by Morrison Living, 2020

Sara McVey, President & CEO
Sequoia Living
San Francisco
• laughing leader
• status quo snacker
• yoga lover

My mom was the queen of one-liners. At the end of our conversations, she’d always wrap it up with a zinger. Here’s one of my favorites: “Sara Rose, you can either be courageous or comfortable – but you can’t be both.” That was certainly on my mind when I took on this role, moving from Seattle to San Francisco about nine months ago. I wanted a new kind of challenge – and boy – the universe has certainly overdelivered!

We’ll be missing the point if we think spring 2020 was all about COVID-19. Or about racial unrest. For me personally, and as a leader, two earthshaking forces have worked in tandem to create a moment that’s about valuing each other on a much deeper level and getting intolerant of the barriers that keep us apart. And if that’s true, there’s no time to waste. We have to challenge ourselves – in literally every corner of our lives – to jump out of our comfort zones with the courage and energy of superheroes to grab this moment and make the best of it. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, we’re discovering superpowers that are all around and within us. If we’ve learned nothing else, it’s that we have to seize and harness our newfound strengths if we’re to accomplish what now needs to be done. Don’t you feel like we’ve all gotten X-ray vision, seeing things now that were invisible yesterday? It’s almost as if we’re seeing each other for the first time and connecting in entirely new ways. We’ve gained respect for the burdens and vulnerabilities carried by our sisters and brothers who share this uncommonly common mission. With a flash of enlightenment, our associates and residents now have a new respect for the wellbeing of the community as they consider their own personal desires or preferences. Today, we’re all a lot more compassionate.

We’re also keenly aware of the language and tone of our verbal connections. We’re surrounded by people baring their hearts as they intentionally express love and support. This is especially true of our residents who’ve been so grateful for the steps we’ve taken to protect them. We’re sharing optimism and putting purpose behind our planning to build engagement – for residents and our team members. We’ve become so much more authentic. And finally, I’ve seen an army of superheroes who won’t back down from the challenge to go from good to great. It doesn’t have to be an all-out revolution if every day we’re doing something better than we did yesterday. It doesn’t take an act of Congress to try something new. Our teams are moving quickly to perpetually outdo themselves and to make the mundane into something great. Their courage and new insights will power our reinvention with an intolerance for wasted time and effort. I’m proud to say that today, we’re more innovative. Compassion, authenticity and innovation, powered up by courage and energy. We’ll need all these powers and more as we give new shape to our future profile. I’m incredibly excited to look ahead – even knowing that we haven’t seen the last of this horrendous virus or social unrest. At Sequoia Living, we’re not preparing for the “new normal.” We’re sprinting toward the “new NEXT!” Spring 2020 has helped us grasp our own superpowers, confidently transforming our discomfort into courage. It’s given us the power to accelerate the change and growth that we’ve been needing and will make us better leaders and service providers.