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The Brighter Side of Branding – Pam Cummings, Active Day

January 2, 2019

Pam Cummings Director of Marketing & Operations (and etc.) at Active Day, joins us today on the Real-World Branding Podcast. Pam shares her experience, discusses health care trends, and details how transforming the brand has taken Active Day to the next level. If you like our podcast, please subscribe and leave us a rating!

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Bill Gullan: Greetings one and all. This is Real World Branding. I’m Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands, a premier, boutique brand consultancy. Thank you for joining us. Today’s guest is Pam Cummings. Pam is the Corporate Director of Marketing and Operations at Active Day. She has a fascinating career to talk to us about and also a really interesting business. Given the aging of the US population, many concepts have sprung up to help serve seniors and care givers and others. Active Day is a leader in what they call “Adult Day Healthcare”, which is a concept that’s designed to … It’s not just for seniors, but those who are facing intellectual and developmental disabilities as well, and to help them stay in their homes. The trends sort of change over time as to the principles for how to care for populations like this, and adult day healthcare is a way of helping support caregivers and seniors to remain their independence, to find joy in social life, but also receive the care that they need day in and day out. Pam will talk through that.

Bill: Like many of our guests, she’s come at this starting with some degree of passion for a population or an industry or sort of a workflow within one’s life. As she rose in both functional responsibility but also visibility, she’s responsible for so many things and does so many things at Active Day, which she’ll walk through. Cool brand. Cool company. Great person. Enjoy Pam Cummings.

Bill: We are here with Pam Cummings who’s the Corporate Director of Marketing and Operations, or as she may be known around here, the Head of Etc. or whatever. All the different things that a growing business needs to do. Thank you for your time.

Pam Cummings: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Bill: Thanks for hosting us as well, and we had a chance to talk a little bit about all the things that are happening here at Active Day. Why don’t we start, before we get into the current, sort of the state of the brand and some of the major topics on your agenda, with a little bit of your own back story. Could you tell us a little bit about the journey to where we are today and maybe some of the major milestones, what you set out to do with your career. What you fell in love with. How this all happened?

Pam: Sure. I’ve actually always worked with seniors in some capacity or other, and that even started out from high school. When there were community involvement projects to do, I always wound up at senior center or the nursing home or places like that. I just always gravitated toward the older population. After college, I actually went to a program, a counseling psychology master’s program, but with a specialty in geriatric counseling. Then I started out as a Medicaid case manager keeping folks at home and out of nursing homes. You got a certain percentage of the budget to do that. Really being in the field and seeing the issues with the caregivers and the families and everything, and working through those and providing the right services so people stayed happy and healthy at home.

Pam: From there, really transitioned to a more psychiatric setting, which was interesting. That really became my bridge to my first job as an admissions director in a nursing home, which I thought at the time might be boring, but my thought was, “Oh, I’ll be an administrator of a nursing home, and I’ll start in admission. I’ll learn my way around and make myself valuable and be an administrator in training, an AIT program.” Three months in, there’s no way. Administrator is one of the hardest … There’s a lot going on. It was like, “That is not for me,” but what I really liked and what I became good at is … The nursing home business was really about short-term rehab, which is actually very competitive. We have to have great quality of care, and there’s a lot of places vying for these patients to come for rehab.

Pam: Really, the transition from my counseling to this more of a sales role essentially was really more about relationship building and having people come and tour and sit with me, and talk to me about what they needed. I would connect them with what we had that met their needs and really help them through the process of their health insurance and things like that. Really, from that, I went more down the path of sales and marketing role and really was involved with a lot of companies that were in growth mode. They were really focused on quality of care, but how to do that in an innovative sort of way, and how to partner with folks along the continuum so we could be part of that group that’s driving care outcomes and how to do it the best, most cost-efficient way. Then these companies would grow, and we would sell.

Pam: A big part of that, what I found was successful from the marketing side, was the brand. We did a lot of signature programs. Whether it was a clinical program or just a brand of a network, whatever it was, people gravitate towards that. I think they understand that, so I think I was able to take the what I’d learned from the sales part of getting people attracted and into our buildings, yet at the same time utilizing a brand to get outcome information out there and developing just that name recognition and reputation. Use that for higher level relationships.

