you know, we, there was so many things that made us think of like, why we could do this. We had so many awesome opportunities to travel around the country, even outside of the communities and all the awesome things that happened there. But see the great collaboration across our industry that took place. We get to hear not only the love stories that have happened in the communities that we’ve worked in, but hear others. And you know, one of the things we talked about, we talked about this with Sara as well as like, wow, you know, so many people don’t get to hear the awesome things that happen in these communities on a daily basis. Not only just for the residents, but for their families and for those team members. And it’s such an awesome industry to work in. And so we started saying to ourselves, why don’t we hear more about these love stories and why is it that the people in the industry or the families that have their loved ones are such, you know, advocates for the industry, but outside the industry it’s like, unless you work in the industry, people don’t know about it.

Or maybe they have wrong misconceptions. And then we started talking about just aging in general. You know, we have fun in these communities and people are actually coming and being able to do things that they’ve never done before in their lives and they’re uniquely in this position with a little extra time on their hands and around other people and, and actually being engaged in activities and doing some really cool things. So, you know, what can we do to help share those love stories and help to change the perception of not only senior living but aging in general. Right?

Lucas: Totally. 

Sara: And you know, I think one of the really unique factors of what has happened in two complete seasons is tapping into the stories, the experiences, the situations from the very unique and special guests that we’ve had on the show. So we’ve had some very young guests who are on the show all the way up to a 98-year-old. Do you remember from one of the conferences?

Lucas: Hurricane Hazel.

Sara: So it’s not defined by age, it’s not defined by title. We’ve had so many really cool stories to rehash and I wish that we could go through all of those and kind of preview some of the stories that we’ll have in this upcoming season. But I think that has been a unique factor of the success of the first two seasons.

Lucas: And it’s been so much fun. I think that, and I hope our listeners really genuinely know that about us, is that we have a blast doing this. It really is a lot of fun. 

Josh: Sure. Well, and you know, to your point, Sarh, you know, there has been some episodes where you can go back and listen to some of our recap episodes even if you haven’t been able to catch every one of our episodes, which are all available on our website, but where we’ve recapped just a few weeks ago, many of the great kind of stand out episodes that we have and some of our best memories of the year. But looking forward, gosh, what an exciting year and how much this has evolved since that crazy idea as we call it, that we had two these two guys and Sara to come together to produce a podcast all about our audience and our audience has kind of pushed us forward along with our partners.

And so many exciting things to share with you in this upcoming year.

Lucas: Yes, new partners to help be the fuel to the fire, to to our mission to educate, inform and influence. We’re excited about that. We hope that our listeners give some attention to those people because there’s specific reasons why people are partnering with our show is because it resonates with their organization and they want to help thought leadership, be the tide that rises all boats in our industry to give voice to an industry. And that’s a huge responsibility that we have and it’s not really only ours. What our hope is, is that we can create a platform that is a voice for the industry that everybody can use and be and benefit from. And that also leads into the reason why we want to make it about the listener this year is because we want to connect with them on a deeper level.

And we’re going to come up with ways to do that. Some very simple, tangible ways just BTGvoice.com. That is the kind of the ground zero where people can take our consumer content but also get connected to us on social. So many people have come to us via LinkedIn and they said, I’ve heard of you from LinkedIn. We were connected with you on LinkedIn and you can message us there. And there’s been countless people like that.

Josh: Well, and not only that but in person, right? So we have a really exciting opportunity. Actually the way you and I met was first on LinkedIn, but then we connected and decided we wanted to meet in person and hang out and get to know each other a little bit at one of the big industry conferences.

Our relationship grew through meeting each other and then we decided, man, we should get together more often. Right? But this year, coming off of an exciting 2019 podcast tour year, this upcoming season, I mean, I couldn’t be more excited as our relationships have grown with our listeners. Our relationships have also grown with our conference partners. So we have a super exciting conference tour this year that’s going to keep us pretty busy, right?

