Alum named to national board for LGBTQ services and advocacy
Ian Brown, VP of organizational development at Baltimore-based Erickson Living (MS in Organizational Development ’99 and Graduate Certificate in Senior Housing and Care ‘04), was named to the national board of directors at SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ elders.
“SAGE is delighted to have Ian join our Board of Directors. His wealth of experience and expertise are tremendous assets to SAGE as we carry out our mission in these important times,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams.
For Brown, he hopes his board service will be a continuation of his work advocating for dignity in LGBTQ elder care.
“In a lot of eldercare communities, the LGBTQ population often feels that they can’t be themselves,” Brown said. “I want them to be able to find discovery in who they are and know they don’t have to be invisible. We’ve created an environment at Erickson Living where they can be their truest selves and be treated with the highest level of dignity and respect. Through the SAGE board role, I am able to share the many successes we’ve had at Erickson in creating a culture of belonging for all our residents, including those who are LGBTQ.”
Erickson Living, a national developer and operator of campus-style continuing care retirement communities, and National Senior Campuses, the largest independent board of continuing care retirement communities in the nation, each donated $10,000 to SAGE in recognition of Brown’s new role.
“You can have significant impact helping people live better lives, no matter their background, all while making a living yourself. You can do good while building a successful business.”
Ian Brown, VP of organizational development at Baltimore-based Erickson Living (MS in Organizational Development ’99 and Graduate Certificate in Senior Housing and Care ‘04)
Passionate about LGBTQ elder care
Brown says his passion for LGBTQ elder care comes from a combination of his admiration for the elderly and his own experiences. And as an immigrant born in Jamaica, being African American, and a gay man, Brown says his broad perspectives help him better serve an often undervalued community.
“One day when I get to the age that I’m selecting a community for my husband and me, I want to know that we will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. But I don’t want to wait until then. Through my work with Erickson Living, National Senior Campuses, SAGE, and the larger senior living field, I want people to be able to have that dignity and respect now, as they live their lives,” Brown said. “It’s a fact now that there are many LGBTQ people living in retirement communities across the country, and that number will grow significantly.”
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The business of LGBTQ care
As passionate as Brown is about LGBTQ elder care, he notes the growing senior living industry is also exciting for the business opportunities it brings. More senior living organizations are focusing increased attention on the needs of LGBTQ elders.
There are good reasons that this is happening. A report by the Williams Institute at UCLA indicates that the population of LGBTQ elders will double by 2030. As the LGBTQ population demographic grows, senior housing and care operators – whether continuing care retirement communities, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, or other options – will need to develop policies that state every resident must be treated with respect and dignity. But not only that, they must have the behavioral practices that support the policies.
“There is an opportunity for folks who are in business and for recent business school graduates to see senior living as a robust career path,” Brown said. “You can have significant impact helping people live better lives, no matter their background, all while making a living yourself. You can do good while building a successful business.”
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Providing support for LGBTQ elders
Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ elders and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare.
The leaders of both Erickson Living and National Senior Campuses are united in their support of SAGE’s mission and honored Brown’s board service with their $10,000 donations.
“We’re honored to make this contribution in Ian’s name,” said Michelle Bohreer, National Senior Campuses Chairperson. “One of the cornerstones of NSC’s mission is inclusion and belonging, and we are delighted to support Ian and SAGE in our mutual commitment to LGBT seniors.”
“Ian has made important contributions within our organization,” said Erickson Living CEO Alan Butler. “And we are confident that he will continue to have a positive impact in his new role with SAGE.”