Status Go: Ep. 245 – Impact of Organization on Leadership | Dawn Armstrong


On the latest episode of “Status Go,” Jeff Ton welcomes Dawn Armstrong, VP of IT Operations at HumanGood, to discuss the dynamic intersection of technology and leadership in the rapidly evolving world of senior living. Dive into an engaging conversation that spans from the unique IT challenges of providing high-quality wifi for dining room robots to combating cybersecurity threats against vulnerable populations. Armstrong shares insightful strategies on building a resilient IT team, fostering a culture of learning and development, and the critical importance of tech integration in business decisions. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in how thoughtful organization and leadership can harness technological advancements to enhance community living and safeguard against the exploitation of our elders. Tune in for an eye-opening discussion that mixes tales of innovation with a heartfelt mission to improve lives—one wifi signal and iPad at a time.

About Dawn Armstrong

Dawn Armstrong is a seasoned IT executive with extensive experience leading technical teams in various IT domains, including infrastructure, operations, security (both cyber and physical), and enterprise systems and applications. Dawn currently serves as the Vice President of IT Operations at HumanGood. Prior to HumanGood, Dawn was the Vice President of IT at Virgin Hyperloop.  Known for her approachability and passion for mentoring,

Dawn is committed to investing in her staff and guiding them toward new opportunities and growth. With a proven track record in startup and large enterprise environments, Dawn excels in adapting to change and mentoring teams to navigate challenges. She places a strong emphasis on balancing security measures with productivity, ensuring the protection of company assets without hindering team efficiency. Dawn’s blend of leadership, technical expertise, and dedication to community involvement makes her a pivotal figure in the IT industry, driving technological innovation and advancing diversity in tech.

In April 2024, Dawn will be speaking at WiCys (Women in Cyber Security) conference in Nashville.

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Episode Highlights

[00:00:00] – Jump into the crossroads of leadership and technology on Status Go!

[00:00:37] – Unveiling the transformative impact organization has on visionary leadership.

[00:00:54] – Kicking off with insights into the crucial role of good wifi for innovative dining room robots!

[00:02:12] – Navigating the fast-paced evolution of senior living technology and its challenges.

[00:03:19] – Power moves: Educating the team to keep pace with cutting-edge tech developments!

[00:05:34] – Prioritizing professional growth and building a culture ready for future opportunities.

[00:06:58] – The secret ingredient to leadership: Carving out time for free thought and creativity.

[00:09:11] – Why it’s time to rethink constant meetings and opt for deep, reflective leadership.

[00:10:56] – A leader’s guide to productivity: Longer periods for strategic thinking and mindset shifts.

[00:12:41] – Closing with crucial takeaways and connecting directly with change-makers in the field.

[00:13:34] – Real-life cyber scare: Protecting our seniors from costly online scams.

[00:15:13] – Meet the VP who swapped the speed of Hyperloop for the heart of senior living tech.

[00:16:51] – Bridging the gap: Strategies for understanding team dynamics and technology in senior living.

[00:18:24] – Universal IT best practices: Dawn Armstrong’s secrets to comprehending tech challenges across 125 locations.

[00:20:36] – IT leaders as marketing gurus: Speaking the language of leadership to amplify tech’s voice.

[00:24:14] – Cracking the code on bespoke tech solutions for unique site challenges in connectivity.

[00:26:42] – What’s driving the elderly to demand faster wifi in senior care? Find out in this segment!

[00:28:21] – HumanGood’s strides in tech: From technical education seminars to securing life-enhancing grants.

[00:30:07] – Raising cyber-smart seniors and team members to fend off online predators and scams.

[00:32:17] – Robots at the dinner table? Unveiling automation in senior living without spilling the beans.

[00:33:59] – Rounding off the episode with actionable insights and ways to be part of the leadership and tech synergy.



Episode Transcript

Dawn Armstrong [00:00:00]:

And it’s usually on the phone, right? Somebody will call on the phone. And I actually had an older friend of mine, you know, she got a call from quote-unquote Microsoft. And after they installed the malware on her computer, they asked her to give them $595. And she was like, well, I don’t do any online banking and I don’t put my credit card online. But she did snail mail them a check for $595. So they got their money anyways.

