NIC Chats Podcast with Brenda Bacon

How is “wellness” defined in senior living? According to Brenda Bacon, founder & CEO of Brandywine Living, it’s about providing residents safety, protection, and happiness—and making every day worth living. Brandywine Living started while the senior living industry was still in its infancy and has put resident well-being at the forefront since day one. Bacon joined NIC Chief Economist Beth Mace to discuss how Brandywine’s leadership adjusts offerings to meet the needs of residents in its 30+ communities, how the company works to make life more exciting for the older adults it serves, and why seeing every challenge as an opportunity is key to succeeding in the industry. 

Beth Mace: (00:04)
Hello, and welcome to the NIC Chats podcast. My name is Beth Mace, and I am NIC’s Chief Economist. Thank you for joining us.

Beth Mace: (00:14)
The focus of the NIC Chats podcast is talking to interesting people that have ideas that I think you’d like to hear about. As you listen today, I hope that you’ll find some humor, insights, inspiration, and hopefully what I call an aha moment when something pithy or insightful is said, and the light bulb may go off for you. Let me tell you a bit about the structure of today’s event. First, I will tell you three statements about my guest, two of which will be true throughout the podcast. You’ll learn, which is true and which is false. Second, there are three standard questions with in each podcast for each speaker. The first is, what’s the largest challenge facing our industry? Followed by a question about one thing we can do to grow talent in our industry. And third, what is one innovative way or idea to strengthen our industry. Now, as they say on with show. So, I’m delighted today that our NIC Chats podcast discussion is with Brenda Bacon. Brenda is the founder, president, and the CEO of Brandywine Living. Brenda, thank you so much for joining us.

Brenda Bacon: (01:14)
It’s my pleasure, Beth.

Beth Mace: (01:16)
Thank you. So, as I mentioned, I have three statements about Brenda. Two of these are true and one is not. So these include, first that her daughter lives in London, and she is a Master Pilates instructor. Two, that she graduated from Hampton College in the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania. And third, that she’s always wanted to be in the senior housing business because she was inspired by her grandmother. So now audience, you’ll have to stay tuned for the entire podcast to see which of these is true. So as we start, Brenda, let’s talk a little bit about you and your role at Brandywine. You founded Brandywine Living in 1996, which is about the same time I actually started in senior housing myself. And you’re currently Brandywine’s president and CEO. What was your vision for Brandywine when you established it almost 30 years ago, or 27 years ago, more specifically? And how has that vision changed , if at all, after all of these years?

Brenda Bacon: (02:14)
Well, when we started Brandy Wine, I owned two nursing homes, and later we expanded that to nine nursing homes. And we sold them. We sold our nursing homes in 2006. But from the beginning in 1996, my vision was to develop senior living communities. And I did that, as you remember, that was a time when they were kind of just getting started. And I wanted to create communities where people could make a choice of where they lived, that they could be vibrant and happy and have friends and different days, different things happening in different days, rather than be forced into a skilled nursing environment, an institutional environment, just because they needed somebody for a standby shower or just because they couldn’t walk up the steps in their homes safely anymore. So I thought this could be a better fit. People could have a choice, and I wanted to hear laughter and lots of things that you never hear in a skilled nursing facility. So that was my vision and I don’t think it’s changed much over the years. Beth.

Beth Mace: (03:29)
And have you been successful in bringing that environment into a senior housing properties?

Brenda Bacon: (03:34)
Absolutely. And having, you know, owned and operated nursing homes, I can see, you know, the major difference. Every day when you walk into our buildings, you see people interacting. You see spontaneity, you see laughter, you hear music, and those are things that you don’t often hear in a skilled environment. Skilled environment has to be there and has to be good but it should only be for people who really need that level of kind of an institutional healthcare environment.

Beth Mace: (04:05)
So I know today we’re talking more and more, you’re hearing the words about wellness, and I’ve been into a number of your properties, and I say that they like epitomize that concept of a wellness where you’re trying to bring people a sense of purpose and vitality in life. Can you comment a little bit on that?

