Presbyterian Village of Michigan’s Roger Myers shares perspectives from his experiences at three mission-driven organizations with a collective 327 years of service to older adults.
I appreciate this opportunity to share these reflections in conjunction with receiving the 2023 LeadingAge Award of Honor. Having known many of the recipients of the LeadingAge Award of Honor during the past 45 years, it is humbling to be included in their esteemed company. I am also grateful to the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) board of directors for submitting the nomination.
Leadership, to me, is a continuing journey, with no end in sight. Throughout my career, many organizations and people have provided valuable support and guidance, helping to shape my approach.
One of these people was Edgar G. Kilby, the long-time president and CEO of Masonicare in Connecticut, who I met early in my career, when I was executive director at the Michigan Masonic Home. Ed was dynamic, innovative, bold, and action-oriented, but also inspiring, encouraging and nurturing to others. He served as president of the American Association of Homes for the Aging (AAHA), which later became AAHSA and, in 2011, LeadingAge.
Ed’s advice to nonprofit leaders, written in his epilogue to The First 25 Years, a history of AAHA, still rings true, more than 37 years after its publication in 1986: “Times are changing; the environment of tomorrow will not be the one we know today or took comfort from yesterday. But our values are worth keeping. They must not change. We must do all that is necessary to remain Communities that Care.”
It’s not always easy to do. Over my three-plus decades at PVM, I’ve found strength, wisdom and support from Ed and others—including my connections at LeadingAge national and state associations—who’ve been instrumental in helping me achieve our organization’s goals as a community that cares.
So, in the spirit of “paying it forward,” I’ll offer to you some of my leadership perspectives for consideration in your own leadership journeys:
Live your mission, vision, beliefs, and values
Be a lifelong learner; observe, listen, read, and contribute
Be authentic and accountable
Build diverse professional networks
Foster and encourage maximum board engagement
Have a passion for advocacy
Have a predisposition for action
Be comfortable in proceeding with incomplete information
Be persistent and flexible
Have relentless positivity and optimism
“See” through a lens of plenty, not scarcity
Partner and collaborate wherever possible
Share power, control, risks, and rewards
Develop broad and diverse community relationships
Balance the mission and economic return equation
Strive for innovation, creativity, and curiosity
Learn from mistakes and move on
Cultivate and support the next generation of leaders