24 Sep 2020
Get to Know Our Expert Trainers – James Ashton
We had the exciting opportunity to sit down and learn more about SAGECare trainer, James Ashton.
How and why did you get started as a SAGECare certified trainer?
In 2015, I began working with eldercare clients as an LGBT marketing consultant, and through that work, realized the importance of cultural sensitivity training. During that time, I observed my first SAGECare management training, which left me feeling moved and inspired to become more involved with SAGE. It struck me just how significant and urgent the challenges are facing LGBT seniors in the U.S., and felt called to bring their stories out into the world. I have been a certified SAGECare for approximately three years and have found it to be incredibly fulfilling work!
Tell us why you feel LGBT cultural competency training is essential?
I have been a caregiver to two elderly parents, and through that experience, I know how hard it can be to get older with the health challenges and loss of independence that aging brings. Now to think that older LGBT people (and other marginalized communities) have an additional burden to bear in fearing discrimination as they enter the eldercare system is tragic. However, this training can make a huge difference. I believe education is vital for improving the quality of care for LGBT older adults, and I know it helps because I have seen SAGECare training results. There is a transformative power to be found by walking in other people’s shoes. By hearing other people’s stories, we can understand that we are ultimately all one human family with the same needs.
Every elder has the right to be respected and honored for who they are.
What is your background?
I spent 20 years as a media and marketing executive before moving into life coaching, executive coaching, and corporate training.
What is the best story you can provide from your training experience with SAGECare?
One of the LGBT seniors who appears in training on video, Freeman, attended a training in person in Rhode Island last year. His cameo appearance was significant for me since I had watched him his story many times. More importantly, it was very moving for the 30 attendees to meet the man in the training video in person. Everyone was so motivated to bring the learning they had that day back to their senior living communities. It was such a powerful day.
What advice do you have for allies?
Let’s be careful of assumptions we make about each other. We can all learn more when we truly listen.
James Ashton is a professional coach and workshop facilitator, with a passion for helping people to unleash their own greatness. After a twenty-year career in corporate America and his own successful start-up venture, James turned to professional coaching as way to combine his extensive business experience with a lifelong interest human development, psychology and spirituality. Learn more about James at www.ashtoncoach.com