Brenda Bacon: (04:18)
The wellness part is very much a part of it. A lot of times when people move into our communities and their adult children feel this same way too, they’re looking for safety and protection. They don’t expect happiness. They don’t expect to smile again, you know, they’re accepting it. And 30 days later, they’re completely different people. And that is just a pleasure to… I mean, that’s kind of the definition of wellness. We can’t all the time change what may be going on in our bodies or maybe going on, you know, in terms of dementia, but we can make every day worth living. And I think that is something that’s important to do.

Beth Mace: (05:00)
Yeah, that’s amazing. That’s such a gift for so many people. That’s for sure. So how big is Brandywine today and what are some of the outside influences that have shaped the growth of Brandywine over the years?

Brenda Bacon: (05:11)
Brandywine has 32 communities now, two of them we just recently opened. We’re in seven states. We’re very careful about where we build and how we build there. You know, certain things that are very, very important to us as we create communities. I think the main thing I would say is that, I know a lot of people say they choose their markets carefully, but you really, I think, need to know a market in a different way. For example, there’s certain demographics that are common to all of us, you know in the business, you know, the age of the customer, certain characteristics. But the customer in Potomac, Maryland is quite different from the customer, customer on Long Island. And so you really have to not only know the customer, but know almost the customs and the atmosphere of the area. And you need to know the regulators and you need to know the competition. You need to know a lot of things that are different and can be the difference between finding a nice spot to build, but not being successful in that market.

Beth Mace: (06:25)
So would you change the programming or how do you understand that the residents are different in one geographic location to another, how does that affect what you offer to your residents?

Brenda Bacon: (06:35)
It does affect what we offer to our residents in many ways, and every resident isn’t alike, but just in a general kind of standpoint. A lot of residents in our communities are highly educated, highly accomplished. And they want that intellectual stimulation. They don’t want to do things that are just sitting back passively watching a movie or just sitting around, you know, just not being active and engaged in their minds. So we do a lot of things that are both or intellectually challenging. Like in the mornings, talking about, you know, when you look on your email in the morning, we see CNN five things, or New York, seven things. All those things that happen overnight that you kind of look at and say, okay, what happened? We do that with our residents in the morning, you know, because they want to talk, particularly like you think about a community like Potomac and in Alexandria, they think about community in Arizona or not Arizona, Alexandria or Potomac. Many of those people are former government employees, they’ve been in the military, they’re retired from the Pentagon, and they are really interested in what happened overnight, both in an international sense and nationally. And so we tailor our programs to what they want and we don’t present programs to them. We actually call our programming escapades for life because , we want it to be like something exciting, something that that really gets you interested and you can’t wait to get to it.

Beth Mace: (08:21)
Yeah. Yeah. That sounds great. I lived in DC early in my career and you know, there, you know, your local news is national news or global news, and so that’s a big connection for people that live in that area. I totally agree.

Brenda Bacon: (08:32)
Yeah. I grew up in DC and went to school in Maryland and so I know that, you know, I feel that kind of what they feel and what they want. And so we do, we have adjusted quite a bit for that.

Beth Mace: (08:45)
Yeah, that’s interesting. So what are you most proud of your 27 years of working at Brandywine and founding it?

Brenda Bacon: (08:54)
I think I’m most proud of the team we’ve built, proud of staying true to our commitments, our genuine feelings about what we’re going to do. There’s so many things that start to make you you know, kind of pinch off here and do this there and, and something that may be expedient. I’m proud to walk into our buildings. I was in one of our buildings yesterday. And just watch the real caring and interaction again, spontaneous interaction of the team with the residents and the residents with each other. And it was funny, a couple of residents at different times when I was there, one was in a wheelchair and one was walking and they said to me, oh, we need to get out of your way because you know, they’re three or four people around me and I said, this is your home. We need to get out of your way. That got the biggest smiles to their face. And I just, I’m proud of the culture we have created and I know there’s no sell on the Excel for culture, but it’s important.