Pam: Then, you keep doing that, and eventually what’s interesting is during my master’s program, I did my internship at an adult daycare in the early 1990s. I went in, and I did reminiscence groups with the residents. I worked with a couple families whose parents had moved home because of that and were coming to the daycare as part of that, and helping them with that transition. They were very kind to take a 23 year old newbie who looked 15 and allow them to discuss their family issues. I kind of had that early adult day experience before. I never really have seen any other adult days. This is part of a hospital. Really being part of this residential, more skilled clinically focused path the rest of my career, wound up looking for that next opportunity after a sale. Noticed an ad for a company called “Senior Care Centers of America/Active Day” for this Corporate Director of Operations. Then I saw another one there, a new position. Then I saw another new position for business development there as well. There was another position too. I forget the name of that. I’m like, “They must be growing.”

Pam: I actually found someone who knew the Director of Business Development here, and explained to me about the company. They were totally in growth mode and what they were doing here. Really just really the only large company in the adult day care space. I said, “That’s where I want to be,” because knowing the trends out there and how people want to be at home. There’s the seniors right now who are getting older and needing help and support. Home and community based services is where it’s at. I said, “This is where I need to get to next.” I essentially clawed my way in here.

Bill: There you go. There you go. Well, you’ve been persistent the whole way through your career. You started like so many of our guests do, which is you sort of fell in love with the work. You love to work with seniors, and you got the master’s in counseling. You later went back and got your … A dual master degree guest here. You got your business degree. You talked a little bit about it, but we’ll get into Active Day deeply in a minute. As you transitioned from … I guess these lines aren’t as thick, given what was required in centers. The business side of this, the marketing side of this, was there a time when that bug bit you, and you sort of knew, “I love the work, but I can do the most purposeful work by helping these organizations grow and perfect their models”? What was it about marketing or sales or sort of the business side of this that led you down that path?

Pam: Sure. I think I was very fortunate to work with great companies who were really cross-functional teams. Especially, I was out in the field all the time. This is actually you’re in my office right now. This is the first time I’ve had an office in 15 years. My office was my car, the hotel room, maybe a Friday at home. Being on site all the time, if you’re it if something happens, you want to be there to help solve for the problem. For the team in the field, for the eventually the patients that we’re helping, you want to be on site, and you learn that way. Any time there was an issue, we got on board as a cross-functional team. “How does this affect everyone? How can we all contribute to solving this problem?” Even though my titles were sales and marketing, really a little bit in the finance, but really operationally you just have to know, because also, as you want to grow your programming and you see the need out there, you have to be able to execute it operationally in a great quality way.

Pam: You have to be involved in that, because you can’t just have a good logo and a brand and throw it out there, and say, “This is great.” You’ll attract people, but if you’re not fulfilling your promise of what you need to do or quality outcomes you’re going to get, what’s the point? Might be a little bit controlling, but I really held onto that all the way through the end, all the way through to the outcomes, to make sure were there different points along the way that we can improve to make sure I can get my patients in through the door, and I can continue to get those referrals flowing through. It’s partly it was just you had to do it because you had to make sure that would help make me successful. It was also just nice knowing what that whole continuum was so I can speak to it when I was out trying to get new partners and things into the area. Just became like survival to do it.

Bill: I can imagine. You clawed your way into the company that is now known from end to end as Active Day, at least largely. What’d you find when you got here? What were some of the major priorities? You sensed they were growing because of the postings, but tell us about Active Day.

Pam: It was really exciting to be here just learning about the company and what we do. First of all, the most exciting thing was, “Hey, we’ve got a fleet of 300 buses out there.”

Bill: That’s cool.

Pam: Who pick members up, who greet the caregivers in the morning, get our folks on the buses and to the centers every day, and then bring them back home. That transportation piece was just brand new to me and just something that was very intriguing and really just kind of like, “We’re different here in doing it that way.”

Pam: Really just talking with everyone and the new people coming on board, particularly our VP of Information Technology, of how we’re investing in the company so we could better reach the potential members out there in the community. Really, all the people who come to us, if we didn’t exist, they would likely be in an institutional setting some place.

