Taking Time to Fill Your Cup

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Reflections on the 2018 Conference
Joan Devine, Pioneer Network, Director of Education

I was sitting in my office one day in late July 2007, and I got a call from the CEO of what was then the Missouri Association for Home and Services for the Aging (now LeadingAge). She had a registration for the Pioneer Network Conference in Minneapolis that she was not able to use — and did I know anyone who would like to use it? Did I know someone…you bet I did! And thus began what has become my annual pilgrimage to the annual Pioneer Network conference.

At that first conference, I felt like a kid at Disney World — meeting all my “Culture Change” heroes. Some, who I knew from books I had read, like Bill Thomas, Nancy Fox, LaVrene Norton and Steve Shields, and others who I was to learn were heroes of the movement like Rose Marie Fagan, Carter Catlett Williams, Barry Barkan, Bill Keane, Sue Misiorski, and so many more.

Whether you have been blessed as I have to be able to attend so many conferences, have only been to one or two, or are still hoping for the chance to attend one year, what an incredible place to go to “fill your cup”!

As I sit here in my office, just back from this year’s conference in Denver, my cup has once again been filled.  I have made many new friends, some from across town and others from across the globe. Based on what I heard and felt while in Denver, I know that there are other Pioneers who have returned to their homes and communities with new friends and a renewed commitment to the work we all do to change the culture of aging.

What was it that helped to “fill the cups” of our attendees? Here’s a few things they said:

  • There were “new ideas presented and the hope it gives for the future by seeing so many persons devoted to the movement”;
  • A “Fantastic variety of sessions which truly provided almost too much ‘good stuff’ “;

the “many good conversations (that) the conference created a platform for”;

  • “Learning and exposure to new ideas”; and
  • how much they “loved speaking with colleagues at the table and breaks and the wide variety of information.”

We know that learning is great — but ACTION is what we need, and so for me one of the best things about spending four days with new and old friends at the conference is knowing what comes next — what we each take away. Some attendees had very specific ideas they wanted to implement based on sessions they attended, but for many, there was just what I have always found, the lessons learned that provide that sense of renewal and refueling — a reminder that we all need to continue to be the change in our organizations and in the world.  Lessons that drive those personal calls to action like:

  • “I will work for change more steadily and with more patience and hope. I will be less prone to feelings of discouragement”;
  • “Change the way we work with caregivers. we are good employers, but we could always be better. I would like to be more attentive to them”;
  • “Connect more with the contacts I made”;
  • “Keep my head high through times of significant challenges and non-believers”;
  • “Start employee conversation time”;
  • “Drill into my head and the head of my coworkers… It is a journey and not a destination!!!”; and
  • “Trust my voice more and use it more.”

So whether you were able to join us in Denver last week or you were busy at work back at your community with residents and staff, how do we keep the fire alive?

You can sign into the Pioneer Network App, either on your smart device or your computer, and download the many handouts or “take-aways” that presenters shared.

Check out the recorded sessions from the conference, as well as two conference sessions that were recorded as webinars prior to the conference. They will be posted on the Pioneer Network website within the next few days — free to view!

Stay connected through the weekly newsletter and the Pioneer Network website, where the staff and board of Pioneer Network will be sharing information on new and exciting initiatives that will be coming your way in the next year.

The team at Pioneer Network hope that in some way, each of you has experienced what one attendee shared with us about her conference experiences — that through the connection with other Pioneers, she was “Feeling the soul of Pioneer Network.”

There are so many ways that we can continue to “fill our cup.”  Attending the annual conference; participating in learning opportunities offered by Pioneer Network, your state culture change coalition or the many incredible culture change organizations and  consultants that are available to help;  reading one of the many great books available at the Pioneer Network bookstore; or through continued networking with fellow Pioneers.

So tell us — how will you be “filling your cup”?

5 comments on “Taking Time to Fill Your Cup

  1. Susan Ostrowski on

    Thank you, Joan, for this inspiring synopsis. I agree with Wayne: articulating what change means is critical and this conference helped me in that way.
    See you all in Louisville!

  2. Susan Misiorski on

    Thank you Joan and the Pioneer Network team for your fabulous leadership at this conference. And thank you Joan for naming me as “a hero of the movement”–what an honor–and that certainly fills my cup!! It’s a joy to collaborate with like-hearted people who share values and mission. I felt a strong sense of community at this conference, and met new people who shared excellent ideas that I’m eager to try out (thank you Angie McAllister!). Being with you and fellow Pioneers not only filled my cup, but also my heart! I’m looking forward to Louisville!!

  3. Wayne Langley on

    Thanks for encouraging ACTION Joan! That’s how we will all leave a legacy – to take what we learn, craft a plan and execute. For us, we’re going to pay closer attention to how we market the work you all do. The conference was a terrific reminder for us as marketers to articulate the story of change with greater clarity while keeping in mind the evolving consumer expectations.

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