Jeff Ton [00:00:48]:

Welcome to another insightful episode of the Status Go podcast, where we dive into the ever-evolving world of technology and its impact on various industries. I’m your host, Jeff Ton, and today we have a fascinating discussion lined up for all you IT pros out there. Transitioning from one industry to another can be daunting, especially when you’re accustomed to the fast-paced environment of something like the Virgin Hyperloop. But what happens when you shift gears and you find yourself at the forefront of technology in senior living?

Joining us today is Dawn Armstrong. She’s the vice president of information technology operations at HumanGood. With her wealth of experience in IT in various industries and her current role overseeing technology in the senior living sector, Dawn brings a unique perspective to the table on this concept of switching industries. We’ll explore Dawn’s journey from tackling the challenges of managing IT in a marketing-driven landscape to spearheading innovative solutions that enhance the quality of life for seniors. From robots in the dining room, believe it or not, to the intricacies of smart homes, Dawn has seen it all and will share her insights on navigating this dynamic industry.

So, if you’re ready to glean wisdom from someone who successfully bridged the gap between industries, grab your headphones and get ready for a captivating conversation that promises to inspire and inform. Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of senior living technology with Dawn Armstrong on Status Go.

Dawn, welcome back to Status Go!

Dawn Armstrong [00:02:37]:

Hi Jeff, and thanks so much for having me back. I’m super excited to be back on the Status Go podcast.

Jeff Ton [00:02:44]:

Well, it has been a while. I think the episode that you first appeared on was the 74th episode of Status Go called Reducing IT Complexity. And now I think this episode will be like episode 245 or something like that. So, it’s been a while, and I think you were on probably in 2019 or maybe 2020, but catch us up. What’s been going on in your world since then?

Dawn Armstrong [00:03:15]:

You mentioned the Reducing IT Complexity, and I didn’t really think about it until now, but it’s like, wow, have we ever increased that complexity? Oh, my goodness. But I really feel like I’ve lived a lifetime since then. Let’s see. Well, we survived Covid, right? We all survived.

Jeff Ton [00:03:36]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:03:37]:

At the beginning of 2022, I left Virgin Hyperloop and actually moved over to a senior living organization called HumanGood. So, at HumanGood, I take care of the infrastructure side, cybersecurity, as well as all of the community service and support.

Jeff Ton [00:03:57]:

Yeah. And to me, that’s kind of a huge jump, right? From something that was, let’s call it, maybe, bleeding edge at Hyperloop to HumanGood. Senior living is one of those industries that a lot of folks will think, well, where’s the technology involved in that? And I know you’ve got some stories about where the technology is involved with that, but think back to 22 when you’re making this change, how did you get yourself ready for that transition from Hyperloop to HumanGood?

Dawn Armstrong [00:04:40]:

Well, that’s a great question. And I find that it’s really valuable when transitioning to a new company to really take the time to reflect on the role that you’re leaving from. And you have to consider the achievements and challenges and ponder over what you’ve approached differently and contemplate how, as a leader, you can enhance your methods and what you’ve done before. In starting a new role, I learned that embracing patience is absolutely essential. My inclination, really is to just immerse myself into everything and start to make changes. And my experience has really taught me that you really have to understand the psychology of the team that you’re coming in to lead before you do that, because if you think about it, right, you’re entering an environment where everyone is probably feeling anxious, they’re getting a new leader. You don’t know if that leader was really well respected and everybody loved that person or whether there’s some issues that were going on, and maybe that’s why they left. But regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, it really is important to understand what transpired before and what this team really needs to be successful.

But I think it is really vital to grasp the effects of the past leadership. And the effects are important. Right. Like what happened with this team and really to begin the process of rebuilding the team.

Jeff Ton [00:06:27]:

Yeah, I like that in some ways, it’s honoring the past.

