A Message from Mary Kemper, President & CEO

Happy New Year! At the start of this new year, as I headed to the grocery store, I parked at the far end of the parking lot.

Why? Like many of you, I set my sights higher this year. I adjusted my Fitbit settings and moved my personal and professional goals upward. This trek across the parking lot was my first step.

Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, maintains that one way to thrive and live longer is to “Inconvenience yourself.” In other words, stretch yourself, move beyond your comfort zone, and don’t always take the easy path.

That’s the exciting part of a new year. And, in this case, a whole new decade. It’s not just a fresh start, but also a chance to set bigger goals and try novel approaches.

We must do the same for our organizations. In 2020, with the pace of change in health and welfare ministries, we must continually move beyond comfortable and secure. Not just to grow our expertise, but to achieve greater results.

This year’s UMA Annual Meeting theme, “REACH,” is all about stretching yourself, your organization and your impact. It’s about finding new ways to innovate. It’s about reaching across the table to partner with others. We must strive to learn new skills, build relationships and gain different perspective. We must push past what we think is possible.

United Methodist Church leaders are trying to do just that. On Jan. 3, a 16-member group of United Methodist bishops and other leaders announced a proposal to preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing for a new traditionalist-minded denomination. According to the UMC news, walking into the mediation, most did not think it was possible for all to agree.

“Peacemaking is hard work,” said the Rev. Tom Berlin, reported the UMC news. “The real story is the mediation process allowed us to gain the necessary muscle tone to work toward resolution rather than work toward conflict.”

Relationships are key. Both personally and professionally, they can challenge us to stretch ourselves to be our best.

This is the vision for Albright Care Services and Asbury who announced last week that Albright is joining the Asbury organization. As like-minded not-for-profit, faith-based organizations, that share a similar mission and set of core values, they saw a partnership that could help them achieve their goals faster and better.

 “By adding Albright’s innovative service lines to our own, we will be stronger together, said Doug Leidig, President & CEO of Asbury Communities. “Albright will be a valuable partner in our journey to redefine the expectations of aging and, together, continue to transform the way society views aging.”

To grow as an individuals and organizations, we must continue to explore new possibilities. Be curious. Consider what’s possible. And sometimes, that means coming at situations differently to avoid rote thinking.

Acclaimed global futurist and author Jack Uldrich challenges us to “unlearn” or question our usual way of thinking to excel.

For the start of this new year, my wish for you and your organizations is that you aim high and realize what is truly possible – particularly together.

What are you reaching for this year?