Pam: You know what? Some people choose to be in assisted living or a long term care facility, and that’s their choice. If that’s what they want, that’s great, but there’s a large number of people who would prefer to stay in their home. We are enabling them to do that whether it’s because we’re there to support a caregiver who has to work or even people who don’t have family, you can get what you need through us and still be safe in your home. Seeing everyone here really very focused on that mission, because it was really very specific and very different than the rest of the continuum out there, but also with the advent of the new CEO seeing this vision of, “We’re just going to touch more people because we have to, but also elevating ourselves in investing in people and culture and technology so we can really drive great outcomes, so we can go to large hospital systems and payers and really prove our worth.”

Pam: I think everyone anecdotally knows that our service is a great service. It makes a lot of sense. It is much more cost-effective than having someone in a nursing home, but we don’t have the data. Everything’s about big data nowadays, and that’s something the actually industry lacks. The exciting part is that we’re actually helping to guide an entire industry, not just Active Day. We are the largest, and so we feel responsibility in that way for the industry, but we don’t just want to sit back and just have that vanity metric of just being large. We want to actually say, “Here are the standards and benchmarks that all adult day health centers should live up to, because this is the right thing to do, and this is going to drive the right outcomes to be able to be a benefit to all of our stakeholders, whether it’s the members or caregivers or hospital or payer source.”

Bill: For our listeners for whom the concept of adult day healthcare may be new, first of all how many centers approximately now?

Pam: We have 96 in 14 states.

Bill: Excellent. A lot done, and more to go. We know the growth mode is here. For adults, seniors as well as those with intellectual or development disabilities, this is a day program. Talk about just kind of model. I know there’s a home care business here, but what is adult day healthcare, and how do we deliver it here?

Pam: Sure. That’s great. One of the things is a lot of people may say adult daycare. With our brand, we say adult day health because we want to focus on we are a medical model. Not all day cares are medical models.

Bill: This is babysitting and finger painting.

Pam: There are social models. The people come to us. They either get dropped off in the morning or, again, our transportation fleet goes out and picks them up and brings them in. They are there for the day. They have access to healthcare. We have nurses on site who will do anything from a fingerstick and a check of the vitals to maybe even a feeding tube or wound care or whatever may be needed.

Bill: Whatever the needs are.

Pam: Yeah. We do a vast amount of clinical services there, but you’re not just sitting in a waiting room clinic all day. The rest of the day is really about the socialization and the activities. Even outings into the community. We want people to be able to come to us, but we also want them to be able to continue to integrate and build relationships in their local communities as well. Whether that’s going to a ball game or the zoo or just out to lunch. Even to the dollar store. Our transportation services are really key, not just in driving members back and forth to the program, but in allowing them to engage in the community at large as well. I focus on that transportation piece a lot.

Pam: You’re coming in, and we’re just … Whether you’re doing independent activities or part of a larger group with entertainment every day is different. It’s high energy. It’s a lot of fun. We have a quiet room in most centers for an area when you need a little break, but really we want you engaged and building relationships. It helps with the holistic aspect of the program that it’s just not meeting your medical needs. It’s meeting maybe your wellness and your emotional and social needs as well.

Bill: When you talk about outcomes, one can I think you say there’s a principle tour, “Let’s stay at home for as long as we can before residential life sort of changes for probably for the duration for many people.” What are some of the areas of outcome where at least, and I know we got to prove this out, but you talk about socialization. You talk about obviously the healthcare regimen. You would imagine there’s an intellectual and sort of energy and mobility to this at least we would hope is maintained and enhanced through the program?

Pam: The things we would focus on with this is, number one, in the end for people do eventually maybe need that higher level of care to go to a nursing home, that stay is much shorter. Even in the short term, less visits to the ER. We get to know our members really, really well. For the most part, we see our members five days a week. Some people may only come two or three.

Bill: There is that flexibility, right?

Pam: Exactly. Some people can come one day a week. They can come five days a week. That generally relates to your health and your family support system at home. For the most part, three to five days a week is pretty typical for folks to come to us. We get to know you really well. When we start to see small changes, like, “Wow. We served pancakes today, and Joe didn’t eat any. Joe loves pancakes. He never passes them up.”

