None of us have gotten where we are today without the help of someone else. Yesterday I got to work again with a very special person in my life for the first time in a long time, and it took me back to where it all started. I want to pay tribute today to Julie Boone-Roth, one of the world’s best Marketing Directors.
When Being My Mom’s Mom was published in February of 2013, I immediately started to look for events I could attend to market and sell my book. I found one that sounded interesting and signed up to be a vendor. It was called The Active Aging Expo and was held on May 6, 2013 in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was a great event with speakers and exercise demonstrations as well as a huge hall of vendors catering to seniors wanting to remain healthy and active in their later years.
As it turned out however, it wasn’t the best venue to sell a book about dementia. I sold only a few books and with about an hour to go in the event, I looked across the aisle from my table and saw a very friendly-looking woman from a place called Arden Courts (owned by HCR Manor Care), which I knew nothing about. I walked over to her table and gave her a book, because it would be one less book to carry back home. She explained that Arden Courts was a memory care community and gave me several brochures. I signed my book for her and asked if she ever had speakers to come to her facility and she said YES. I could never have imagined what that YES would eventually lead me to. She called me a few days later to say that my book had her in tears. We decided on a date for the fall to speak at her community. Tim went with me of course and Julie just loved him! She emailed me later that Tim and I made the perfect couple, and how right she was.
Prior to my speaking at her community in November of 2013, Julie asked me to mail 10 copies of my book to a group for review and determination if it was suitable to be placed in the “warehouse” for Arden Courts communities to purchase for their clients and customers. In early January of 2014, Julie informed me that my book had been “accepted”!! I had no idea how big of a deal that was at the time until the first order placed was for 500 books! Julie and I did a virtual “happy dance” via email and were both so excited.
She informed me that various communities would begin to call and schedule me to speak at their location. That happened almost instantly and I began working with Kelly Lippincott, the Marketing Communications Manager for HCR-ManorCare who did all of the Arden Courts scheduling for me. I gave dozens of presentations for Arden Courts and according to what I was told, I got better and better as time went on. I poured myself into my dementia research and used much of it along with my humor in each presentation.
A few Managers and Directors I had met or communicated with at Arden Courts moved on to promotions at other memory care facilities and I began working with Pat O’Connor at Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. and Amy DePreker at Artis Senior Living. Between Kelly, Pat and Amy, I’ve given more than 140 presentations in memory care facilities to professional staff and family caregivers. Many people who attended these events later contracted with me for some of the most significant keynote addresses I’ve given to date. ALL of these opportunities lead right back to Julie. Through my connection with her, and all of the work it led to, I’ve discerned that this is absolutely the work I am supposed to be doing.
When I saw Julie yesterday at an Arden Courts event she planned and held at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Center we hugged like we literally have known each other our entire lives, as opposed to the relatively short period of 5 years. Yesterday reminded me of how much Julie means to me because she without a doubt is the primary reason I’ve been able to financially care for my Mom in the manner that she deserves. Seeing her again also reminded me of beautiful note she sent me after hearing of Tim’s death. She is simply one of the kindest people on this earth. Pat and Amy also fall into the category of “very special people” who are a joy to be around. I guess it takes really special people to work with our elders, especially those in memory care. I don’t take for granted for one minute all of the opportunities that have been given to me since Being My Mom’s Mom was published so I wanted to take a few minutes just to say thank you to Kelly, Pat and Amy for all they’ve brought to my life!!
And a very special THANK YOU to Julie-Boone Roth for seeing something special in me back in 2013 and pushing me forward. Love you Julie and so grateful for the huge difference you’ve made in my life!!