Dawn Armstrong [00:06:33]:


Jeff Ton [00:06:33]:

You don’t want to come in and change things just for the sake of changing. The things that you want to bring to the table have to be meaningful in that context. So, what are some of the strategies that you use as you’re coming in? Call it your 1st, 90 days, 120 days. How are you getting to know your team while at the same time getting to know the business leaders and keeping the train on the tracks?

Dawn Armstrong [00:07:07]:

Yeah, that train needs to be on the tracks, definitely. Well, I meet with every single individual in the entire department, whether they report to me or not, whether they’re direct reports or not. And I try to really put them at ease and let them know that what they tell me is in strict confidence so that I can really understand how they’re feeling. I want to know if they’re a flight risk. I want to understand what the overall mental health of the team is and also their technical chops. Are they up to the task of where we’re going? Because we are going somewhere, technology doesn’t stand still.

Jeff Ton [00:07:57]:

That’s right.

Dawn Armstrong [00:07:58]:

But I really believe that best practices in information technology are universal and they’re not really related to the exact industry you’re in. Because for example, good hygiene will serve and protect the business regardless of what the business size is and what type of business it is.

Jeff Ton [00:08:24]:

So, part of what you do is kind of start with the basic foundational pieces. Right? And make sure so when you’re stepping into a role like that, you’re assessing the people, you’re having those conversations, but you’re also taking a look around at the technology and kind of doing your own mental assessment of what you’ve gotten yourself into, so to speak, and where the status of it is.


Dawn Armstrong [00:08:55]:

Yeah, absolutely. HumanGood, we have 125 locations across the country and I really tried to visit as many as I could. And I want to go walk around and dig into the MDF and the IDF and meet with the community leaders there, and find out what their challenges are. And I guess maybe I’m old school. I grew up from being on the ground programming and doing system admin work and doing network work. So I basically want rights.

I want permission into every single system. And I’m going to go poke around.


And it’s amazing what you find when you start poking around.

Jeff Ton [00:09:49]:

Well, when you’re poking around at that level.

Dawn Armstrong [00:09:50]:


Jeff Ton [00:09:52]:

I tell you, the last CIO role I had, they wouldn’t let me have those permissions. They were afraid I’d muck it up.

Dawn Armstrong [00:10:01]:

Yes. I’ve been given view rights on a few things. You can only view or read it.

Jeff Ton [00:10:07]:

Yeah, it’s like, what’s this button do? No, I’m kidding. Well, as you’re doing that, talk a little bit. You mentioned that you tried to visit as many of the sites as you could and meet with the community leaders. What types of things are you trying to learn from them?

Dawn Armstrong [00:10:26]:

Well, I think I want to understand what their challenges are and what are the needs of the residents and what’s missing on the team member side. Because most of these communities we run 24/7 we usually have anywhere from two to 350 team members there. Is there a piece that would make your life easier? And what is that? Because frankly, we’re here to serve. It’s all about the business. We’re here to make your life easier. The job of IT is not the roadblock. And frankly, the job of cybersecurity is also not the roadblock. It’s to enable the business to do their business but in a safe, secure, and technologically responsible.

Jeff Ton [00:11:19]:

Yeah, well, one of the things that you mentioned when we talked a couple of weeks ago, Dawn, was that a good portion of your role is marketing. Explain that a little bit. What do you mean by that? When you talk about the role of the IT leader being marketing, I find.

Dawn Armstrong [00:11:44]:

That if leadership doesn’t understand what the IT department is doing and what they do basically on a daily basis, you’re not going to get the funding that you need, you’re not going to get the FTEs, the staff that you need to do the job. And I found that every single meeting that I go to, there is some component of marketing here at HumanGood. We have, of course, the whole C suite. We have a large board as well, and we have a whole layer of senior vice presidents and vice presidents because we have 6000 employees. Yeah, it’s a big organization. And if the C suite and that vice president level, that’s driving strategy down basically to every single area of the business, doesn’t understand that there’s an IT component in every single thing they do, then things are going to get missed. Right. And it’s not really just shadow, it’s really the entire comprehensive piece of it.

I’m not explaining this very well, but.