Bill: What’s up with Joe, right?

Pam: What going on? Let’s dig a little deeper. We can call a doctor. Our nurse can call a doctor say, “This is what’s going on. Here’s some lab results. Oh, let’s tweak the meds.” You avoid a trip to the doctor. Even later on, if you let it go, which some people do because transportation is an issue, is that you avoid a trip to a hospital and the ER. Maybe even hospitalization overall, because a lot of it is, with chronic illnesses, it’s monitoring. A lot of our folks have difficulty getting out to the doctor, so they don’t get to the doctor. They wait until it’s emergent. Then you wind up, again, in the ER and hospital stay, which can be avoided if someone could just keep an eye on you a little bit closer.

Pam: I think it’s a little bit different than home care in that we have an RN on site every day. Whereas you may have home care services, but it’s generally a certified nursing assistant who may not be as clued in to the changes that you can do or certainly doesn’t have the professional license to be able to make that call to the doctor to do this. She’ll have to call her nurse. When could the nurse make it in to do a visit? That may be a day or two days. Sometimes that’s quick but maybe not fast enough where can really act on things on the spot, make a change, and then monitor afterwards to make sure that’s okay.

Pam: One of the main reasons that people wind up in the hospital or get readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, which is a big kind of thing out there with the hospitals, is medications mismanagement. People don’t really understand their discharge plan medications or that those changes that a doctor may make, but who monitors them afterwards to make sure that’s okay? Just we’re there to do that. We can catch things early, and, again, avoid a lot of these other more costly services down the line.

Bill: Makes sense, and it’s very powerful. Obviously the level of comfort and peace of mind that a caregiver gets from this would probably be a fairly significant thing.

Pam: Yes. Then the things that are little less tangible to do. Hey, you’re walking to the bus and getting on the bus. You’re getting out and moving even if you’re in some sort of assistive chair or things like that. You’re getting out. You’re moving around. You’re seeing other people. There’s just that … You’re not sedentary with us. Even if it’s just you’re coming in, and you’re sitting, and you’re eating with people, and things like that, there’s something to that. We offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy on site too. We can help with some restorative therapy and making sure people who can get up and walk a little bit each day. That use it or lose it type of thing, we’re making sure that you use it.

Pam: Maybe that’s because we’re dancing. It’s not always a regimented, “Okay, now we have to walk 15 steps.” “Hey, it’s exercise time.” You know what? I’ve got a center, at the end of every exercise session, they’re learning a different line dance each month. They get up and they do the line, and they’re having a great time and dancing and having fun, not realizing they’re exercising and they’re moving. It’s good for their wellness.

Bill: That’s fun. You enter here with a wide role and responsibility in a growing company. We know there’s an investor of note whose model is to have a platform investment in a category that becomes a leader or is a leader and add on aggressively thereafter. Growth is coming. There’s a decision made at some point that you really need to look at the brand. Could you talk about why and how and what, and sort of the thinking about … You alluded to the power of brands just in the category as a whole, but Active Day specifically, why was that the right project at the right time?

Pam: It was interesting. Senior Care Centers of America was really the parent company, and they bought Active Day in 2011. Of all the centers they had at that time, the companies were separate. They were not in any of the same states. At the time, they were like, “Well, even though Senior Care Centers was smaller than Active Day, why should we change our name because we acquired them?” They kind of pushed off the decision.

Pam: They’re like, “Yeah, we’ll make a decision in a little while.” Well, seven years later, still sitting around and realizing that, “You know what? The Senior Care name actually wasn’t really as relevant any more because a good portion of our members, as you mentioned, are adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.” The Active Day name just made more sense. When I came on board …

Pam: I noticed it in the job posting and everything else, and I didn’t really get into in the interview, not wanting to maybe pull a string that would maybe not get me the job. I was just kind of like, “I wonder why there’s two names?” First day in … By the way, my position was Corporate Director of Operations, but my card the first day said Corporate Director of Marketing and Operations.

