By Jenabeth Ferguson
Two weeks ago, I stood on the stage in Austin and addressed the Symposium community in person for the first time in over two years. It was pretty amazing to look out at all those people who had trusted us enough to come back out and take part in in-person events once again.
There were so many highlights! Watching friends and colleagues who had not seen each other for some time come together again. Listening to speakers share lessons learned to folks sitting in the room. Seeing exhibitors show their products to people with the ability to touch and feel. Hearing Bruce Komiske talk about his experiences building hospitals through philanthropy. Feeling the buzz of people networking at the Happy Hour.
My favorite might have been our opening keynote, Alan Graham the Founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF). Alan is the visionary behind MLF’s Community First! Village — a 27-acre master planned development that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supporting community to the chronically homeless in Central Texas. It was pretty remarkable to hear but even more awe inspiring to see in person. On Wednesday afternoon, when the event had ended, two of our board members and I went out to Community First and toured the village.
It was one of the quietest, cleanest, most beautiful neighborhoods I have ever seen. It’s a village of tiny homes mostly with community kitchens, gardens, a library, a health clinic, art studios, marketplace, chapel, store, auto shop and outdoor theatre. The neighbors all have the opportunity to earn a dignified income at all those places. It is a remarkable place. I know we were not the only ones from the Symposium who took time to go out and take advantage of a tour. My wish is for all those who heard Alan and especially those who toured are inspired and motivated to create similar neighborhoods across America.
Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year to you and yours!
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
PS. We’re heading to Long Beach, California in 2022 – September 27-29. Save the date!