Sara: It is going to keep us busy. And let’s talk just a second about not only the destinations and the different regions of the country that we’ll be going to. But the uniqueness and the differences in the guests that we will line up from those conferences because we have a full video and digital component to our episode and I’m not sure how everyone is listening, whether it’s just on the, the iTunes or the podcast side of it, whether it’s video from social media or full episodes on YouTube. There’s so many different ways that our listeners are consuming this. But the unique part of episodes that we record at conferences is getting down and getting to sit with, talk to, take notes from and just open up a conversation at all of these shows.

Lucas: Yeah. And that’s been the backbone of how we record our episodes, which really when we sat down to plan this and create our why and our mission, we never really thought about how we were going to actually do these recordings and where we would go. It organically moved into going to these conferences which really fit well with our mission because that is an epicenter of where a lot of thought leadership is taking place and a lot of the big names and also big outsiders of the industry that can sit down with us and we’re going to have a lot of a big lineup of that coming up this season.

Josh: Well, you know, as you and I have talked, some of the thought leaders that we have had on our show, as a matter of fact, the majority of them have been our heroes that for years we had just been close enough to hear as a keynote speaker at some major conference and to have them right beside us actually usually sitting in the middle of me and you Lucas geeking out. We’re able to actually to talk with them and them sharing that thought leadership, that intellect and their wisdom and experience to our listeners is a real blessing to us. And I know to our listeners by the feedback we get from our listeners, but at these tours, at these schedules that you can check out at BTGvoice.com, you can check out our 2020 tour and we would love for you to reach out to us and schedule a time to meet with us and maybe get a chance to meet some of these thought leaders in these guests at the actual show.

Lucas: Absolutely. and I think that’s, that’s a big key piece is that if you’re going to be at these shows, we want to see you, we want to, we want to talk to you, we want to know how you found out about us. And then for those of you that are listening, that are saying, well, one of the reasons why I listen is cause I’m not able to go to the shows and but I can listen to BTG you know, every week and get some thought leadership from that. Then we still want to connect with you. You know, we want to know what you’re looking for, what topics, what type of people are most beneficial to you. We know for a fact technology’s a big thing. It’s changing every aspect of everybody’s lives including aging, including the operations around aging. And so we’re going to dive deeper into that. We even have some partners that are going to help us understand and be kind of on the cutting edge of that. There’s many, many different topics. Occupancy continues to be a big issue. Retention and recruiting, culture, culture continues to come up as a big part of our show.

Josh: Well, and another growing portion of our audience, Lucas, I think me and you have been a little bit shocked and Sara about this growing group of individuals that are not from our industry. And it’s a fairly young demographic, many of whom are either in a career and maybe just looking for something that they feel like they have a real sense of mission and purpose. And so they’re searching for something many that are in a university or a college or in some training program looking for a career. So there’s amazing amounts of ability to learn from just simply listening to the podcast. And you can find out and explore no matter what area of study or discipline of study that you are in or you have been in there is somewhere in our industry that your skillset can fit. And it’s such a growing industry. And so that’s exciting and we’re glad to just again, bridge that gap to a world that has never even heard about our industry until they heard about our podcast.

Sara: As we continued to inform and educate and influence through a variety of topics and in different places. Will you guys talk a little bit about and tell our listeners who are the people that are reaching out to you? We’ve talked about this new listenership that’s coming and we’re learning very quickly that it’s a large population of people that are listening on the education side. But will you talk about some of the messages on LinkedIn that we get some of the Instagram messages, the emails, who are the people that are connecting and reaching out to you guys who have been in the industry for quite some time?

Lucas: Yeah and we get, we get so much joy out of hearing from, from you guys. And you know, you’re, you’re sitting there right now, you’re listening probably on your commute or maybe for exercising or walking the dog or something like that. We’re so thankful that you’re taking us along with you and that you see value in this and you’re checking in with us to hear who the next guest is and what the next topic is going to be. When you reach out to us and tell us about it and tell us what you learned and how it’s so meaningful to you. Recently we got a message on the episode that we had last season with Kat Cole. That was just talking about being different and being different in business and all the challenges that people face as they start out in their careers. And it really resonated with one of our listeners and she wrote to us in detail talking about those things and how it resonated with her even that day when she listened. You know, that’s the reason why we do this.

