Recently, a highly respected business leader asked people to take time at the close of 2020 to reflect on their priorities given all that has transpired this year. His implication was that the pandemic, the election, and all that we've collectively experienced had altered his priorities. He suggested that everyone else's should have been, too.

There is no doubt that many perspectives changed in 2020, but as I think about the priorities of LeadingAge PA and our members, this year has done more to strengthen the resolve around our priorities than to change them.

Now more than ever, we are laser-focused on providing the best care and services for older adults and working to ensure the best quality of life for those we serve, notwithstanding every challenge thrown before us. We are collaborating on best practices, sharing new ideas, and looking out for others in ways both large and small. We are coming together to fight for older adults and to enhance their lives. 

While our priorities may not have changed wholesale, it is undeniable that both the Association and its members must challenge how we set about achieving them. At our annual conference this year, I said that if we don't become our own disruption by challenging traditional practices, taking calculated risks, and seeking out new practices and opportunities, we put ourselves at increasing risk. As the pandemic has drawn on, the need to do so has become increasingly evident.

The challenges we face immediately and as we look to the future are significant. Overcoming them to achieve our missions will take resolve, passion, commitment, and creativity - and LeadingAge PA members have demonstrated each of these in spades in 2020. We will need to be open to new approaches, question  our norms, and taking strides that may have been too far outside of our comfort zones to attempt in the past. Together, we can do all of this successfully, continue to grow our collective strength and ensure the future of senior services in Pennsylvania. 

Many have said the pandemic did not create new issues in senior services, but it revealed them. In fact, this year, combined all of the concerns that we've been voicing for years and exacerbated them in a way that finally grabbed the attention of the nation. As such, this is an inflection point. We must embrace this moment and utilize it to let the world know what great organizations provide for older adults and why communities at large must come together to support them. We have to demand change from the status quo and keep our voices loud enough that we are heard long after 2020 and the pandemic are behind us.

We seek to do just that as we turn the page to 2021 with a newly approved set of Strategic Priorities for LeadingAge PA in 2021-22: Inspiring Member Evolution, Workforce Enhancements, Growth and Collaboration, and COVID-19 Recovery. These priorities are informed by 2020 and tested by thorough debate and discussion. They reflect not a sea of change in what our Association is and does, but of achieving our desired ends more aggressively, more collaboratively, and more vocally.

Each of the four priorities are intertwined with daily, ongoing, diligent work on advocacy and enhancement of the perception of senior services that are more critical today than ever before. Each of them will require your Association's team to work together and with members on every level. We look forward to that opportunity, whether it's virtual, or hopefully soon, in person.

If I had to pick the word I used most in 2020, it wouldn't be profanity--though I would understand if that was your guess. In fact, it was "inspired." In more conversations, testimony, interviews, and writings than I can count, I have said our members have inspired me in 2020. That continues to be true.

From the front lines to the front office, the courage, dedication, and perseverance that you have shown has been a profile in heroism. All who advocate and work for and with our members are lucky to do so. The inspiration that you instill in us drives LeadingAge PA into 2021 with incredible momentum. Together, we will continue to live out our missions and advance the evolving continuum of aging services in Pennsylvania.