Bill: You got promoted before you even came. Congratulations.

Pam: Exactly. Throughout the interview process and everything, and knowing my background, they were like, “You know what? We have been kicking this around for a while, and we really wanted to just go with the one name. You’ve done marketing, so why don’t you go ahead and take this on too? Just get us a new logo, and we’ll be done and good.”

Pam: The decision to go to just the one name, Active Day, made a lot of sense, because you know Active Day is a great name.

Bill: Yeah, it is.

Pam: When you’re in the industry where a lot of people don’t know about you, don’t make it hard on people. Say what you are, and we are an active day. That’s what we do. The previous look and the feel of the logo, we affectionately refer to as the Star Trek logo.

Bill: Yes. It had a shield. Sort of intergalactic shield sort of quality to it.

Pam: Exactly. Apparently, it was supposed to be a flying A. I didn’t see the movement, but all right.

Bill: Abstract.

Pam: I guess you could see it. It was very sedate. It that dark blue. It was a gold. It was very traditional looking. Its font was very upright citizen type of thing. It didn’t, to me, connect with what we did. I’ve been out to our centers. You’ve been out to our centers.

Bill: Yeah. I have.

Pam: We are fun.

Bill: High energy places.

Pam: High energy. It didn’t match what we were actually doing out there. If you’re really trying to grow your business and really, again, not just for your own company, but to get that name out there about the industry, I think it needed to say and connect with people that that would like, “Oh. An active day. Active Day. What’s that?” We might sound like a therapy place, but you know, when you look at us, it really starts to make sense. Then also having that look that is attractive and really connects with what we’re doing every day. There was a disconnect there.

Pam: Fortunately, we were able to hook up with you guys. I like to work with [inaudible 00:22:09] people. That was great, but what I appreciated about the process in doing this was that you got what we did. Really just visiting our centers and really those first of samples of the brand and the new look and everything, it’s like, “This is absolutely where we need to go, because this is who we are and what we do.” I think everyone who sees our logo comments that it really does connect with what we’re trying to do here. It feels fun, warm, and engaging, and that’s us.

Bill: The logo for those who can’t see it or aren’t near a phone or a web device. You’ve got to be near a phone if you’re listening to this thing, presumably, unless you’re driving. Grab the wheel. It’s an A with a D that doubles as a sun and energy, and a more contemporary color storied to your point.

Bill: The tagline “Brighter side of caring”, came out of this process. Could you speak about why what’s applicable, and what that says to you, and why that made sense?

Pam: Yeah. We went through a lot of taglines, and it’s just … We were … We’re so different, and we had to get it right, because we are along the continuum of services, and this goes along the same line of why we invested in our own photography and didn’t use stock. We’re different than everything else out there, and we didn’t want to sound too retirement, because we’re not just seniors. We didn’t want to sound too cruise, because we are medical. We didn’t want to sound too … We didn’t want to double down on caring too much. We didn’t want to sound too hospice-y, because we’re about life and energy, not just, “It’s the end of the line.” Nothing like that.

Pam: To me, when you guys came up with “The brighter side of caring,” it’s like, “Yeah. That fits.” It’s joyful. We’re like the joyful side of caregiving, and we wanted to have care in there as a focus on truly it’s a medical model, but we also care about you. It’s part of our mission that we’re building fun and engaged communities based on love and trust. There’s caring in that way as well. It is really the brighter side. It’s day, so it’s a nod to that as well. It’s just I think we’re providing care in a way that’s joyful, that’s not focused on what you can’t do, but focused on what you still can do and still continuing to engage and connect. Really just hit on all the points. I think that’s valuable for family members who are looking for some sort of help. They’re usually a lot of guilt associated with that. To see our brand and our look and our site, just the photos of the folks, I think it just presents the differences between us and maybe some other lines of service that are out there that people may choose.

Bill: To your point about guilt, I think the psychological element of this was important to us within the process because if you’re a caregiver, there’s a difference between, “I need to find a place to put Mom,” and all that that makes you feel, versus, “I would never want to deprive Mom of the opportunity to dance and have that kind of day where she’s monitored, she’s loved, she’s cared for.” It was powerful.

