You are Our Future: We Need Your Advice

Conversations with Katie | March 31, 2020

“Where New York is today, you will be in 3-4 weeks. We are your future, and what we do here will chart the course for what you do in your city and in your community.”

We’re not likely to forget this powerful statement, made by Andrew Cuomo on March 24. The New York governor was referring to what’s become known as the “rolling apex” of COVID-19 cases spreading in distinct waves across the country.

The rolling apex is creating a palpable sense of dread in states waiting for their inevitable spike in COVID-19 cases. But there’s also a very small glimmer of hope: as the virus spreads geographically, so do the lessons that early hotspots can teach us about battling this scourge.

This mixture of dread and hope was evident this week when a LeadingAge member shared an ominous prediction with me: she believes her organization is probably about 2 or 3 weeks away from facing the onslaught of COVID-19 cases that LeadingAge members in other parts of the country are now experiencing.

She had 2 important questions:

“What 2 or 3 things should I do to prepare?”

“What do other members wish they had done differently?”

The first question was relatively easy to answer.

I pointed the member to our growing collection of member ideas and inspiration, which now includes 25 stories about how other LeadingAge members are deploying innovative solutions to address COVID-19 challenges in such areas as workforce, communications, and meals.

I also sent her links to the myriad resources LeadingAge has assembled on our main coronavirus page. I urged her to read our daily COVID-19 email updates, register for our daily calls, and tap into peer support through our Member Community COVID-19 group.

The member’s second question was much harder to answer. That’s why I’m passing it on to you:

What do you wish you had done differently? As organizational leaders, what have you learned from inevitable mishaps and mistakes?

I know you are busy responding to this unprecedented health emergency—and likely too busy to reflect on how that response is going. If reflection isn’t possible right now, please tuck this question away somewhere and come back to it when you can.

But if you have thoughts to share—even if they amount to only an ounce of advice—I hope you will send them to me at ksloan@leadingage.org.

Even an ounce of advice could save lives.

Thank you for all you are doing on the front lines of this devastating pandemic. Let us know how we can help you.