Jeff Ton [00:13:10]:

They need to understand where technology fits in their business. And to do that, you’re trying to translate IT, speak into their language. Right. So, they can connect those dots.

Dawn Armstrong [00:13:28]:


Yeah, but it even really goes more fundamental than that, Jeff. It’s really just being invited to the conversation. I find that in pretty much every organization I’ve worked for, and it was really especially true here at HumanGood that they’ve already designed the architectural plans to completely remodel this whole facility, and they didn’t bring IT in at all. Or they’re launching a whole new finance automation system, and they’ve gone through the contract negotiations with a SaaS provider, and they didn’t ask IT anything about it, but yet we get pulled in, and they’re like, hey, can you turn on single sign-on for this? Sure. What are we doing?

Jeff Ton [00:14:21]:

What is this?

Dawn Armstrong [00:14:24]:

So, you really have to dig in and kind of weasel your way into every little meeting.


And it is time-consuming in the beginning, but once you start to really build those relationships, and of course, it’s all about relationships, right? We hear that everywhere. But it really is about the relationships. Once you start to get people’s minds wrapped around the fact that, oh, yeah, it is in everything that I do, even plugging in my phone or my computer has to do with it. Right. It goes down to that level.

Jeff Ton [00:15:06]:

It’s so pervasive in everything that we do that I think there’s a lot of times people in general take IT for granted. Right. It just works. And what they don’t see are the hours that you and your team are putting in behind the scenes to make sure it works.

So, let’s talk tech a little bit. What are some of the technologies that you all support, and what were some of the challenges when you walked in in ‘22 that you had to really get your arms around?

Dawn Armstrong [00:15:43]:

Well, you just mentioned that people just assume everything is just there. And you reminded me of one of my favorite sayings, is that “Wifi is your God given right.” That’s what everybody thinks. Wifi is your God given right no matter where you are. Wireless challenges have had a huge component in Hyperloop, as well as here at HumanGood. With the Virgin Hyperloop, for example, I was challenged to get Wifi working in a metal tube in a vacuum for a vehicle that’s going 600 km an hour.

Come on.

Jeff Ton [00:16:22]:

How do you do that?

Dawn Armstrong [00:16:24]:

I work in IT. I’m not a magician, but we did get it to work. We did get that to work. And then I come to senior living, and it’s totally relatable to what we were doing at Hyperloop, because the reason for that Wi-Fi was life safety. Obviously, in the future of Hyperloop, having people be able to connect and play their movies or whatever is important from an entertainment perspective. But really, it’s a life safety issue. We wanted to make sure that we could speak with the people in our test pod at the time. And exactly the same is true here at HumanGood.

It’s a life safety issue. If you don’t have cellular service or Wifi, you can’t make a call to 911.

Jeff Ton [00:17:16]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:17:17]:

And ten years ago, five years ago, even that wasn’t really a thing.

Jeff Ton [00:17:26]:

Yeah, because everybody had landlines.

Dawn Armstrong [00:17:28]:

Yeah. And now it’s a necessity. And some of our campuses are huge. Some of our Life Plan communities are 50, 60 acres. They have walking trails and they’re just quite large. The way cellular providers work is they will typically put their microcells along a major street.

Jeff Ton [00:17:52]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:17:54]:

Those microcells are super focused to basically handle the sidewalk and the road and maybe inside the business is right on that line. They’re not focused on spreading out. So we have campuses, I have 50 acres that have no cell service.

Jeff Ton [00:18:14]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:18:16]:

In today’s age, you’re like, what?


Jeff Ton [00:18:20]:

No kidding. Yeah. What do you do running IT operations to get service there? What types of things are you looking at?

Dawn Armstrong [00:18:33]:

Well, there’s all kinds of challenges. In some instances, we’re able to put outdoor access points and things like that in, in other instances, we have got cellular boosters which will take a signal in from a donor antenna on the street, and then we get little other smaller antennas placed throughout the entire community. But that doesn’t really work for a really large community that has a lot of open space. So right now we’re actually working with several carriers, one in particular that I won’t mention. But in order to actually put a cell tower on the property, and it’s all a matter of finances and who’s going to pay for that. This carrier that we’re working with has really been doing some great work with HumanGood, and I’m pretty hopeful that we’ll be able to support this community from a cellular perspective. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.