Josh: Yeah. Well, and I’ll tell you another, I’m kind of a little bit different line as well, we’ve had so many creative people on our shows, so many creative guests that I believe have truly challenged our listeners in how they approach what they’re doing daily. So for example, our operators, those community leaders, those executive directors, they’re hearing from some of the best, not only industry leaders, but leaders in general and creative thinkers outside of the industry. And they’re challenging them how to better tell their story. Because we all recognize that these communities and these people in our industry are truly champions and great human beings. But you know what? Sometimes we get in our rut and we forget like, wow, every single day there’s something awesome for me to be outside of this community talking about. One of the many you know, comments I’ve gotten is like, Hey, you know, I love that guest. Can you connect us with them? Or what can you tell us more about this? Or actually you guys starting a podcast encouraged our company or our community to potentially start a podcast to tell our own story. Like how do we do that? And it’s funny because I always laugh in the first thing I’m saying, I’m like, this is really bizarre because like two years ago I listened to podcasts but I had no clue how to do one. So it’s really rewarding to me to say, well, I’m not an expert, but you know what, we’ll tell you everything we know because we would love to equip you and if we can help anything that we do, that’s what we’re here for.

Lucas: So that’s a great thought process. If we could be the catalyst or be a part of an industry that, that creates many podcasts. We’ve said that before. If the senior living industry had many podcasts, that would mean even more attention and even more thought leadership being raising up.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. And because we know that the people in the industry have a great perception of the industry. So one of the things we would love to see is this changing a perception and so excited that just that idea and that thought process because of many of our partners and many of our guests and many of our listeners kind of spurring us to take that next step and next level. I think for me and you and Sara, you know, Lucas, this has been a progression to where as we get deeper and as we get more challenged by our listeners and more feedback, what’s coming in 2020 and beyond, where bringing people together to where together we can do so much more than we ever could apart this platform is about that. Right? And so that collaborative effort and that spirit is what is representative of our industry.

Sara: I think that there’s so many people that have these perfect one-liners of encouragement. It’s almost the challenge of taking your day to day operations, your day to day job and seeing just how great it is. And you know, there’s so many one-liners and clips and things that Bridge the Gap we’ll put out on social media and shared that are easy to share. And I think some of those one liners and that, those bytes of encouragement or what people both inside and outside of the industry need to hear. They need to be able to see that and experience it because there are so many great things happening.

Josh: Well, and you know, it’s been amazing. You just touched on something and I think our listeners realize this, but we set out to do a podcast. The podcast has become much more than just a podcast. It’s become a true media and engagement platform for our industry across all the sectors. And so regardless of how our listeners want to connect, regardless of what platform they use, if they don’t have time to listen to a full episode today, they can get, I know a word that you’ve gotten tired of hearing us, but we put out all this micro-content literally every day of the year. There’s content coming out and it’s not the Josh and Lucas content. It’s literally this great treasure trove of information and wisdom that’s coming from these great guests that we’ve had on the show.

Lucas: So, speaking of content, Sara, what, what can our listeners, you know, are, we’re committed to this content. It’s very robust. Our library of 97 episodes of content, it’s huge. It’s huge. So for the new listeners or just people that have listening and maybe they’re like, Oh no, I’m not, I just don’t go on social media that much. What are what are we doing now? What are, what are people, what can they expect to see from us as far as that content that’s going out?

Sara: Well, lots of changes. Great changes. We hope we want to make it easier to share, easier to find and easier to use for teams, for companies, for even just individual use. Some of the things that our listeners can be looking for and watching for are those episodes broken down into little bitty bite sized bits of information. So we’ll be looking for and pulling our favorite quotes, our favorite stories, our favorite nuggets of wisdom. And those will all be readily available on social media. So that’s Instagram, that’s Twitter, that’s Facebook and LinkedIn. Our biggest, most populated platform of social media is LinkedIn. And so we’re asking our listeners to tag people that might need to hear that story or might need to tap into that topic and let us know what you think about it. Tag someone, email us, messages and and let us know. Another thing that we don’t talk about often enough is the full episodes are transcribed. So they’re so easy to be copy and pasted, sent and even read if you’re not available or audio is not an option for listening to an episode. They’re all there to be read. 

