Andrea Nasser, County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency
Each year, the Live Well Advance brings together hundreds of partners and stakeholders to network, learn about new tools and best practices, and participate in breakout sessions. It is an opportunity for leaders from every sector to learn more about advancing our shared vision of a healthy, safe and thriving San Diego region. This year, on October 2nd, over 1,300 Recognized Partners and community leaders engaged with inspiring speakers, participated in informative breakout sessions and made connections with each other in the Connection Hub.
J.R. Martinez, a US Marine Veteran, best-selling author, and motivational speaker, joined the event as the keynote speaker, sharing three principles to stay resilient after personal tragedy: “Have faith something good will come from it, believe something good will come from it, and be positive.” Martinez’ uplifting message was followed by an inspiring plenary session speaker, Mauricio Lim Miller, who spoke about the impact of low income families working together to help themselves and help one another towards sustained upward mobility.
The event also included innovative breakout sessions led by experts across sectors which discussed tools and best practices to make an impact on some of the most pressing issues we are dealing with in San Diego County, including building resilient families, workforce development, worksite wellness, restorative justice, and city planning for public health.
The Connection Hub had exhibitor booths and consultations hosted by Recognized Partners and community organizations. The San Diego County Library signed up over 60 people for library cards. Champions for Health provided free flu vaccinations to more than 70 people. Institute for Public Strategies helped attendees to communicate better with news media and speak in front of a city council by providing feedback on video interviews to improve their public speaking.
Meredith Gibson, Media Advocacy Specialist of the Binge and Underage Drinking Initiative with Institute for Public Strategies shares about her experience, “After the event, we were encouraged to seek new opportunities to share our expertise with others outside of alcohol and other drug prevention programs, people and organizations we may not have otherwise come across if it wasn't for the Live Well Advance.”
The event created an opportunity for attendees to connect and learn more about the work of different organizations in the community. The ultimate purpose was to connect organizations with limited capacity to other organizations and agencies and discuss how to leverage each other’s resources through collaboration to create a higher impact than if each of those organizations were to work alone.
Brian Garbark with Partnerships with Industry is a great example of the connections made at the Live Well Advance. In a follow up interview after the event, Brian shares about his experience below.
1. Can you please tell me about the work Partnerships With Industry does?
Partnerships With Industry exists to create opportunities for more adults with disabilities to enter the workforce in San Diego County. We seek to strengthen our region by promoting community integration and community engagement with the understanding that together we thrive and together we succeed.
2. Have you or your organization ever attended the Live Well Advance?
This year was our first time attending and we were incredibly impressed with the experience. We are already looking forward to next year.
3. Did you make any connections at the event? Have you followed up on these connections?
We made some amazing connections and our booth was busy all day. There were too many to list, but one example was a connection that we made with two individuals from Starbucks’ social impact team that were excited to learn about the work we are doing by providing vocational training, placement and support services for San Diego residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The sense of urgency to work collaboratively was so strong that we scheduled a follow up meeting with them for the following week and are currently working on creating a meaningful partnership to provide additional employment opportunities for San Diego residents.
4. What was your favorite part about the Live Well Advance?
The best part of the Live Well Advance is a three-way tie between two conversations that we had on the meaning of work and the event's keynote speaker. Hearing David Palomino from the Live Well San Diego Support Team telling us about the importance of aligning your passion with your vocation, the amazing inspirational keynote delivered by J.R. Martinez stressing the importance of resilience and Nancy Garcia from Aging & Independence Services talking about the importance of doing something that gives back to the community has us feeling motivated to do even more.
5. What were your expectations of the Live Well Advance and were your expectations met?
We expected to connect with some of our community members and raise awareness about our work. We accomplished that and much more. By sharing our message on inclusion and integration with the event attendees we were able to reinforce the idea that inclusion is everyone's responsibility.
6. How connected to the Live Well San Diego vision do you feel after the event?
To quantify how connected we feel to the Live Well San Diego vision is difficult, but let’s just say that “Connecting the Unconnected to Live Well” is part of our organizational DNA as we work to help people thrive; so we feel uplifted and strengthened to be a small part of the amazing community that is San Diego.