Shruti Gurudanti has a commitment to combating isolation that comes from a very personal place. In her youth, she watched her own grandparents suffer from seclusion. During those difficult times, she realized that older adults experience a massive issue with social isolation and loneliness. These experiences shed light on the importance of social interaction and community. And, ultimately, led Gurudanti to develop a solution.
Today, Shruti Gurudanti is CEO and co-founder of Televëda, an organization that is addressing the very issues that impacted her grandparents during her youth. Televëda is a social venture with a mission to combat social isolation for older adults and adults with special needs. This virtual community management platform empowers local civic communities (like senior centers, municipalities and assisted living facilities) with the infrastructure and media needed to manage and scale engaging virtual community centers.
The subscription program, which launched in December, welcomes seniors into a community of like-minded adults that supports their social, mental and physical well-being every day. Members rave that it is the “friendliest community” of active adults, and that it has given them a sense of “meaning and purpose.” Membership has rapidly grown by word of mouth. “Whether it’s a grandparent, parent, friend or anyone, we are here to help them find a friendly and supportive community so they can always live the best versions of their lives, and all from the safety of their own home,” says Gurudanti.
This first-time-ever direct consumer access model was not easily put into place, though. Delivering virtual activities to older adults is a fragmented offering that involves a lot of complex steps. Rather than piecemealing various software and media solutions together, Televëda offers organizations and caregivers the ability to save time and offer peace of mind. This is particularly important now as the pandemic has overwhelmed those organizations that serve the vulnerable.
A recent time audit at municipality recreational centers revealed that even with using Zoom and their own instructors it was still costing organizations around 25–40 hours of additional staff time weekly and $5,000 in additional monthly spend to manage the offerings that Televëda shares. Televëda’s solution is simple. Its end-to-end turnkey platform for civic organizations includes video streaming, calendaring and registration system, plug-and-play media library, live tech support, automated reminder system, custom data reporting, analytics and security and privacy moderation. Televëda has helped frontline workers save 6–15 hours every week while increasing overall attendance and engagement of their online classes.
Now, older adults 65 and up from across the U.S. can directly join Televëda’s online community of active seniors and enjoy more than 50 classes a month via a membership subscription. Programs are geared toward fostering friendships, a sense of community and social connections. Online experiences include live and interactive Bingo, group tai chi, chair yoga, tap dancing lessons, nutrition education, art and watercolor workshops, sculpting, live music performances, book clubs and other social experiences, all led by world-class experts from around the world.
Recently, Televëda ran a successful community engagement webinar series with A.S.U.’s Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute’s Peoria Forward and the City of Peoria to connect local business owners, entrepreneurs, artists and authors with the Peoria community. “Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship On-line Community Catalyst” was a four-part interactive virtual series hosted live at the Peoria Main Library, Sunset Library, Rio Vista Recreation Center and the Sports Complex over the course of four weeks in October. The series was live-streamed through Televëda’s platform so that participants from across the city could safely participate and engage from wherever they were and interact in real time with one another. In this series, the local entrepreneurs of Peoria led a conversation around how they have innovated to survive and thrive, the trends in their respective fields and the available business opportunities in the current tumultuous climate.
“We’re honored to help keep the music playing during these times,” Gurudanti shares. “Challenging times require great leadership, and it’s incredible to see how quickly and effectively the leadership teams have been able to develop and implement a comprehensive digital strategy. My hope is that this event inspires confidence in other organizations to embrace virtual opportunities. Engaging patrons online and beyond the four walls of your building significantly expands your reach. Now people are no longer bound by geography.”
Tyler Butler is the head of Corporate Responsibility for Aventiv Technologies, where she leads programs that positively impact society. She is also founder and principal of 11Eleven Consulting and is often cited as a subject-matter expert by Forbes, SHRM, Entrepreneur, U.S. News and World Report and more.
Speak Your Mind
You must be logged in to post a comment.