The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Sodo was interviewed by Senior Housing News to talk about her career trajectory and the ways she sees the industry evolving, including the need for reimagined living environments within senior living communities nationwide.
What drew you to this industry?
My family’s experience with dementia drew me to senior living design. When I was in architecture school, my grandma moved into a life plan community and eventually into their dementia wing. I saw the anxiety and guilt my mom experienced placing my grandma somewhere she did not want to be but clearly needed to be.
The community our family chose for my grandma was nicely appointed and had caring employees, but I remember having to ask permission to take her into a completely enclosed garden courtyard when I visited. Yet when I brought her outside, instead of looking down forlornly as she shifted uncomfortably in her wheelchair, I noticed her mood improve and her eyes start to wander as she could feel the warmth of the sun, hear the birds, and watch the flowers and trees sway in the breeze. That was a really powerful moment for me, and I wanted to help more older adults regardless of their physical or cognitive decline have full life experiences through thoughtful design of their environments.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
Find partners you trust and build meaningful relationships with them. I am an architect, but I have clients, consultants, and colleagues in senior living who I consider great allies, resources, and even friends. Work is more rewarding when you like the people you work with, both in and outside the office. When I started my career, I was self-conscious of asking for too much time or information from anyone outside of traditional project settings, but I’ve found that many people in the industry are eager to share their expertise and passion.
Senior Housing News