Josh: Sure. I think that’s a great point too because so many of these episodes are like literally you could take the script and give it to your team members in a standup meeting or just talk about a few of the highlights. I mean, I think back to some simple things on like very deep dive specific topics like marketing and sales and great people like Traci Bild that we had on the show and things like that. Like you could take that episode and the transcription and highlighter and literally make a full outline of like training material for an inservice for your team. And so the wealth of information and thanks to our partners that have made those transcription services completely possible.

Lucas: Yeah. Well, and so Josh even, I love hearing that from you as an operator. What is impacting and influencing teams and the type of information that they need to help their teams grow. For me as a partner to the industry there’s actually a big listener group that are partners to the industry. I’ve joked before that I’ve got a masters in senior living by doing the podcast and listening to the podcast. And I know there’s a lot of people in sales and marketing that are genuinely trying to provide products and services that better impact aging adults and better impact the teams and the operators that are doing this hard work and they’re listening in so that they can learn more about the industry too. We know sales teams that listen to the podcast and talk about it in their weekly discussions and we’re going to be bringing more information to help you guys.

Josh: Yeah, 2020 teaser. It’s the information of more information coming in 2020. I can’t wait because we know the key is the content and you know, we have sampled and it’s been hugely popular, even doing bonus episodes throughout the week. So we can’t wait to bring more content, a variety of content and some deeper dives. So our audience, we want to hear from you exactly what content matters, what content you need, how you need it. And so look forward to getting that from you and growing in 2020.

Lucas: Diversify. That’s what you’re going to be seeing from us. And you’ll see our standard. We’re going to be committed to going to these conferences. We’re going to the best conferences that the industry has all this year and we’re going to be bringing all that thought leadership to you. And then we’re going to be creative, we’re going to be bringing different things and more things. We’re going to be doing more mastermind dinners. And we really actually, our, our audience has not really benefited from a lot of that information because we’ve been testing it. We’ve only done a handful of them. They’ve been very exclusive and they’ve been very specific in specific locations that involve specific people. And we’ve been trying to refine that. So we’re going to continue to do that and next year figure out ways to take the information that comes out of those events, those evenings and then bring it back to you guys.

Josh: It’s been super exciting. And also, you know, we’ve already got some speaking engagements lined up for 2020. That’s been a byproduct of the podcast and things like that. So if you’re interested in Lucas and Josh, Sara, being at your event, bringing a Mastermind to you or being keynotes at your event we’ve had a lot of fun over the last couple of years being invited to be part of some great regional and national team meetings. So that is all about us taking what we’ve learned and bringing it back to you even at a very personal level at your personal event. So it’s been super exciting.

Lucas: So much fun, so much to be excited about this year from Bridge the Gap. And then just for our listeners, we hope that you have incredible goals. We want to know what those goals are. We want to help you get there. And so our big call to action right now is that we want you to connect to us in whatever form or fashion that, that you want to because we have many on any social channel that you can message us. You can go to our website, BTGvoice.com, and you can message us there. Josh and Sara and I, we will personally respond back to you. We will make sure that we connect cause that’s what we want to do this year and throughout the year we’re going to be coming up with new ways to do that.

Josh: Sure. And we always say at all of our Masterminds and all of our events, you know, we’re better together. Join us at btgvoice.com and listen, it’s so awesome. It’s why we’re here. We so appreciate what you have done and what you’ve made possible through listening and contributing to the show.

Lucas: So happy new year to the senior living industry. Happy new year to Bridge the Gap. We’re committed to just walking with you this year and connecting on a deeper level. We also want to thank Morrison Living for this incredible recording space that we’re in today. Our sound may sound a little bit different because typically we’re at a big conference in there maybe a lot of background noise, but today we’ve got a great studio and some good sounds. So thank you Morrison Living for that.

Sara: Season three.

Lucas: Here we go. Season three. Here we go. Coming at you. Join us, join us. Well, thank you guys for listening to another great episode of Bridge the Gap.

 

Thank you to our supporting partners NRC Health, OneDay, TIS, Morrison Living, Argentum, Solinity, and The Bridge Group Construction.  

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Episode 97: We’re Better Together