Beth Mace: (10:10)
All right. So we’ve had a lot of challenges in the last few years from, you know, COVID to labor shortages to now in an environment of the debt markets are frozen, inflation, potential recession as we go into 2023. What have you seen the are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

Brenda Bacon: (10:32)
You know, all of those are big challenges. And as we think about different growth periods in our industry, they bring their own challenges. I think COVID brought a challenge that nobody could have predicted. You know, it’s the thing they teach you in business school about the Black Swan event. You couldn’t have predicted it. We didn’t know what was going to happen. But we have got to start to look at COVID and not look at every challenge through the lens of COVID. And that’s hard to get people to do because there’s always a reason COVID has affected everything in some way. So there’s always a reason. Well it’s because of COVID or was because of COVID, but COVID, you know, two years ago was a much different situation than it is today. It doesn’t mean that every decision we make has to keep that in mind. And so, getting the industry and team members unfrozen if you will.

Beth Mace: (11:41)
This sense of exhaustion. Right. That really is still a large extent for a lot of people.

Brenda Bacon: (11:47)
A lot of people’s lives have changed during this period. Everybody’s, I would say, in some way. And our frontline team members certainly have been affected. Our leadership probably throughout the industry has been affected because you’re trying to manage something that day after day felt unmanageable. And most of us don’t like things that are unmanageable .

Beth Mace: (12:10)
Yes. We all like to have control.

Brenda Bacon: (12:13)
Yeah, I can have control. Yeah.

Beth Mace: (12:14)
Indeed. My children still say that to me.

Brenda Bacon: (12:19)
Well, it’s a big issue for me too. I wanted to control it. And a lot of people who work with me have control issues too. So we were particularly challenged during that time.

Beth Mace: (12:29)
That’s for sure. So what did would you say is unique about Brandywine compared to other operators or other businesses and any lessons or that you’ve learned or advice that you could give for operators or financiers that are just entering into the industry?

Brenda Bacon: (12:44)
I think that it is important to understand how operating intensive this business is. It, it truly is healthcare with hospitality. It matters. Every decision you make, you know, pretty much has an impact on the product you’ve created and the results of the business. This is a business, and we have to keep that in mind. Whichever side of the table you’re on whether you’re, you know, on the financial part or in the operating part, I think the more time we can spend trying to understand the different aspects of our business, the better it is for all of us. So when somebody chooses to move the person they love into assisted living, it’s such a different thing from choosing which hotel go to or which house to buy, or a lot of the decisions that we’re used to making when you are choosing where your mom’s going to spend the rest of her life, and can they take care of my mom? And what does it take to do that and take care of her in many, many different ways walking alongside that family to make this happen. I think that that us understanding, I think people coming into this business need to really understand that and want to do that, and not to consider it a nuisance.

Beth Mace: (14:18)
Right, right. Well it’s an intense business in the sense of, you know, you’re caring for people and it takes a certain kind of individual in their leadership as well as in the immediate frontline staff that really can do that effectively, I think.

Brenda Bacon: (14:31)
Yeah, I think so.

Beth Mace: (14:33)
How about any secrets, secret sauces, , that you would share in terms of the success of Brandywine? You mentioned your team.

Brenda Bacon: (14:43)
Yeah. I don’t know that there’s any secret sauce. I think we learn something new every day. I love what I do and I’m blessed to do what I do. I look at every opportunity as a challenge and every challenge as an opportunity, I should say. I look at every challenge as an opportunity and I love figuring it out. I think you need to really see people, pay attention to the development of them, focus on the value that they bring. This is a people business and realize that others don’t. If you unpack problems together and you figure it out together, rather than thinking that everybody else must lose, so that I can win. You know, it’s not that this is a great industry with a lot of great operators, and the more we are competitors, but we should be good competitors in the market. And I think the more we share about the business and anything we’ve learned, and certainly with our financial partners, do that instead of trying to feel like you know it all or you’re, you know, smarter than the other person. I think that kind of transparency is something that we’ve had, we had in our industry for a long time. Maybe less so now.

