Hey! Is This The Puzzle I Started With?
It is fun to think of life as a rocket ship. That we just sort of take off and miraculously arrive amongst the stars. I think life is more of a puzzle, dumped out on a table in front of us. Each piece represents a skill or interest. It is our job to figure out how they all fit together to create something beautiful. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to put that puzzle together. But, if we’re lucky, we get some help along the way.
I was lucky. I had my parents.
All my life I’ve been a gadget girl. From a young age, I fell in love with technology and the adventures it could bring. My parents identified this passion in me early, and they nurtured and supported it.
As I grew older, I developed more pieces to my puzzle.
I became a stepmom, and shortly after, a mother. This was my first experience as part of a care team – a group of people coming together to care for for and raise children.
Later, I co-founded a software company that helped divorced parents raise children together. Communication is so important when you’re raising kids jointly. We developed a low-conflict way for the co-parents to communicate. In the process, I earned a dual Masters Degree in Psychology and Communications.
Throughout my career, I was able to combine puzzle pieces. I used my love of technology and communications as a marketing executive, helping to drive the go-to-market for several software companies.
When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my dad began to lean on me, as the only daughter in the family. We soon realized that dad couldn’t live on his own without mom’s help. They had been supporting each other through the aging process.
This is when I stepped into the role of a family caregiver — though I didn’t realize it at the time. It just seemed like another piece of my puzzle. It was simply the right thing to do, caring for them as they cared for me.
I cannot really describe what it was like caring for my parents until they passed. Only that it was the great honor of my life to be there for them, as they had always been there for me.
But the work of a parent is never truly done.
It was in those last years of their lives that I began to put all of these seemingly odd and random puzzle pieces together to form a clearer picture of my life than I had ever seen before. It is amazing how, often, it is in our love for others that we truly see ourselves.
I had worked at startups much of my career and yet never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I did not set out to be a founder. I did not have a picture in my mind and then tried to assemble the pieces to create it.
Instead, I felt a calling. I was being pulled toward this very moment by guiding hands – the hands, no doubt, of my experiences, my strong desire to make an impact in this world in a way that uses my special talents, and yes, the hands of my parents.
I would take all of the experiences (being part of multiple care teams, having a supportive husband who happened to be a serial entrepreneur) and skills (communication, psychology, technology) I had gained in life and build something new – something that could help everyone in senior care.
Of course, I am also a pragmatist. I interviewed 300 people across the senior care industry, including family members. I wanted to make sure there was truly a problem and that we could solve it. Those interviews confirmed what I believed and I have never looked back.
And that is the origin of Serenity, a collaborative group messaging platform that connects the many people and providers providing care to older adults through a mobile and web collaboration platform.
Entrepreneurs are asked to be visionary. I did not look outward. Serenity is the vision I saw when I put all of the pieces of my life together. And while I know there is still more to add, I like what I see. I am proud of what we are building.
I think my mom and dad would be proud too.