Mary Jo Saavedra lives in Portland, Oregon with her Peruvian husband Jaime, where both enjoy exploring the downtown “foody” scene and hiking in beautiful Forest Park. Her favorite past time is keeping tabs on her daughter Alexandra who has wings, and is currently working in Geneva, Switzerland for the IFRC. She also enjoys her artistic pursuits of photography, quilting and time around the table with friends.
This past year, Mary Jo had the honor of caring for her 92 year young mother, as they together maneuvered the landscape of dementia before her passing. After years as an executor for family and friends, this personal journey with her mother opened the world of Care Management as a deeper calling and work of the heart. “Every elder deserves an advocate, peace of mind, and spiritual space to expand from where they are when life often begins to feel like a sequence of losses.”
In addition to her work as a Care Manager, Mary Jo teaches Gerontology in the Human Sciences department and MBA program at Marylhurst University. She also enjoys providing spirituality and aging work shops for the Franciscan Spiritual Center. Her professional experience spans 25 years, with 10 years of Customer Service in finance and marketing at Intel Corporation and 15 years in the non-profit medical and service sector. Whether at home, in community, or at the office, Mary Jo believes when the work we do is fully integrated with our passions it nourishes us and brings peace to our world.
Mary Jo holds a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Gerontology and a BA in Religious Studies and Philosophy combined with Business Management. She holds certification in Contemplative Spiritual Direction; Vigil Companioning; Aging-in-Place Specialist; and Corporate Gerontology. With a passion for promoting the empowerment of others, Mary Jo consults with individuals and businesses as a Silver Strategist, and is recognized as a National Business and Wellness work shop facilitator.
Susan Cain McCarty lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and four dogs. She has enjoyed a nearly 43-year profession as a mother and a 25-year business career that includes owning a high-tech marketing and marketing communications agency.
When considering a new career, her inspiration came from sharing her father’s journey through his “oldest-old” years as he lived into his 95th year. While much of his aging was engaged and played into his strength of character and joy of living, his final years were challenging. He, Susan and her sister felt unprepared and unable to find sources that could advise on a holistic approach to aging. Science and politics dominate as providers of information and are focused on an “age as loss” paradigm. The personal, social, emotional and spiritual elder are ignored. Believing that aging should be more holistically viewed with emphasis on the gifts of aging, Susan has researched, spoken about and written about her passion—the “oldest-old” or those over 90.
Susan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Gerontology. She is a member of the Marylhurst University adjunct faculty. Susan is a certified Guided Autobiographer (GAB) helping older adults explore and share the wisdom gained through many years, and she has studied “vigiling” through the Sacred Dying Foundation, giving her the skills to attend to and help guide the final, beautiful hours of a person’s life. She is a is also a corporate member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPCGM) providing her with guidelines and “best practices” for creating and implementing holistic plans and programs that deliver peace of mind to older adults and their adult children who care for them.