Beth Mace: (16:07)
Okay. So let’s switch paths a little bit here, and let’s talk a little bit more about you and your career path. So tell us about your career path and any lessons you learned along the way that you might want to share with younger people that might be listening to this call today.

Brenda Bacon: (16:24)
Well, let me figure out how to truncate this.

Beth Mace: (16:32)
We only have a little while.

Brenda Bacon: (16:34)
There’s a question I hate the most. A lot of times when I meet people, they say, tell me about your career. And I’m going like, this is, we’re only having lunch. This is not… So I started out my undergrad degree started out in social work and wanted to change the world. Like every young baby boomer wanted to, especially someone who grew up in Washington D.C., You want to change the world. So I did, when I graduated, I did social work one-on-one in Philadelphia because I wanted to change lives, help lives one by one. I quickly found out that you have to pretty much have power to really change things. And I decided that I wanted to do that differently. I ended up going to university of Pennsylvania Wharton School a tough two years, but worth every, every bit of it.

Brenda Bacon: (17:26)
And came out and worked in a big hospital system in Philadelphia. And then started my own consulting company and my employer was my first client and grew that over the years. I also got involved in politics at that time as a county commissioner and did that, that I hated being an elective office. I just hate. It wasn’t for me. But but successfully did it for, for four years and then, you know, decided I did not want to continue to do that. Grew my company was working a lot in public policy and politics with, governor Jim Florio. He became governor and I worked on his campaign. So in the meantime, developed two nursing homes. I’ve always been kind of quite an entrepreneur, so I like to be doing a lot of different things. So I then went into government in the governor’s office for four years, and then I came out and started Brandywine about a year.

Beth Mace: (18:34)
Ok. So I think we’ve given away a couple of our truths and lies. So let’s talk about those first.

Brenda Bacon: (18:40)
I actually mentioned the schools I should have done.

Beth Mace: (18:42)
No, no, no, no. No worries. So let’s go to that one first. True or false, did you graduate from Hampton College and then go to University of Pennsylvania, Wharton?

Brenda Bacon: (18:51)
I graduated from Hampton, which is Hampton University in Virginia. And the Wharton School, yes.

Beth Mace: (18:58)
Ah, great. Yeah, that was probably, I would imagine challenging two years in the business program there. So, yeah. Congratulations. You’re still probably a proud of that. so let’s go a little bit further on the truth of the, and lie, because this is part of your sort of development of how you ended up doing what you have done. So is it true or false that you’ve always wanted to be in the senior care business because you were inspired by your grandmother?

Brenda Bacon: (19:25)
I had a hard time coming up with something, Beth, that was a lie, you know. Oh, that’s, what do you say? So actually my grandmother was a wonderful woman, but we never ever talked about, or she never made me think about senior living . And so many people talk about how they’re inspired to be in the business because of having a relative, you know, that has been on kind of the receiving end of that. My grandmother taught me a lot of things, but as you can see, the path I took in my career wasn’t headed to senior living. And in fact in most cases, I was more oriented toward children, you know, the access to education and to good healthcare than I was towards seniors. That came for me later.

Beth Mace: (20:12)
Okay, cool. Okay. So let’s get into that a little bit about how it came later. So what, so you’ve devoted what 30 years of your life between nursing homes and then Brandywine into seniors. So what, what’s the switch for that? What caused that inspiration or that caused that desire? Or did it just happen to sort of come upon?

Brenda Bacon: (20:32)
No, I think there are a couple of things that happened to do that when I, when I had my consulting firm, I worked with some hospitals and others when they were developing services for seniors and in my own nursing homes… Because I’m a business person at heart and I don’t know if that belongs in the same sentence of business at heart.