Bill: The brand rollout obviously includes market facing way website and collateral and other things, but the internal piece of this is interesting, because we’re almost at 100 centers now. Really, where this brand is lived and delivered is, yeah, at a corporate level, but down there too. Vision, mission, values were a part of this. Could you speak about the power and import in a model like this of the internal understanding and embrace of the brand and some things?

Pam: As we had in our first phone conversation, I said, “I know brands more than logo.” Absolutely. Like I said, with Bob the new CEO coming on board and really able to engage you guys in helping us kind of evolve our vision, mission, and values, which was a great process, because we really didn’t have anything before written down. Through the course of the process, we realized we were all talking about the same thing.

Bill: We were on the same page. Right.

Pam: We just needed help with someone to kind of codify it for us and everything. In trying to grow this company and knowing that we’re not widgets. We’re not just a service line. We’re about people, and I always kind of quote Bob a lot when he says this thing. He says two things all the time. “Members are at the center of everything we do, and if we have that first and foremost in our decision making process, we’re always going to make the right decision.” The second is, “We have to focus on the people. If we get the people right, everything else will come.” With that, we said we really needed to get a clear mission and set of values for everyone at the company to be their guidebook and their guide to the journey of being in Active Day. It’s not only going to give our members a great experience if we follow these values, but it’s also going to give our employees a great employment experience.

Pam: We want to attract and retain really good people, because what we do is so important. We are the people who are like really make a huge impact on our members’ lives and our caregivers’ lives every single day. We need some good, high energy people who care and just really believe in our mission. Making sure that was kind of crystal clear was really, really important and just as important as, like you said, all those externally facing things to actually get in new business.

Pam: Again, like I said in my previous life is, it doesn’t matter what the show is up front. When you open up the box and look inside, there’s got to be some substance there. That’s really what this is about. We’ve got this great brand book that goes out to everybody. It’s got all the pictures of our members and our staff and really just the values just really show who we are and what we’re about.

Pam: We incorporate that on the website and everything else, and it’s really driving a lot of our employee recognition and things that we need to do. I have to tell you, since we’ve done this, we’re really be the team that we have, the folks who are with us, are really developing and growing as a result of this, but the new people we’re bringing on board are really … It’s just creating this energy and this synergy in the company that’s really been pretty special to witness.

Bill: That’s terrific, and we’re proud, so proud, and honored to have played even a meager role in helping bring all of these aspirations to life across the branding process. To that end, I know there’s things that are sort of quiet and secret or in development, or maybe other things that aren’t, but what can you tell us about where … We were talking about it a little bit before the microphone came on, but what are we working on now? What’s next? What do we expect? I mean, more growth I would imagine in core lines. There’s other things too, but what’s on your plate at the moment?

Pam: Absolutely. A lot of it is just investment in some internal systems. Like I said, we’ve got a great new clinical leadership department that’s out there that’s really setting new standards and benchmarking for our clinical services. We want to standardize and create some signature programs around that to see what the need is out there and how we can always better meet that need from a clinical standpoint. Like I said, the technology. Even just the ability through some internet and some other services to share best practices. It was fun to have a theme song contest for Adult Day Services Week and be able to kind of share that online and have people vote and things like that. That was good.

Pam: Then also just new centers coming on board, starting up new centers, but really looking in our local communities and seeing how can we help. What is the need? What do we need to be able to do to do that? Whether it’s expanding our transportation service division to not just transport our members, but do non-emergent medical transportation as well. There’s been some states who have asked us to do that. There’s been some payer sources who have asked us to do that, because that’s a huge need. Wherever we can kind of, as part of our brand and our mission, if we can fulfill a need that keeps someone in their home and in their community in a safe way, that’s where we’re going to gravitate towards and see how we can help. A lot of those things that are in our wheelhouse we’re doing.

Pam: We’re stretching a little bit maybe some programs for our younger adult population that may involve more of a work component as opposed to a medical and a leisure component. We think that actually dovetails nicely with our services, and that’s a good way to expand. Again, seeing a lot of need for that and for a leader to really come in and do it the right way and kind of take people who are doing it a little bit differently everywhere and decide, “What are the best practices?” Bringing aboard those people who can help guide and lead us there to figure that out so we can share.