But every site is a unicorn. I mean, it’s a snowflake.

Jeff Ton [00:19:48]:

And you have 125, is that what you said?

Dawn Armstrong [00:19:51]:

Yeah, we have about 21 or two. I lose count, but we have about 21 or 22 Life Plan communities and those are the larger properties. And then we have about 105 or so affordable housing communities, and those are funded by HUD, and those are the nonprofit arm, essentially.

Jeff Ton [00:20:13]:

Well, you joked earlier about Wifi being a God given right, but what’s happening as my generation ages. Right, I’m 66, so I might be interested in one of your communities one of these days, sooner than I’d care to admit. But in all seriousness, we’ve become this always connected, always on society. And as the boomers age and go into those facilities, they are demanding Wi-Fi access for their streaming on their television, and they want their cell phones to work no matter where they are on the property. And that’s putting more and more of a load on you and your team as that happens, right?

Dawn Armstrong [00:21:02]:

Oh, 100%. And you look really good for your age, Jeff. Yeah, that’s really quite true.

Jeff Ton [00:21:15]:

So, it goes beyond the life safety into kind of the lifestyle.

Dawn Armstrong [00:21:21]:

Yeah, exactly. And from a connectivity or online connectivity perspective, right? If you think about residents that were in senior care facilities, no matter what type, back during COVID that connectivity was the only way, really, unless you’re standing outside the window, that they were able to keep connection with their families, their loved ones, their friends, that connectivity. All of the seniors have learned how to use their iPads, their iPhones, and all of these online devices. And so, yes, there is definitely a demand for faster bandwidth, which is actually what’s crushing us right now. When I first got here, it was really Wi-Fi coverage was an issue, and.

Jeff Ton [00:22:17]:

Now I need faster because my Netflix is clocking.

Dawn Armstrong [00:22:26]:

And it’s never-ending. We resolve the coverage issue everywhere. So, everybody has good coverage, but now it’s not fast enough.

Jeff Ton [00:22:37]:

So, we were talking about this digital divide and some of the things that you and your team do because you support, in addition to the team members, as you call them, for HumanGood, you also are supporting the residents. So, what types of things are you doing for the residents to help them understand the technology and how to use it properly?

Dawn Armstrong [00:23:06]:

Yeah, great question, Jeff. So, at each of our life plan communities, they’re quite large, and so we have an IT admin at each of the life plan communities. They take tickets from residents and from team members. So, a resident can, you know, my cable tv isn’t working, my streaming service, my computer doesn’t print anymore, and the tech will go out there and assist them. But I think one of the things that I really like is that we hold monthly technical education sessions for the residents, and those are well received. We also hold open office hours as well, where you can bring whatever device you have, and we’ll help you with whatever questions you have. In the affordable housing communities, though they’re smaller, they tend to be a little bit smaller in size. They have much less staff.

Dawn Armstrong [00:24:05]:

But we have a philanthropy department here at HumanGood, and they’re always very hard at work securing technical grants for increasing the wireless footprint at the affordable housing communities and getting a library of iPads to lend out to residents. And we usually, as an IT department, we like to set up. When we have those library of iPads, they might have four or five. At an affordable housing community to lend out, we like to set them up so that they’re super easy to use. We take off some of the applications that may not be intuitive to them and make sure they have access to a web browser and different things like that. And then, of course, cybersecurity is incredibly important.

Jeff Ton [00:24:58]:

Yeah, because you want to protect the assets of HumanGood from a cybersecurity perspective, but you’re also wanting the residents to have good cyber hygiene and protect their own assets, right?

Dawn Armstrong [00:25:17]:

Absolutely. So, for our team members, we have a really comprehensive cybersecurity awareness program that culminates in October, my favorite holiday of the year, which is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You and I, Jeff, have talked a lot about IT Marketing. And marketing is absolutely vital as part of cybersecurity awareness. You’ve really got to get the word out over and over and over again. And the more you talk about it, whether that’s at the sea level or at the team member level or at the resident level, the more you talk about it, the more it’s on people’s minds, and the more in tune they are with it. Right.