Beth Mace: (20:58)
I hear you

Brenda Bacon: (21:01)
But I’m a business person. And so I was frustrated by having your business decisions and your business controlled by government, dependent on government funds, Medicare or Medicaid, and all of the ins and outs of becoming experts on that and how I felt that they rewarded sometimes the wrong things. And so I wanted to start a business that would be helpful, give seniors an alternative to that, and also to create a better environment and culture. So I did not move into kind of the senior living industry until the early nineties. We built in 80 five, but by the early nineties, I was ready to do something that was more visionary. I thought more you could do, have both, you can have a business that you, but something that you love to do and that you’re changing people’s lives.

Beth Mace: (22:01)
So one of the challenges we have in our industry is certainly labor and talent. So based on what you know now if you were to try to give a pitch to a young person to come into the industry, what would that be?

Brenda Bacon: (22:16)
You know, I think we all can come up with a list of things that we need to do in terms of attracting labor. We’re in the worst kind of labor situation. We’ve seen a lot of nurses have left the industry. A lot of care managers have many, many other opportunities. So we certainly have to show people or somehow raise our profile so that people see this as something they want to go do. They want to be in this business. They want to do these jobs and feel good at the end of the day that they did something rather than fill coffee cups and the Dunking Donuts takeout or something like that. Whatever they may be doing, even Amazon, all honest work. But I’m not sure, at the end of the day, you feel like you’ve really made a difference in someone’s life.

Brenda Bacon: (23:09)
And whether you’re a housekeeper or a care manager or whatever job you do, you should have an impact. And at the end of the day, feel like it was a good day, you know, a good thing that I spent my time doing. And so I think we need to somehow figure out how to do that. We certainly have to be wage involved in giving a living wage and something that people can be proud, show them the growth in the industry. And certainly talking about the demographic growth is one of those things. If you’re looking for an industry where you’re going to be able to move up and you have opportunity. I think senior living is one, but our profile is so low, you know, with you know, with graduates coming out of of undergrad school or just with the day-to-day folks that are out there in the workforce.

Beth Mace: (24:07)
So, you know, if I were listening, I would say, you know, one of those aha moments I was talking about was the idea of being able to do good by doing well or doing well by doing good is what you said. And the fact that you’ve sort of devoted 30 years of your career into this industry sort of inspired me or prompted me to ask that question in terms of talent, because I think that that message can get along, can make its way out there to younger people or middle-aged people or wherever people to want to come and work in our industry. There’s so much that you can get and go home at the end of the day by feeling good about what you’ve actually done and that you have you had purpose. And I think that you’ve sort of just by your comments have sort of re-inspired that in me.

Brenda Bacon: (24:47)
I really feel that way. We have many, many long tenured team members who have been with Brandywine just for a long time. I mean, sometimes I walk in the buildings, you know, and we’re masking up, but you just, you could look and like, you know, I, this person’s been with us for 10 years and they’re happy and they’re smiling and they’re part of the community. And that is a good way also to, to recruit and grow because they have friends that they talk to who probably work at other places where maybe they don’t get that sense of satisfaction. So a lot of our own team members are our best recruiters.

Beth Mace: (25:28)
Right. And part of the community is just not the staff that you’re part of, but it’s part of their resident community too. And that’s the piece that doesn’t always get stated. I don’t think that the, you can gain a lot from working with older people from the wisdom they have, the experiences that they’ve had and you can share, you can incorporate that into your own sense of purpose and wellbeing.

Brenda Bacon: (25:47)

Beth Mace: (25:49)
So, so I know Brenda, you volunteer a lot.

Brenda Bacon: (25:54)
Not as much, not as much as I used to.

Beth Mace: (25:57)
But we’re including a lot of industry trade groups. So why is it important to you to spend time volunteering in our industry?

Brenda Bacon: (26:08)
Because I think our industry is important. I think public policy is very important. I think it has an effect on everyday lives of people whose names we’ll never know or never see, but devoting that time to changing things like access and quality are, are important to me. And I want to always do that. I don’t do as many voluntary things as I’ve done, you know, always done, but I still do it. And I think it’s an important investment of time.