Pam: We’re not just about keeping all this close to the vest. We talk to our competitors. We share, “This is what we’re doing to get outcome information. Why don’t you do that too?” Then there’s opportunity out there, again, to reach more people and just make sure that we are part of the conversation where people are talking about the services that they need along the continuum that may really help them out and support them in their individual goals.

Bill: Terrific. What a fascinating concept and company, group of people. We’re obviously proud of our association with Active Day and also know that this is a company on the move, and it’s going to be really fun to watch what happens next. In that spirit, Pam, as you reflect back on your own development as an executive and starting as someone who just cared about the elderly and enjoyed those interactions and rising to the level that you’ve become, are there, I don’t know, some lessons from that journey that those who’ve been inspired by your career path maybe could take? Are there words to live by that are important to you in terms of your own professional life? What are some maybe key lessons to take away from the path you’ve taken?

Pam: You know, I think it’s don’t be afraid to be first. I think it’s a little bit easier to follow someone and maybe better what’s already done before you, but I think the opportunity to be out there and be first and be an innovator and a little bit of a trail blazer is, while it’s scary, it’s really very rewarding. I think especially when you’re a group of like-minded people like that, you’re not really sure where it can take you, but it challenges you. You can see the results in what you do, which are really exciting. Sometimes you make a misstep, and that’s okay. Then you get back on a different path, but I think that’s fun because you never have all the answers.

Pam: You know, we’ve got a lot of folks out there with need and not one answer’s going to fit all. To be able to go out there and try to find the different ways to fill that need and kind of be first doing it, and then showing other people, is pretty rewarding, not just personally but professionally as well. To be able say, “Yep. We were first.”

Bill: You were on the in sort of pioneering or at least playing roles within pioneering organizations that over time I guess the best practices or core principles about how to serve senior populations. They change. Assisted living was sort of invented in some ways. Hospice was perfected. These were new movements that were designed to not only provide great care but also some dignity. Adult day healthcare is another movement. Obviously demography creates that opportunity to a certain degree. You’ve been there. A lot of these models have been invented, perfected, enhanced, whatever word we want to use. I’m sure over time, talk about some of the things that today’s working, I’m sure some of those principles will change. Trends will change. Sounds like Active Day is going to be there, and Pam’s going to be there too.

Pam: Absolutely.

Bill: Great. Thank you so much for your time and insight. This has been wonderful.

Pam: Thank you.

Bill: Many thanks to Pam for her time, for her insight. Her passion is palpable. I can certainly feel it sitting across from her, and I’m sure you can feel it through your earbuds. She is somebody who has really been there as various concepts have been pioneered to help serve populations with some challenges as well as with those caregivers who love them and care for them.

Bill: Three was, as always, to support us at Real World Branding. We greatly appreciate those of you who have taken the time … It’s not much time, but it definitely some effort and some thought, to give us a rating in the app store of your choice or the podcast store of your choice. We’re told that ratings and comments, if you leave us five stars, if you leave a little note as to why, that really helps us increase our visibility both within the iTunes podcast store as well as others that work similarly. We appreciate that. We also really appreciate the dialogue that happens between us and others who are really compelled and enjoy brand and business building. We love to talk on Twitter about ideas for guests or topics or criticisms. Our skin is thick, as noted here many times before. We love to hear how we can make this ever more valuable to those who spend a little bit of their time with us, which we are so grateful for.

Bill: Lastly, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a one, we’re on predictable rhythm here. Every other week, a new interview with what we think is a compelling person or people who are growing brands and businesses. Very far flung categories. One of the things that’s so interesting when we do these interviews is that we find there’s obviously areas of idiosyncrasy that relate to companies and categories that are just different, but then there’s a lot in common in terms of career journeys and paths and important things that have led people to approach decisions as they do. The third thing to do is subscribe. If you click that button within the podcast store of choice, you’ll make sure you don’t miss a one. We’re going to have them dropping all the way through the holiday season and into the first quarter. We’re grateful for your time.

Bill: We’ll sign off from the cradle of liberty.

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