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60/20 Tour: Sincere Gratitude, Bad Negotiating and an Angel Named Dorothy

The Neighborhoods at Quail Creek and Ravenwood & The Arbors

Thank you, Americare for such a great day!  The 60/20 tour has taken on a life of its own with singing nuns, hats, love stories and a lot of fun.  But the essence of the trip,  the whole original idea,  was a chance to simply thank our customers, especially the customers who believed in us early in the journey.  Fifteen years ago, Shelley Wisnowski from Select Rehab (one of our 60/20 sponsors) introduced me to a man named Steve Hatlestad who ran all of the nursing homes for Americare.  We were at a conference, but Steve couldn’t meet during booth time,  so I talked him into coming into my hotel room to check out our technology. Oh, the things that didn’t seem so odd then, but do now!

Steve liked the product and our mission, and he invested in iN2L across all their nursing homes. He also introduced me to the marvelous Jean Summers,  Steve’s counterpart on the AL side, who drove multiple rollouts for iN2L in her communities.  The nursing home rollout was a HUGE deal for us at the time and gave us a huge shot of confidence, financially and psychologically.  Self-doubt was creeping in about the viability of the company and my brother and co-founder Tom had just died. It was a hard, hard time.  I get a knot in my stomach just remembering those days. Thankfully they are in the rear-view mirror.

So, this party with Americare meant a lot to me,  and I couldn’t believe how well it was choreographed.  We walked into The Neighborhoods at Quail Creek to fresh popcorn popping,  residents and staff decked out in their 60/20 gear,  and a beautiful cake – wow!  And the energy of Wendy was astounding.  She had the residents enthralled as we played bingo, trivia and did singalongs.  And I was able to plant a smooch on the big bingo winner, Marilyn!

Then we set off to Ravenwood & The Arbors and had another brilliant event.   This time, Elizabeth and Jean were the phenomenal ringleaders.  It was fun (and meaningful) to get some of their residents to use our new driving simulator.  Jean negotiated a free driving simulator out of me; she always has been able to work me over!  Jean,  please don’t tell Steve.  And finally, one of my favorite things so far on the trip:  I shared birthday wishes with a resident, appropriately named Dorothy (like my Mom). We had a brief but meaningful conversation,  a reminder of the high quality of people that live in our senior living communities.  Dorothy made me feel like I was talking to my Mom; she had so much wisdom.

It was such an honor for me to be able to thank Americare, and especially Steve,  in person for believing in the magic of iN2L. It means more than a simple blog post can express.

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