It’s 75 degrees under a cloudless sky and a hot desert wind rips a man’s hat from his head outside the Tropicana Hotel before slapping it against a taxi cab windshield. I’m inside that taxi and scream like a little girl when the hat slams into the car, fearing the worst — Armageddon, the end of days, zombie hats — before realizing it’s a natural occurrence I’m experiencing: Las Vegas in the springtime.
It’s an hour later inside the Tropicana, and Jesse Slome is working the long-term care industry into a frenzy. Part pitchman, part evangelist, Slome, the executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care, is receiving a lifetime achievement for his LTCI activism.
Slome relays a life philosophy to the crowd: “Some people see a glass of water as half full,” he says. “Some see it as half empty. As a New Yorker born and bred, I see it as, ‘Who stole my (expletive) glass of water.’”
That joke is a lead in to a point Slome wants to make. Actually, that he wants to hammer home: “Get Over It!” That three-word phrase is the slogan for the ninth National LTCI Producers Summit being held April 3-5, at the Tropicana.
Slome, who was responsible for the marketing campaign behind Beanie Babies, knows how to deliver a message.
He stands behind a podium that has become his pulpit and uses an oratorical call-and-response delivery that would make a tent preacher proud.
- “It’s been a brutal 12-18 months with major companies leaving and rate increases followed by rate increases followed by rate increases followed by rate increases. Get over it.”
- “We not only have to get over the past of what’s happened,but understand it might happen again. Things are always going to change. Get over it.”
- “Whatever the numbers are — get over it.”
- “Whatever the bad attitude is — get over it.”
- “So the industry is smaller than in the past. Get over it.”
- “It’s harder than in the past. Get over it.”
- “It’s different than in the past. Get over it.”
- “People today aren’t just picking up the phone and calling you. They’re going online. If you’re not getting savvy about Internet marketing, get over it, because the consumer is.”
- “If you’re not understanding what consumers are looking for today, which isn’t what they were looking for six weeks ago — get over it.”
“I ask you to get over all of the things that hold you back. Get over all the preconceived notions and attack this business with passion, and with gusto and with fervor and if you do that, there’s no reason you won’t have a great year!”