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As I reflect on my two years as the Chair of the DARTS Board of Directors, I am filled with amazement and gratitude.
DARTS navigated the challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting clients, staff and the broader community with agility, creativity, and compassion – and it was nothing short of amazing. Under the leadership of DARTS President Ann Bailey, the team worked to respond to new needs and to continue creating connections that enrich aging, even when we had to find new ways to connect.
During this time, many new people joined the DARTS team at all levels of the organization. While this represented significant change, the new team came together to carry forward the culture of care, support, and commitment. They continued to make DARTS a great place to do meaningful work. I have personally observed that the team is stronger than ever, and it shows in both what they do and how they do it.
While some organizations struggled for survival during these challenging times, DARTS built strength, capabilities, and partnerships. They set the foundation for continued growth and success, for the benefit of current and future generations of older adults, caregivers, and the broader community.
I am incredibly grateful for the time I have spent on the DARTS Board, especially for this time as Board Chair. I have found the members of the Board to be thoughtful, generous, and deeply committed to the mission of DARTS. With their varied backgrounds and experiences, each one brings a unique and important perspective to DARTS and the rest of the Board. I count myself lucky to know each of them and to have benefited from their wisdom.
I am also sincerely grateful for the opportunity to learn more from the wonderful staff and volunteers at DARTS. These people are truly heroes, impacting even more than they might realize in both big and small ways. They see first-hand what older adults and caregivers need and they find ways to meet those needs every day. They are the heartbeat of DARTS.
Finally, I want to express my thanks to Ann Bailey. I have learned so much from her about aging, caregiving, creating partnerships, connecting with the community, and leading with heart. Ann told me at the beginning of my tenure that, with each new Board Chair, she gets exactly what she and DARTS need for that moment, I hope that was the case for my time as Chair.
My experience with DARTS has prompted new conversations with my own father about the kind of connections and support he and his friends are seeking as they age. Together, we’ve attended DARTS events and learned more about what DARTS offers to meet the needs of our growing senior population. These experiences have made it easier to have discussions about his plans. For example, he’s already thinking through his transportation needs when he decides he no longer wants to drive – in fact, he feels so confident about being able to access transportation that I have to remind him that he doesn’t have to rush to give up his car just yet. I am so glad that we both have DARTS as a resource and connection as we think ahead to the future.
DARTS has really opened my eyes to the many opportunities we have to support our aging loved ones and caregivers. Being on the DARTS Board has helped me feel confident in speaking up about the needs of these groups as a priority among my friends, colleagues, and our broader community. I am better prepared to lean into conversations about how people of all ages can take action to do better for the seniors and caregivers who have given so much of themselves supporting others.
As a continuing Board member and volunteer with DARTS, here are a few facts I like to share:
To learn more about the DARTS Board of Directors, go to the DARTS website at dartsconnects.org/board-of-directors/. If you are interested in applying to join the Board, email email@example.com.
Kari Zahn joined the DARTS Board of Directors in 2019 and has served as the Board Chair since May 2021. She has worked for Ecolab since 2005, and currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Human Resources – Global Institutional & Specialty Group. Her specializations in Human Resources, Employee Relations, and Talent Management have left her uniquely qualified to bring her expertise to the DARTS Board of Directors in a time of growth and change.
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