Beth Mace: (26:45)
Well, I know you’ve done stuff for NIC, as well. So personally, thank you for for your contributions, but you’ve been involved with some of the other trade associations as well. So on behalf of all the members, I like to say thank you. So it’s been great. Your contributions have been well noted. So let’s switch a little bit taking a bigger perspective on the industry in general. So in terms of senior housing, what’s your near and longer term view of the sector and what are you concerned about and what are you most optimistic about?

Brenda Bacon: (27:17)
I think long term we will be fine. I mean, we have a demographic tailwind that is most interesting, most of the businesses don’t have. I think that’s our… So long term I think we’ll be fine. Short term, I think there there are a lot of companies going through a lot of pain and that’s certainly a result of the labor situation and also particularly the inflationary situation, the worst in 40 years. So I think there’s a lot of concern now. The margin erosion is significant, I think for everybody. and no one’s going to bail us out, so we kind of have to figure out how to get out of that. And you can’t count on it just changing on its own or going away. But because even if inflation does reduce, you will learn things, tactics and strategies and things that you can do, things you unpack and changes you can make that will benefit you very much. If inflation does finally go.

Beth Mace: (28:23)
What would be an example of that?

Brenda Bacon: (28:26)
I’ll give you one example. We’re looking at food costs, of course. We all see that every night on TV. We experience it every day in our own lives. We have a very upscale menu.

Beth Mace: (28:43)
I’ve seen it. It’s very nice. Yes, it’s very nice.

Brenda Bacon: (28:46)
it’s one of the things that, you know the time… Dining is so important to our residents. It is their social time. It is the one time that they think they have real choice and they have the information to make that choice because they’ve been eating all their lives and have gone to restaurants. So we want them to have those choices. We want them to feel good about that. In different communities, one in particular that I was in yesterday, we decided to say to have a meeting, not the reg regular residents food council meetings that we all have, but to make it part of our activity, part of our Escapades for Life program. So we presented them several dishes and said, would you order this or would you order that?

Brenda Bacon: (29:39)
Or why, or would you never order that? And we kind of… Because it’s a meat and potatoes kind of place, you know. So if you’re on the menu that night, you have ahi tuna, they’ve never eaten that they don’t want to , and so that’s an important thing. Or maybe five of them maybe want it, but not you know, and we get several choices. So while that is in many of our communities, residents can’t wait for that or something with a dema glaze wine sauce, red wine sauce or something like that. We said, let’s take this one community which is in a little bit of a different market and let’s just unpack it. And we have come up with another menu or menu that very much, you know, doesn’t step down on the quality, but, you know, changes out some things that I think will be cheaper than some of the things that we’re buying now. So, but I approach that as how can we make the residents happier because we can’t sit in corporate office and decide what should make them happy. So what makes them happy and if what makes them happy is like going to save us some money as well we win-win and that’s what we want to do. So I think, I’m not sure we would’ve dug as deep as we did and made such a big deal out of it if it wasn’t for the food inflation

Beth Mace: (31:07)
Yeah. And the price of pressures. Yeah. Excellent. That’s really good. Thank you. So NIC has shined a light on the forgotten middle in providing care and housing to middle income seniors. Is this a cohort that Brandywine serves at this at this time?

Brenda Bacon: (31:21)
Not in any meaningful way. I think this is a nationwide policy issue, and we as a country need to do something about this. People not having to be living in poverty and not be able to have access to senior living after they’ve worked hard all their lives and been good tax paying citizens, and they have to bankrupt themselves and go on Medicare or Medicare to get into a nursing home. So we have we have a couple of communities that I would say were more moderately priced, but I don’t know what moderately priced really means for someone who’s, you know, been a government worker or a teacher or something like that, all their lives. So, but I don’t think this is something that our industry can solve by itself. I know a lot of people are working at it, but the numbers are very hard to make work.

Beth Mace: (32:19)
They are, they are. And it’s something that NIC continues to focus on, and we constantly talk about it at our conferences, and we’ll be doing that in the future as well. So how about active adult? Is that a newer area within senior housing, and a lot of multi-family developers and operators are going to that as are some senior housing folks? Is that something that Brandywine’s looking at?

