The thing about SAGE members...

Thursday, September 01, 2016 2:49 PM | Lori Bridgeman (Administrator)

Guest Blogger

Jonathan Blackwood

Communications Director


SAGE Board Member

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, I thought back on how I had spent my summer. Living in Austin, this usually revolves around trying to keep cool; there was some of that, but this year, it was more about keeping dry. Coming off a six-year drought, I can’t complain.

One of the highlights for me, though, was spending Bastille Day in Arlington, Virginia with some of my fellow SAGE members (Russell McLaughlin, Maria Lopez, Lori Hiatt and CC Andrews) as a reviewer for the 2017 Environments for Aging Conference. We spent the day sifting through almost 90 proposals for the 40-odd speaking slots at the conference to be held in Las Vegas, February 26 – March 1, 2017. Actually, we had received the proposals in advance; without prescreening, we would never have gotten through the process in one day.

The thing I love about getting together with fellow SAGE members is that we each bring with us a love of seniors and the desire to improve their lives by improving their environments. But in that group of the five of us was Russ, an architect; Maria, an interior designer; Lori, a gerontologist; CC Andrews, a branding/positioning expert for healthcare; and me, communications director for an interior design firm. (Mitch Elliott, our SAGE President, previewed the proposals and provided his input, but was unable to attend the meeting.)

Together with representatives from the AIA, ASID, IIDA, The Center, and others, we perused the proposals that were offered for topics ranging from food service to memory care, lighting to finishes, products to post-occupancy evaluation, and even designing for Inuit elders. We began the meeting reviewing the results of participant feedback from the 2016 EFA Conference in Austin. Armed with this knowledge, I believe we were able to recognize the topics our attendees would be most interested in, as well as speakers who consistently engage their participants and provide useful information. We also selected a number of speakers with excellent credentials who would be presenting at EFA for the first time, on engaging topics of interest. Getting passionate people together from all these different points of view made for an engaging and productive day.

Jen Wilcox of the Center for Health Design ran the meeting and kept us focused and on schedule, and Kristin Zeit, Editor-in-Chief of Environments for Aging Magazine, provided valuable insight as someone with her hand on topics that are timely and of interest to the EFA Conference attendees. All-in-all, it was a productive, enlightening and fun day. I enjoyed meeting all the participants.

Before the next EFA conference, of course, will be the LeadingAge Conference in Indianapolis, October 30 through November 2. SAGE will play a major role in this conference, as well, holding our annual meeting on November 1 followed up by a reception at Claddagh Irish Pub. You’ll want to be sure and join us for the festivities. At a gathering of SAGE members from different disciplines and different regions, you’re bound to find people you’ll want to meet and share ideas with.

A note from Mitch Elliott, SAGE President: As I prepared for my eighth installation of this presidential blog, I thought you needed a break from my perspective.  It has been a long summer and you need some variety.  You need to hear from others who are just as passionate and more articulate in driving our mission forward.  I'm sure you enjoyed hearing from one of our board members, Jonathan Blackwood, as he shared insights from a recent SAGE experience.  Thank you, Jonathan, for joining me in being one of many passionate and articulate voices for SAGE!

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