March 2, 2021
Through the brutal realities of the pandemic, it’s a delight to have something to celebrate. For iN2L, we’re celebrating Communities That Shine! Nothing beats a chance to provide smiles and encouragement to the hard-working, dedicated professionals in senior living.
The entire iN2L team is proud that our engagement solutions bring joy to so many elders in nearly 4,000 communities. However, we have learned since our inception in 1999 that iN2L technology only makes a difference because of the creative, devoted staff within the communities who ignite the iN2L magic. The Communities That Shine Awards program is a vehicle to highlight the successful teams within iN2L communities and the magnificent work they are doing.
Award Recipients Show Any Community Can Shine With iN2L
What a joy it was to see all the Communities That Shine Awards program applications that came in and the stories of how our technology helped to immediately address the social isolation that the pandemic brought to so many seniors. I appropriately was not a part of the selection committee, as I have made so many friends over the years at various providers that I may have been subconsciously biased. What I ultimately love about the six communities that are highlighted is their mix. Three of the communities I knew very well, and three not at all. I look at the winners that I know (Barbara Auten at Charlie’s Place, Carmen Vitton at Rehab Synergies, and Sharon D’Angio at Seashore Gardens) and am so impressed at what they have done with iN2L—not just over the last year, but over the last decade, and all in different environments. Barbara at an adult day program in Louisiana, Sharon at a life plan community in New Jersey, and Carmen overseeing multiple therapy programs throughout Texas… These three people speak to our fundamental belief that if your staff buys into iN2L, it does not matter what environment you’re in—the solution can be successful anywhere, anytime.
We Need the Power of Recognition in Senior Living
Another delightful outcome of the awards process was the video call announcement to the six finalists, which put the spotlight on the individual who led the winning team. When they joined the call, these individuals did not know that their community had been selected or that management and other team members would also be on the call. Not only did I enjoy surprising these individuals, but I also delighted in the enthusiasm management showed about their staff and the award. Whether it was multiple board members for Charlie’s Place making sure everyone was on the Zoom meeting, or Martin Klein, CEO of Seashore Gardens, joining from a WAWA parking lot, we loved seeing the executive leadership being a part of the celebration and praising their extraordinary staff.
I appreciate seeing the power of recognition in senior living. I grew up in a Silicon Valley world where the almighty dollar was the prime motivator. All that mattered was what kind of house you had, the type of car, the value of your stock options, etc. The world of senior living looks at life so differently. Virtually everyone working in the communities could make more money in other professions; yet, with tremendous humility, they pour their lives into this work because of a genuine desire to make a difference. It’s a profound shift from what I grew up with professionally. So, it’s such a delight to see how people react to being recognized, especially when the accolade is given and received with so much heart. That was the joy for iN2L in creating this program, a simple way to show our gratitude through recognition and inspire even more innovation in helping seniors live a full, meaningful life as they age. It’s like Christmas, sometimes more satisfying to give a great gift than to receive one.
We Need the Power of Your Stories at iN2L
Communities that Shine is a formal program that recognizes just a handful of communities. We love it because it is a visible and tangible way to acknowledge and share the success stories emerging from the partnership we have with communities. Over the next several months, we will highlight each of the Communities That Shine Award winners in blog posts, social media, and other communications.
This awards program, of course, is not the only way that we find out about communities’ success with iN2L systems. Our engagement technology has struck a chord with thousands of people; we can tell by the weekly stories we receive. This feedback has been one of the most rewarding parts of the iN2L journey. These stories motivate internal iN2L teams and provide insights that drive product enhancements.
It’s exciting to talk about the growth of our company over the last 21 years from a business standpoint–our revenue, number of customers, number of employees, etc. But what has always mattered most to me has been the unsolicited notes we get from a staff person, a family member, and sometimes a resident, notes that often come with a huge dose of thanks for starting the company that has allowed for so many meaningful connections.
It’s humbling to read these notes, as the implication is that we had this grandiose plan 21 years ago to build iN2L into what is has become. The truth is a different story. When Tom, Leslie, and I started the company, we had no idea what we were putting together or what direction to take. We just felt that there was no reason that older adults should be left out of the technology revolution taking place all around us. So, what happened (and I think why we have been successful) is that we listened to all of you out there, especially activity professionals and speech/OT and physical therapists, and tried to build what you were looking for to engage your residents. It wasn’t that complicated, and we’re both thrilled and humbled at what it has become.
Thanks for Taking Part in Our Journey
We are grateful to all the communities that are working tirelessly with iN2L to support residents. The Communities That Shine program just highlights a handful of organizations, but we know there are sparks of brilliance occurring across all iN2L communities. That’s why we want to thank all of you for the work you do to honor residents and bring them joy every day. Our company exists because of your sweat and tears, so you all should feel like you’ve won a piece of this recognition. Thank you, and stay safe!