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Joy Loverde: “What I do today is important because I am exchanging one day of my life for it”

Leading a purpose-driven life has many rewards. As a thought leader, not only do I touch the lives of thousands of individuals, I also encourage them to follow in my footsteps and become thought leaders in their own right. My investment of time and resources pays off in spades when these individuals go out into the […]

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Leading a purpose-driven life has many rewards. As a thought leader, not only do I touch the lives of thousands of individuals, I also encourage them to follow in my footsteps and become thought leaders in their own right.

My investment of time and resources pays off in spades when these individuals go out into the world and do good things for others.


As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joy Loverde, a best-selling author, keynote speaker, mature-market consultant, entrepreneur, and advocate for family caregivers and people who are aging solo.

A seasoned media spokesperson, you may have seen Joy on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America and listened to her interviews on numerous National Public Radio stations, podcasts, and SiriusXM.

Joy has written hundreds of blogs and articles which are posted on her website (www.elderindustry.com). During her career, she has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, New York Times, Money Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, and a host of others. USA TODAY ran a four-part series on Joy’s family-caregiver programs.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Mycareer path in marketing and media relations switched gears in the mid-1980s when I became keenly aware of complex problems associated with populations of people getting older and living longer, and the need to care for them. Responding to this trend, I wrote my first book — The Complete Eldercare Planner.Random House is the publisher. It is a best-seller in its category and now in its sixth edition.

Ahead of the curve once again, my latest book, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?offers practical strategies on planning for old age and the possibility of aging solo.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

It’s not that I believe I’m an authority about thought leadership, rather individuals, professionals, and the media have labeled me as such.

Here are a few examples of what people say:

  • “You are practical and down-to-earth.”
  • “You write about topics that no one else thinks of.”
  • “I love how you think.”
  • Your work is thought-provoking.”
  • Nobody says it like you do, Joy.”
  • “I look forward to learning where you go next.”

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I have had several wake up calls in my career as an author. One had to do with public speaking.

Early in my keynote career, the notion of people asking me questions during my presentations used to scare me to death. I stuck to the script and played it safe. No Q and A for me.

As time went on, I began to ask myself what’s the worst that can happen if I open the room for questions? Will I appear stupid if I don’t know the answer? Will they have negative comments and take potshots at me? Will they boo me off the stage? My imagination ran wild. And the only way to find out if I had what it takes to do well on my feet is to allow interaction between me and people in the audience.

Long story short, I am now known for my highly engaging and interactive presentations. We laugh together. We cry together. We share and feel connected to one another. People love participating in my programs. And yes, I’ve also learned how to respond to questions I do not know answers to.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is more of an, “Ah ha” moment than a, “Ha ha” moment.

The first edition of The Complete Eldercare Planner was self-published. It took two years of researching, writing, and editing, and then dealing with the printing company. I’ll never forget the day the boxes of books were delivered on my doorstep. My thought was, “Wow. That was a lot of work. I’m so glad that’s over with.” I’m done here.”

The mistake I made was believing that after this long and laborious book-writing task was behind me I could get back to the life I had before I wrote the book. Ah ha! I smile when I think about how naive I was back then.

Lesson learned: When you put your words in writing — in a book or even an article such as this — you must prepare for people to take in what you write about and then respond to you according to their beliefs. In other words, the work has just begun.

Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

I define ‘Thought Leaders’ as individuals who gently nudge people to think outside the box. They are not pushy. They are not loud. They quietly work their magic through the power of asking questions.

How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? Leaders educate, delegate, and empower. Thought leaders open doors to new possibilities.

How is a thought leader different than an influencer? Influencers share a common goal with their audience. Thought leaders facilitate an individual’s success no matter which direction that person wants to go.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader? Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

Leading a purpose-driven life has many rewards. As a thought leader, not only do I touch the lives of thousands of individuals, I also encourage them to follow in my footsteps and become thought leaders in their own right.

My investment of time and resources pays off in spades when these individuals go out into the world and do good things for others.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Business opportunities for thought leaders typically happen the moment you put your thoughts in writing. Publishing a book and writing blogs and articles open doors to consulting opportunities, interviews, interesting projects, and special events — virtual and otherwise.

Besides making money from book sales, thought leaders might also be asked to endorse industry-related products and services. There’s a lot of money to be made in product endorsements.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

  1. Be accessible. If people can’t reach you directly via email, text, or phone, they will give up on you and work with someone who is.
  2. Be generous. People who are stingy with their time are not well-liked.
  3. Be visible. Let people see what you look like. Turn on the Zoom video feature. Attend industry events. Say “yes” to any and all invites to participate in life.
  4. Be disciplined. Create small increment time limits for each task. This way you can get a lot done in one day.
  5. Be social. Do something every day to engage in social media. Say something nice. There’s already enough negativity in the world.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

Al Sharpton, an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host comes to mind. He is known as an outspoken and controversial political activist in the fight against racial prejudice and injustice in America. When he spoke at George Floyd’s funeral, I hung on his every word. I had never seen the preacher side of him before.

What impressed me about his eulogy was several things. He was passionate, yet stern with his criticisms of injustice. He was angry, yet grief-stricken. He allowed his emotions to surface while delivering his precise message. And he never wavered from speaking from his heart.

The lesson I learned is that I, too can effectively deliver a keynote speech no matter how emotionally driven the subject matter may be.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

Can’t we say the same thing about other business buzzwords? Paradigm shift, Outside the box, Low-hanging fruit, The elephant in the room, Run it up the flagpole, Reinvent the wheel, Putting lipstick on a pig. I could go on and on. My feeling about this is I have no feeling about this. I have better and more important things to respond to.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

A sold night’s sleep and a good laugh cure-all. Wake up in the morning energized to help and respect others, and everything else will fall into place as it should. And make sure you surround yourself with positive-minded people.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

With millions of people aging solo, my book, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? sparked a movement called, “Let’s eat together.” Loneliness and isolation are serious health hazards, and sharing meals is an easy way to combat this worldwide crisis.

NOTHING binds us better than sharing a meal. Young and old. Rich and poor. Everybody can participate. Join the “Let’s Eat Together” movement and together we can change our lonely, isolated world one meal at a time.

On my website — www.elderindustry.com — I invite people to send me photos and tell their stories about how the “Let’s Eat Together” movement changed their lives and the lives of others.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Long ago I was reading a magazine article about time-management, and in the middle of one of the pages, the following words stood out: “What I do today is important because I am exchanging one day of my life for it.” Unfortunately, I do not know who to credit for that quote.

The relevancy of this quote plays out in my life every day. These words have such an impact on me that they sit in a picture frame that is placed on my desk as a daily reminder of the preciousness of time.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to spend time with Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who is on a global mission to make a difference in the environment. Where did she get her courage? What led up to her finding her voice for this cause? How does she envision change? What will be her measurement of success?

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: www.elderindustry.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/joyloverde

Twitter: www.twitter.com/joyloverde

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/joyloverde

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