Lynn Ivey had a successful 25-year career working for Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Wachovia. But then a series of life-changing experiences set her on the path to a new career and a new romance.
In 2003, during her parents 50th anniversary party, Lynn saw how her mother's dementia was worsening and how difficult it was for her father, the caregiver.
Then one of the defining moments of her life happened, which changed her outlook forever: She found a co-worker deceased at home. "I didn't know her well, she worked in another department, but I was out to dinner with her manager who shared she was worried about her because she hadn't shown up for a business trip," Lynn recalls. "Immediately I knew something was wrong. She lived near me so I insisted we go over to her house and then we found her. We were the same age, we were both single and we both lived alone. It was traumatic."
Three weeks later, Lynn was told she needed to shut down her department and let 200 people go. Shortly after that, she was talking with her father and she could hear in his voice how much he was struggling to take care of her mother.
That's when her intuition kicked in again and she knew she had to make a change. Now Lynn is the CEO and Founder of The Ivey, a nonprofit she opened 10 years ago as a tribute to her mother and her father. The Ivey is Charlotte’s only Memory Wellness Day Center. It provides daytime care and programs for people living with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and other dementias.
A talented group - including life enrichment activity professionals, on-site nurses, licensed rehabilitation services staff, and an culinary team - provide socialization, stimulating activities, healthy meals, and wellness services. These services allow caregivers to hold jobs, continue friendships, and refresh from the responsibilities of providing constant care. Details: www.theivey.com.
"Alzheimer's is a disease that effects the whole family, so it needs to support the whole family," Lynn says.
Although she feels like she has everything in the world that she ever wanted, including a first-time marriage in her late 50s to the love of her life, fellow entrepreneur John Moore, Lynn does think about what's next. "I have been given so much in the way of people believing in me and donating to my nonprofit that I want to do that for others. I'm also thinking about the next generation and who takes on my business from here. But the most important thing to me now is that I spend quality time with my husband."
Lynn shared some of her other passions, from her favorite beauty products to words of wisdom - and the surprising place she loves to shop - in a Q&A with The O Report.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
Beaches and mountains.
What's your favorite hotel in the world?
The Greenbrier resort hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It's like a little town. There's so much to do and so many restaurants. And the spa is fabulous. It was also a favorite place of my parents.
What are your wardrobe staples?
Skinny jeans or a little black dress.
How would you describe your personal style?
What are some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
My black, tan, blue, or white jeans.
What’s your most treasured accessory?
My engagement and wedding rings from my husband.
What are your must-have beauty products?
Revision Intellishade tinted moisturizer with sunscreen and bronzer powder from Vincent Longo.
How do you protect your skin from the sun?
For the last 10 years, sunscreen and hats. I have a brimmed hat style that works well on me. When I find something I love I buy extras, so I have them in multiple colors - orange, pink and black.
What are some of the best beauty tips you’ve learned?
Wash your face every night and drink lots of water.
What's your favorite restaurant for a big night out?
BrickTop's or Burtons Grill & Bar.
What’s your favorite brunch spot?
What’s your favorite restaurant for lunch?
What are some of your favorite books?
The 5 Love Languages, The Celestine Prophecy and The Secret.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Pretty Woman, The Bucket List and Hallmark Christmas movies.
What's the biggest mistake people make when hosting a party?
Having too much food.
What's your favorite host/hostess gift to bring to a party?
A really nice bottle of wine.
What’s your design style?
What would you like to bring back in style?
Paper invitations and handwritten thank you notes.
What does every room need?
How do you stay in shape?
Drinking lots of water, working out with a personal trainer at my home and walking most days.
What brings you joy?
Spending quality time with my husband and my girlfriends.
What do you love about this stage of your life?
Wisdom and experience.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
What was one of the defining moments in your life?
My wedding to my husband.
What inspires you?
Bringing moments of joy to others.
What would others be surprised to know about you?
I struggle with identifying and trusting my intuition. When I do, it’s always the right thing.
Do you have a motto or words that you live by?
There are no coincidences, but rather synchronistic events that help guide our life’s journey, if we pay attention.
Which rules do you suggest breaking?
Any words of wisdom?
Just believe that all is well and the best is coming.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Starting a business always requires more money than you think.
What's the best way to talk to someone with Alzheimer's?
Always introduce yourself. Be as normal as you can. Don't ask them if they remember when something happened or an experience you shared together. We can't bring them into our world so we need to go into their world. Treat them like anyone else because they can sense your energy. In most cases, their social graces remain intact. So just smile and shake their hand. Let them introduce themselves to you. If they repeat something three or four times, just go with it. They are themselves, they're just different than they used to be.
What is the secret to your success?
Passion, perseverance and eternal optimism.