Troy Cannaday is the Executive Director at The Barrington of Carmel, the new life care retirement community in Hamilton County, Indiana. He has more than 21 years of experience working in the senior living industry. Originally from Indianapolis, he received a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Gerontology from Lake Superior State University. He holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Troy is also an active member of LeadingAge, an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.
When initially approached by our PR agency about the concept of having a “Red Carpet Speaker Series” at The Barrington of Carmel, I responded with genuine excitement. At other senior living communities where I’d worked previously, we brought in speakers and hosted events with invited guests from the surrounding area.
But I must say that we never had access to speakers like the ones offered in this Red Carpet program; high profile celebrities like Fox News commentator Lt. Col. Oliver North, the renowned Conductor Laureate Maestro Raymond Leppard of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and actor, director, producer and author Henry Winkler.
The exceptional caliber of speakers—all of them seniors in their own right—made an enormous impact, and it’s been amazing to see the residents’ reactions to the program series. The Barrington has hosted these three outstanding speakers so far, and everyone has thoroughly enjoyed all of the experiences.
On each event day, there is a sense of revitalized energy and a buzz that permeates the entire campus. Residents love getting to hear from remarkable individuals and enjoy the opportunity to do so in their own home. These events also give them another reason to invite folks in and share their home with friends to enjoy such activities. The presentations touch different chords in everyone.
Our most recent presentation was by Henry Winkler, and he talked about his personal journey and overcoming dyslexia during his education. The way he emphasized the importance of encouraging kids with learning challenges and addressed necessary improvements within school systems today truly inspired many of our residents and guests, particularly the retired teachers.
As a marketing outreach, This Red Carpet Series sets the stage for what can be expected in our community and shows the way that The Barrington is raising the bar for all seniors on what they can find at a “retirement community.” It’s our way of going above and beyond to ensure older adults stay engaged as they age. When very important people visit your senior community—every resident feels more important as well. That keeps them upbeat and builds self-esteem.
We all know in our current society and culture, seniors are often overlooked and can be marginalized. Bringing in such charismatic and stimulating speakers to discuss timely issues and relevant topics through this Red Carpet Speaker Series reminds our residents that they still have a voice and empowers them to continue exploring new concepts and stay socially connected.
The Red Carpet program series also helps establish our community as a conduit for such great opportunities. In addition, the media outlets take notice, which brings further relevance and excitement to the local community overall. Our investment in the program says we care about our residents—a lot.
While the program requires a substantial investment, we all have been pleased with the results so far. We’re constantly looking ahead and are ready “to roll out the red carpet” for more guest speakers and, more importantly, for our seniors. Although I have to admit, I and all our staff, have enjoyed sharing the experience with our residents and hearing from these great speakers personally as well.