We’re so excited to kick off our leaders who inspire us through change series, highlighting business leaders and entrepreneurs we’ve worked with, who continue to lean into change and innovate!
First up is Angela Burton, founder of Feet to the Fire Writer’s Workshop®. Our consultant Stacey Servo, also founding member of Wild Accelerator, worked with Angela in the first Wild cohort to help build awareness, identify funding opportunities, and develop marketing strategies. Our team continues to serve on an advisory level as FTTF evolves and launches new products and services.
Why did you create Feet to the Fire and who do you serve?
Since 2015, Feet to the Fire Writers’ Workshops® (Feet to the Fire), a woman-owned small business, has provided a licensed expressive writing program designed to improve life purpose in senior/assisted-living communities and wellness organizations in seven states covering the west, midwest, and south regions of the U.S. The program currently serves 31 senior living sites and nonprofit organizations, designed for older adults to engage in writing thousands of personal stories. These stories provide people with the chance to capture their own lives authentically, and also leave behind a lasting legacy for their families.
What business challenges are you facing post-COVID?
With the onset of COVID, Feet to the Fire’s ability to grow its offerings in senior living communities was directly impacted, due to restrictions within those communities (residents cannot typically congregate in groups and must maintain social distancing, etc.). Additionally, the senior living industry’s revenues are impacted by COVID, as resident care and safety is top of mind. Care staff are also stressed in additional responsibilities related to safety requirements. Much of senior living programming and activities have been curtailed, which directly affects programs like Feet to the Fire.
What led you to decide to launch the podcast? What inspired you?
In June 2020, Feet to the Fire launched its podcast, Feet to the Fire Writers’ Workshops® OUTLOUD, to give voice to those people within the program with a simple goal – allow them to share their stories and help people feel valued, cherished, heard, and connected. Because COVID has affected an already invisible population – aging adults – we knew that their voices needed to be uplifted! We also realized the podcast would offer us a valuable brand extension for our company as well as our existing clients.
Change and launching new products is scary. What drives you to continue to take risks and innovate?
We are driven by our social mission – to provide a meaningful program for people to express themselves through writing. The research tells us that writing is a useful tool for improving social/emotional and cognitive wellbeing. With the tragedy of a global pandemic, we know that people need resources such as ours to help them feel connected and heard, to bring them self-awareness and purpose, and to support their mental wellbeing. We simply could not give up, we had to move forward especially at this time of need.
Who inspires you?
Just one? I am inspired by many of the companies in the senior living industry who have not given up, yet pivoted to provide valuable relief to both caregivers and our most valuable asset – our older generation.
How can people learn more about Feet to the Fire and your new podcast?
Feet to the Fire is readying a consumer-facing product that will continue to inspire people to author their life stories, and a virtual platform to connect writers in organized groups to share their meaningful stories, thereby decreasing social isolation brought upon by the global pandemic. More details to come…
Since 2015, Open-i has been collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs and business leaders like you to positively navigate change. More than lending a hand over this turbulent period, we want to help in the best way we know how, by providing you with clarity, confidence and concrete tools to embrace the seasons ahead.
If you are experiencing challenges and need help navigating changes, Open-i is offering FREE 60-minute strategy sessions with our senior consultants. Simply click on the link below to schedule your session.