Personal Strategies for Navigating Changing Times

More than 140 prospective residents of Kendal communities gathered online Thursday morning, May 28, to learn how to draw on their untapped strengths from an expert in the aging services field.

“Thanks to Judy Sorum Brown who spent time with the Kendal family helping participants of an online webinar discover ‘Personal Strategies for Navigating Changing Times,’” says Colleen Ryan Mallon, Kendal’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Her personal stories about a time when she got through a very difficult situation, and what she learned from that experience to help identify her inner strengths, today set the stage for our time together. She walked us through how we can all do the same things if we ask ourselves the right questions.”

The work Judy shared from Lucy Hone regarding resiliency led to these three ideas:

  1. Life is hard. Don’t deny that. Silver linings are nice to find, but they don’t make hard things, not hard.
  2. Hunt for the good. Especially when times are hard, it is critical to try to find things that are positive.
  3. You can grieve for things lost and live fully simultaneously.

Judy also shared wisdom learned from Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of his ship Endurance, when they became stranded in Antarctica.  She focused on these lessons:

  • Understand that you may have to leave your valuables behind, and take only what is essential — so use this time to determine what is essential?
  • The purpose of the journey could change — acknowledge that and then focus on the new purpose.
  • Work reflectively stronger — in these times, for example, perhaps keeping a journal of how we are feeling will help to reflect on where we are now, and where we want to be.
  • Work collectively stronger — why struggle with things alone when there are people who can help?

Participants were offered opportunity to ask questions throughout the program. Judy is generous in sharing a video recording of this program.


Judy recites or mentions the following poems, books and videos during the presentation.

Story Lines

Some time back,
the story-line
we had in mind
into some brambled place.

And we were left
beset by our anxieties
about where the path
had gone,
wondering with our feet,
as still we edged along
into foreign terrain
that has an odd appeal
as it turns out:

Unexpected joys,
created out of
mutual confusions;
and grievings shared and hidden,
creeping out of what
never came to be
that we had counted on;
strange stories
that we used
to guide us;

myths that promised
trails we never found;
and improvised stories
that grow out of the
gifts and tragedies
of a life
we never had expected.

Poem from The Art and Spirit of Leadership

The Endurance: History’s Greatest Shipwreck

Book on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition by Rochelle Pennington

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water

Man’s Search for Meaning

This Poem Should Be a Circle

I wish you the ability to breathe
after pain, to begin again, though
nothing else seems possible.

I wish you resilience: to part like
the ocean and accept like the sky,
to be held like a root.

I wish you survival: to take in life
like a trapped miner finding an
airhole and praising it as God.

I wish you courage: to ask of
everything you meet, “What
bridge are we?”

I wish you chances to listen:
to all that holds us up.

I wish you the-kindness-that-you-are
coming to brighten your face
like orange leaves scattered
at the end of fall.

I wish you endless journey that
seldom appears as we imagine.

I wish you curiosity: to make a
boat of wonder and an oar
of gratitude.

Poem from The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting

About Judy Sorum Brown

As a Quaker, she is interested in processes that incorporate reflection and inquiry. Judy will lead a conversational exploration to help participants draw on their own inner strengths and recall when they have exhibited those strengths. And she will share examples of useful strategies and encourage participants to follow up by developing greater awareness of their own capacities to deal with these changing times.

A former White House Fellow, Judy’s work with organizations revolves around themes of leadership, change, learning, dialogue and creativity. She has served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Dean and Director of Executive Programs of the College of Business and Management at the University of Maryland, and Vice President for Seminars and Cooperative Programs at the Aspen Institute.

An expert in the aging services field, Judy helped develop the LeadingAge Leadership Academy program. She also created and has worked with Kendal’s Leadership Fellows Program since its inception in 2012.

You can learn more about Judy’s background and expertise at