Members | October 12, 2021 | by Carol Silver Elliot

LeadingAge Board Chair, Carol Silver Elliott, offers this message to members about gathering together in Atlanta for the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO.

In just over a week I will be getting on a plane and heading to Atlanta for LeadingAge’s 2021 Annual Meeting. It is bittersweet for me as my role as chair of the LeadingAge board is coming to an end. Yes, I am officially in place until the end of the calendar year but the ceremonial “handoff” and installation of the new chair will take place while we are gathered in Atlanta.


I am thrilled beyond measure to think that we will, once again, be gathering in person. It has been a lifetime since San Diego in 2019 and I truly believe that the only people who can ever fully understand what we have lived through are those who have lived through it as well—our colleagues. No one working outside our field can comprehend the stress, anxiety, fear and grief we have survived. No one working outside our field can truly comprehend this war we have been waging, non-stop, since COVID entered our lives.


Unlike 20 long months ago, this virus is no longer such a mystery to us. While it is not yet behind us, we are far further ahead than we have been. We know how to manage cases, we have the ability and resources to conduct testing, we have a full supply of the PPE we need and, thankfully, most of our staff and elders have been fully vaccinated. While we cannot speak of COVID in the past tense yet, we are in a very different place than we were during the dark days of 2020. It is time for us to be together again, time for us to mourn our losses and celebrate our victories, time for us to gather the energy we need to move strongly forward.


Through this “COVID era (as I am wont to call it),” I have been inspired by our LeadingAge members. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of many events with our members from all over the country—that is the silver lining of a world that had to become virtual—and each time I have come away awed and overwhelmed. Our members never lost the fight and never lost the hope. Without exception, each of them—each of you—remained fully committed to the elders we serve, to keeping them safe and well and in ensuring their quality of life.


I look forward to being with many of you in Atlanta, to sharing those hugs and—without question—sharing a few tears. We are strong, we have survived and we will endure. I am proud to have the opportunity to work with each and every one of you.