As part of a lifestyle and aging series, we’re working with renowned photographer Terry Lorant to showcase inspirational leaders in the industry. Each month, we’ll feature one or a few inspirational member(s) of the Amazing Care Network community who is using his or her voice to empower others in the collective aging experience. Read, in their own words, what the Amazing Care Network’s efforts mean to them.
This month, we’re proud to feature ACN Member Madison Le.
Q: Can you start by telling us how were you introduced to Amazing Care Network and what about the project speaks to you personally?
ML: Sterling Administration, parent company of the Amazing Care Network, is a client of Beneficial State Bank where I work. We are a triple bottom line Bank: People, Planet and Profit (last). There’s an emphasis on environmental resiliency, social justice and then obviously profitability. We’re a business, but what make us unique is that we are owned by a non-profit which mandates that profits be put back out into our community.
Q: Why Amazing Care Network?
We were looking for an HSA provider. We operate in a small community and we help each other out. Our broker did not have Sterling Administration as a preferred HSA provider. We decided to break the mold a bit and said, “We should have options and we would like to do business with a client of ours because we know them really well and they are local.” With Sterling Administration, I don’t feel as though it is such a big shop that we cannot reach the CEO! I can reach out to her and now we are clients of each other. That’s how the Beneficial State Bank and Amazing Care Network relationship started.
My relationship with Cora, the Founder and CEO, is unique. On a personal level, Cora is also my mentor. I was introduced to Cora by a Co-CEO when I was looking to develop my career. She is one of those people in the East Bay and in healthcare who has great energy, wisdom and never stops. This is when I asked Cora to become my mentor. When she was putting Amazing Care together, I was invited to a roundtable in Berkeley. CA. I was just amazed. Cora is thinking and talking about something totally different. At first a lot of people think it’s just a savings program. Perhaps something they can do on their own. However, this idea is very purposeful, targeted and intentional. I like that. Beneficial State Bank added the Amazing Care Network into our employee benefits package.
Q: How has ACN helped you?
As the eldest in an Asian family, it’s written in the stars that I will take care of my parents as they age. It’s just one of those things that’s expected. For me, I have to be very disciplined right now. The Amazing Care Network provides a great savings program where I regularly move money in to an account and forget about it. It is being managed, I receive statements and it’s accessible 24/7. All of my contributions are post-tax so I have control over when and how it is used. If a need arises where others in my family or extended circle are in need, I am able to direct those monies to help. Most important is that I know what it is there for. The purpose of the savings is to be used for my parents, for when they need it. It is not for the big screen TVs, not for the vacation that we want to take. Putting this money aside was intentional and deliberate in being a bit more prepared. In 10-15 years, I do not want to find myself scrambling to finance their care. Everything has to be very intentional and I love that about the Amazing Care Network. For example, anyone can start a 529 savings intended for college, it is nice to have a similar program to help address caregiving issues. It will help to ease the pressure and stress my family could expectedly or unexpectedly experience later in life.
The resources that are available are just phenomenal. A few months after joining Amazing Care Network, my father was diagnosed with liver cancer. The word “Cancer” strikes terror in me. The first person I called was Cora. I said, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know where to go. He’s got a doctor, he has an oncologist, but what are the options? Who do I need to talk to? She talked me through it. She said, “We can get you in touch with a physician who is retired within the network. They can talk you through what this all means, options and treatment plans available. We can do that.”
I attended one of the luncheons where the speaker was a professor who deals with aging in general. I was probably the youngest person there, but I will be dealing with these issues one day. These are the things that we don’t talk about. We go day-by-day telling ourselves that we will begin planning for this time in our lives. The truth is talking about aging and getting sick, it’s just not sexy. People don’t want to talk about that. It sounds of doom and gloom, but it’s a reality of life. The more I can prepare, I hope will make me better able to approach and accept things that you know might happen without necessarily being so frightened or confused. The Amazing Care Network is helping to make that happen.