Finding Your “Why”: Alzheimer’s Pioneer

Off ers Insights Into His Generation By Sara Wildberger


ocial impact is becoming a necessity to millennials and younger work- ers—they want jobs with meaning. Nihal Satyadev and his group do both.

As a social entrepreneur and biomedical re- searcher, he’s co-founder and CEO of The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s, started in 2015, which gives high school and college students an entry to helping in research, ad- vocacy, and care for people with Alzheimer’s. Chartered after Satyadev’s grandmother

was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the group centers social justice issues—it’s not just for pre-med or social work students, for instance, but also for future policy wonks, therapists, marketers, and more. The group also created a research schol-

arship program and a respite care model program with the University of California at Los Angeles. Senior living leaders can also get involved through the group’s annual fundraising basketball tournament. Here, Satyadev offers insight from his

experience and his peers on how to get something started with younger people— and keep them engaged.

The double bottom-line “Broadly, for younger leaders, the focus is on purpose and the double bottom-line, whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit. The leadership I see is very much around social change,” he said. “That stems from this no- tion that if we don’t create change within our generation, we are the ones who will be facing the brunt of a number of issues.” These include the impact on senior liv-

ing of health care aff ordability as well as of climate change and its related refugee and relocation issues. “People really like to be plugged into the sense of a larger purpose,” and while that’s


particularly true of millennials and younger, it applies to all generations. “They’re looking immediately to fi nd their

why, what drives them to get up in the morn- ing. There’s a broader population of people who would much rather have a better quality of life and engagement than always going for the higher-paying job,” said Satyadev. “That takes the form of wanting to work on a proj- ect that’s going to last beyond my time, of my input being valuable to the overall issue.”

Advice for startups Satyadev had the following advice to off er, from starting his own group as well as work- ing with peer startups: • Know specifi cally what’s out there and what’s already being off ered.

• Know your metrics—what are your mea- sures of success? This includes setting specifi cs on what you hope to get out of it personally.

• What value are you looking to off er? If that value outweighs that you could off er through a normal career trajectory, then it makes sense to start something new.

• Satyadev recommends starting something new when you’re young. But it can also be at the end of your career. The point is to choose a time when your risk is lowest.

The dangers of demand In an environment where demand is increas- ing, there’s a danger of losing sight of what needs to be the top value: quality of life. A combination of competition and legislation could prevent that from happening, but in the end, it’s up to individuals in leadership. Satyadev believes that adhering to the dou- ble bottom line is how both nonprofi ts and for-profi t enterprises, and the people they serve, can thrive.

Change Agent Profi le

Nihal Satyadev CEO and Co-Founder The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s

“There’s so much need, that it becomes a

question of how much do you care? Do you care what their lives are like each day? Do you care about providing purpose, rather than just longevity?” Investing in developing a workforce, cre-

ating opportunities for collaboration among groups and industries to develop best prac- tices, and formally surveying residents and families as well as just listening, can all help beef up the double bottom line.

What younger people want The younger generations in the workforce also engage when they’re working for the overall good. One way is to develop char- itable activities directed by staff or created in collaboration with residents. Another is through offering more edu-

cation and training. The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s is currently helping raise awareness about California’s Care Corps Act (AB568), which would create a pilot for a Peace Corps–type organization for senior care, off ering training and scholarships to young people who serve as caregivers. “It is going to be a big problem very

quickly, so it behooves companies to have an employee workforce to operate with,” Satyadev said.

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