For our team members, we even release tips during the winter holidays around how to shop safely online and in person. And we coach them on situational awareness so that they don’t get broken into. And for our residents, in those tech ed sessions that we do for them, one of those a month usually has a cybersecurity focus, and it’s really unfortunate, but we all have stories about how somebody in our family has been scammed, and it’s usually on the phone, right? Somebody will call on the phone, and they use fud, fear, uncertainty, and doubt to get people all riled up and to send money. I actually had an older friend of mine a few months ago who she got a call from, quote unquote, Microsoft, and they noticed she had a problem on her computer. So she went to the web page that they wanted her to go to, and of course, then they own her, unfortunately. And after they installed the malware on her computer, they asked her to give them $595. And she was like, well, I don’t do any online banking, and I don’t put my credit card online, thank goodness. But she did snail mail them a check for $595.

So, they got their money anyways. With older people, nobody wants to be thought of that they’re not on top of things. Right. And so, she didn’t tell me for quite a few months because she was embarrassed. And finally, when she did tell me, I had to wipe her computer and everything. But that’s really a problem. And I don’t know if I told you this story, Jeff, but the day I started, I was at a community, because we’re all remote. I have to go to a community to pick up my laptop.

And I happened to run into one of the caregivers, and she said, oh, my goodness, Mrs. So and so just wired $50,000 to somebody because they did the kidnap scam on her. And unfortunately, it was successful. And that money’s gone. Yeah, it happens all the time.

Jeff Ton [00:28:45]:


I’ll say this, and I may have Erik cut this out. There’s a special place in hell for people that do that!

Well, let’s talk about…I kind of hinted at this in the introduction…robots in the dining room.

Dawn Armstrong [00:29:07]:

Yeah. At some of our communities. This is a funny story, actually. Well, maybe it’s only funny to IT people.

Jeff Ton [00:29:16]:

Well, that’s who’s listening, so that’s okay.

Dawn Armstrong [00:30:37]:

Yeah. At some of our communities, we do have robots in the dining room that were put in. I think they were put in as a trial. It was a little bit before my time, and they run around and buss the tables.

Jeff Ton [00:29:32]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:29:33]:

And the residents kind of get a kick out of it because this robot comes up and you put your plates on there, and away it goes. Toodles….Off. But as I mentioned earlier, it was done without telling IT about it.

Jeff Ton [00:29:38]:

Oh, gosh.

Dawn Armstrong [00:29:40]:

So, guess what? We didn’t really have very good Wi-Fi in the dining rooms. So, the robot would get over to a certain table, and it’d be like, dead stop. So, IT is important everywhere, even with dining room robots.

Jeff Ton [00:30:09]:

That’s right.

Dawn Armstrong [00:30:11]:


Jeff Ton [00:30:11]:

It’s another great example of why you need to involve IT in things. Senior living, the technology, parts of it, the aspects of it are exploding, are growing. How do you keep up on emerging technologies and how do you coach your team to keep up on those technologies?

Dawn Armstrong [00:30:46]:

That’s quite the question. We’re moving so fast now. I truly believe we’re moving so much faster even this year than we did last year. I feel like January just kicked off with this huge bang and it just has been absolutely nonstop. And I’m finding it’s more and more challenging to get my team to kind of self-educate, I guess I would say, because they just don’t have the time. Right. So, what I’ve been doing lately is really making sure in my budget, I have budget to send them to a conference. Everybody gets to go to a conference in their particular specialty each year.

If it’s one of my people’s first time at a conference, I also coach them on going to a conference because some of these conferences are huge and in order to get the most out of it, it’s really better to coach them so they can understand where should I go to get the most information. It does no good to wear yourself out at a conference and attend 12 hours of sessions because then you’re burned out and you don’t remember anything. I coach them through things. We also do lunch and learns. I’ve done that for many years. That’s really important. And I cross collaboration between like I have 21 site system admins and then I have an infrastructure team. Well, that infrastructure team typically doesn’t go out to the communities to do work.

