Today I’m headed to Dallas, Texas where I will be speaking at the Women’s Food Service Forum. When Susan Masters from National Speakers Bureau called me about this event, she said, “Are you aware that more women reach the highest levels of leadership in food service than in any other industry in the U.S.?”

When I said, “I was not aware of that,” I was thinking, “Are you aware that I speak about caregiving?”

Susan went on to tell me that 2,500 women will attend this three-day conference. Some of the country’s leading experts will speak on business and leadership-related topics. Here’s the thing that’s exciting to me. The Forum has established “Communities of Interest” by polling their members and asking them to identify areas outside of their careers where they need education, training or support. This year one of the topics is caregiving. (That’s where I come in.)

As we all know, when a woman is working a full time job, raising children and taking care of an elderly parent or a sick spouse, the load gets unbelievably heavy. However, the cost isn’t just personal. It is estimated that the cost to corporate America in lost productivity, turnover, reduced work hours, etc., is as high as $33 BILLION a year.

The good news is that there is awakening happening in this country about the importance and the value of family caregivers. It won’t happen overnight, but when business and government collectively agree that caregivers are playing a key role in our nation’s economy, things will start to change. Those of us who are in a position to advocate for increased caregiver support and services will wedge our toes into the crack of the door and hopefully, before long, we’ll be invited into the room!