Introducing Our Newest Team Member, Erica Woodley
We’re excited to welcome Erica Woodley to the Sage Collective team as the new Director of Program Development and Innovation. Bringing over twenty years of experience in enhancing the lives of older adults, Erica’s deep passion and proven leadership make her an invaluable addition. Her commitment to expanding and enriching our Vibrant Learning Program reflects our shared vision of empowering and connecting our community. Join us in embracing Erica’s journey with us, where her dedication and innovative approach are poised to create lasting impacts. Get to know Erica in our blog below:
Can you talk a little bit about your professional background and how it has made you an expert in your field?
For more than twenty years I have served in various support and leadership roles at companies that provide assistance to older adults, adults with disabilities and adults with mental health challenges. My professional experience has included several leadership and operational roles, ranging from Case Manager, Director, Area Director, and Vice President at various organizations.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am an expert, per se, but I would say that I’m extremely passionate about the field. My passions started when I was a child. Being the eldest granddaughter in my family, I was often responsible for being a companion/caregiver to my great-grandmother which evolved into a special bond between my great-grandmother and myself. That relationship enabled me to develop a passion to continue working with and supporting older adults. And because of that passion and my experience, I can proudly say I have the knowledge needed to be an asset and bring value to organizations I’ve worked for, including Sage Collective.
What is your role with Sage Collective and our Vibrant Learning Program?
My role as Director of Program Development and Innovation is to provide oversight and assist in the development of the Vibrant Learning Program currently in place and to explore how we can continue to expand the program. We’re constantly looking to expand the program to faith-based organizations, senior housing organizations and other organizations that support seniors in the community.
Sage Collective believes that collective learning and enrichment are essential not only to individual wellbeing, but for the empowerment of a community. How does this belief translate through the work of Sage’s Vibrant Learning Program at Chicago Commons?
The topics that are covered at Chicago Commons are either near and dear to the participants’ hearts, or it’s information they didn’t know much about. Throughout each class, the participants bond with each other about their own experiences and connection to the materials, and it helps create a community environment and prevent the social isolation that many seniors experience.
What other unique values held by Sage Collective drew you to work for them?
Sage Collective provides programming that promotes choice which is paramount to me. In my experience of working in the aging space for over 20 years, I have seen many organizations develop programs for older adults that were robust in nature, however the program participants were not offered choices regarding activities. In essence, everyone had to participant even when they if they didn’t want to.
What are you most looking forward to as a new member of Sage Collective’s team? What do you hope to accomplish in your time ahead?
I’m really looking forward to learning more about how I can leverage the Vibrant Learning Program to continue adding value to older adults’ lives. One of my main goals is to expand the program and to make Sage Vibrant Learning a household name among older adult and those caring or providing supports to them.