Brenda Bacon: (32:41)
No. We have one independent living community, but it also has assisted living and memory care. And so, you know, trying to define I don’t know what the opposite of Active adult is. Is it inactive adult?

Beth Mace: (32:53)
I know, I know. It’s a touchy word.

Brenda Bacon: (32:58)
I think the key to to the Baby Boomers is going to be choice as we’ve all, I think everybody in the industry knows Baby Boomers are revolutionaries by nature. They’re going to choose what they want. I don’t think they’re going to take a title, like, you know, I’m an active adult, but you know, my next door neighbors an inactive adult, and I don’t know what that even means in day-to-day life. So I think I think it’s going to be a fun time trying to figure out how to talk about Baby boomers.

Beth Mace: (33:32)
Well, we’re not quite there yet with them.

Brenda Bacon: (33:37)
But you know, Beth, for better than 10 years, people have been counting onn baby boomers to solve all the problems.

Beth Mace: (33:45)
I know

Brenda Bacon: (33:45)
And I’m like, baby boomers are so far away from coming into senior housign. It used to amaze me.

Beth Mace: (33:54)
We’ll totally agree with you on that. So getting close to the end of our call. Is there one innovative idea that you have on how to strengthen our industry? It could be related to finance, it could be related to operations locations, anything really.

Brenda Bacon: (34:10)
I think all of those things are important. I think the most important, not the most important, but an important thing for us to focus on is developing better common ground and knowledge between you know, our financial partners and the operating part of the business. I understand the pressures of quarterly earnings, even if you’re just, if you’re meeting with a group of private investors, and certainly if you’re in the public market, and I think many, many financial people understand the operating intensity and challenges of the business, but there’s not… If we would each put ourselves in the seat on the other side of the table and try to just, you know, focus on that, I think we come up with solutions that make us both win. And a lot of times I think in our industry people don’t want do that because they’re just like, I don’t want to let them know this, and I don’t want to tell them that. I’m a very transparent person, so I like transparency. And I think if people work together and we try to figure out how to do that better, that, that it will benefit the industry.

Beth Mace: (35:27)
Great. And on top of everything else you’ve been doing in terms of running a business and volunteering, and you also have a daughter, and let’s focus on her for a second. This is one of the truths or lies. Does your daughter in fact live in London and is she a Masters Pilate instructor?

Brenda Bacon: (35:43)
She is. She’s been in London for 10 years and she married a German. She went to London for a graduate school and decided to stay there. London’s a wonderful place. I I love London. And she has a two-year-old now and I also have a son and he has a two-year-old. Both COVID babies, both born during that period of time when you’re like, oh my goodness, what’s going on out there? They are the light of my life. I never thought about being a grandmother. But you know, what I say now is that it is wonderful because you lose all of that guilt and responsibility. You’re not on first place anymore, and you don’t think that everything you say and do is going to be definitive of their life.

Beth Mace: (36:35)
Right. Yeah. There’s a certain freedom in it. Right.

Brenda Bacon: (36:39)
There is a lot of freedom in it. I just love, love those two little, two girls.

Beth Mace: (36:45)
That’s, that’s wonderful. That’s nice to have each other nice little cousins too.

Brenda Bacon: (36:49)

Beth Mace: (36:50)
So Brenda, I want to thank you so much for your time today. It’s been great conversation. I think our audience will have learned a lot. You’ve given us sort of given me some new inspiration for what I do every day. So thank you. Is there anything you want to say to wrap it up?

Brenda Bacon: (37:03)
No, Beth, I very much enjoyed talking to you as I always do. You know, everybody watches everything you write and say so that we know which way to turn. And it’s very good talking to you.

Beth Mace: (37:16)
Thank you so much.

Brenda Bacon: (37:19)
All righty. See you later. Bye.

Beth Mace: (37:20)

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