They rely on those site admins to do the work for them. Can you install this switch and do this and plug this in? But if you don’t have, first of all, that great relationship back and forth between those two teams, it’s just going to be more difficult than it really needs to be.

Jeff Ton [00:33:45]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:32:36]:

But also, you really need that cross training because every IT person, I would say 90% of IT people are in this business because they love it. They love the new shiny next thing, and we all do. We all want the next iPhone that comes out in September. So, it’s important to kind of curate that. Right. I want to make sure that wherever your interest is that we’re going to help you get there.

Jeff Ton [00:33:17]:


Dawn Armstrong [00:33:18]:

And sometimes that means that maybe where you’re going is not here.

Jeff Ton [00:33:23]:

Yeah. They may outgrow or may have other aspirations.

Dawn Armstrong [00:33:27]:

Right. Yeah.

And I think that’s okay. I think you have to have the confidence in that culture that you’ve created, that that person, if they move on, then you’ve done a good thing, you’ve helped their career, they’ve done good work here with you, and maybe you’ll run into them again because it is a small business.

Jeff Ton [00:33:55]:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great approach.

And, Dawn, we’ve reached that point in the Status Guo podcast where I love to ask my question, because we want to leave our listeners with this clear call to action. So, what are one or two things our listeners should do tomorrow, because they listened to us today, whether they’re changing industries or whether they happen to be in senior living, what are a couple of things they should go do?

Dawn Armstrong [00:34:27]:

So, I wanted to share an insight with your audience, Jeff, that during and after Covid, I felt like I was caught in this continuous loop of virtual meetings, just constantly, and I would get a bunch of action items, or I would have to follow up on action items, and I felt like I was drowning, frankly. And in December, I decided to clear my schedule for three days to allow myself to catch up. What I didn’t anticipate was the creative freedom that all of a sudden happened in my brain. The first day was definitely spent catching up. Right. But then my mind started to do what I would call free think. And frankly, the wealth of new ideas that emerged was truly invaluable. I’ve been inspired by this.

I feel that as a leader, it’s really not my place to be in meetings 9 hours a day. It really isn’t right. So I’ve been inspired by this, and I’ve actually encouraged my team leaders to schedule that same type of break. And we’ve made it a biannual goal for 2024, where they’ll take two three day breaks throughout the year. And I’m really excited to see what’s going to come out of that because I had some pretty awesome ideas, if I may say so myself.

So, I guess, in a nutshell, I would say that it’s essential as leaders that we step away from our day to day and give ourselves time to just think freely.


Jeff Ton [00:36:12]:

Time to reflect and catch up, but also reflect and think about things. I love that as an action, and I think that’s something all of our listeners could do, is just block off a couple of days every so often, whether it’s twice a year, like you’re doing there, or, gosh, if you could do it more frequently, that would be awesome. But you’re not…not working….you’re thinking about work. You’re just not in meetings all day long.

Dawn Armstrong [00:36:42]:

Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s been drilled into our head that if our calendar isn’t full, we’re not working.

Jeff Ton [00:36:49]:

But that’s not working and that’s not the case.

Dawn Armstrong [00:36:52]:

And I tried doing the four-hour block and the two-hour block. That doesn’t work.

Jeff Ton [00:37:57]:

No. You need that longer period of time because it takes you a long time to get into that mindset because you are, you’re used to run, run. And so, it does, it takes that day or so to get into that.

Dawn Armstrong [00:37:12]:


Jeff Ton [00:37:14]:

Well, Dawn, this has been fantastic. I’ve loved our conversation. I promise it won’t be five more years before you’re on Status Go again. We’ll have you back on the show and really appreciate you carving out time for us today.

Dawn Armstrong [00:37:21]:

Well, you bet, Jeff. It’s been fun.

Jeff Ton [00:37:34]:

Well, and to our listeners, if you have a question or want to learn more, visit The show notes will provide links and contact information for Dawn, if you want to reach out to her directly. This is Jeff Ton for Dawn Armstrong. Thank you very much for listening.

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