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The Longevity Market in a Time of Change

Susan Donley March 23, 2020
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As Stria marks its second anniversary, our founder reflects on the field, the future and her own next steps.

Two years ago, I founded something new for the growing longevity market. This fast-changing field needed a place to come together to learn about one another and collaborate. Through Stria, I hoped to build a new kind of longevity network—a media platform to bring together a cross-section of leaders, thinkers and innovators in aging.

Today, Stria is just that. Thanks to the nearly 80,000 longevity market professionals who have read strianews.com, the site has become a place to learn new things, share ideas, and discover new ways of thinking about the challenges and opportunities of our aging society. 

From nonprofit and association executives to business leaders and founders to consultants and vendors, the Stria community reflects the depth and diversity of the market itself. Our readers make up a distinct, multi-sector network like no other in our field.

I’m proud that friends of Stria include some of the most informed and influential people in the field. Our roster of 25 organizational partners and 150 contributing experts is a who’s who of the longevity market.

Lessons From the Past Two Years

The longevity market has changed in the two years since Stria launched. I’ve seen positive movement in many areas, but know that we have a long way to go in building a comprehensive system of services, products, supports and opportunities that takes full advantage of changing demographics.

I’ve noticed a significant shift in the way our field approaches its work, moving from a deeply siloed approach to solving problems in insolation, toward a more integrated vision of cross-sector collaboration.

To me, this is one of the most important changes for our field and is critical for the future. We need to work more closely together, sharing innovation and perspective with peers from all parts of the field. And we need reach beyond our core community to bring more disciplines into the longevity market. Our field is growing quickly, but we cannot do it alone.

I’ve also witnessed a shift in public perceptions about aging and older people. From the increase in intergenerational programs and businesses to the explosion of news coverage around aging issues, it seems that the world is finally starting to wake up to the realities of longevity.

Of course, we’re far from where we need to be. Ageism is still lurking—and in some cases these days, is happening in plain sight.

Negative and harmful perceptions of aging inform nearly everything we do in our field. They are manifest in everything from public policies to health care decisions to corporate hiring practices. These and the many other ways in which we devalue older people, rob our society of significant capacity and potential. We must change these harmful biases—and it is our responsibility as longevity market professionals to lead the way.

Moving Forward in Times of Change

The longevity market today is in the midst of crisis and rapid change. The coronavirus pandemic has put many of us on the front lines of an unprecedented public health crisis and has thrown others into uncertainty about our products and businesses.

I have never been more proud to work in aging. In recent weeks, I have seen heroic efforts from many of you across the field to serve your residents, clients and customers; to sacrifice the short-term needs of your businesses to assure safety of peers and the older people with whom we work. Thank you for everything you are doing.

It is in this context, that I share a professional change of my own. I am stepping down from Stria to play a new role in the longevity market at the national association of aging services providers, LeadingAge.

Founding Stria has been among the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to our team of journalists, developers, designers and marketers who helped grow Stria to what it is today. And I thank all of our subscribers, sponsors and advertisers for your partnership and support.

As we find a new home for Stria, you can continue to find our content and reporting at strianews.com. I look forward to seeing our network thrive as this next phase takes shape.

Stay strong, longevity market!

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Susan Donley

Susan Donley is Publisher and CEO of Stria. She is dedicated to improving the lives of older people through powerful media and communications. Previously Susan served as Publisher and Managing Director of PBS's Next Avenue.

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