by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]
After 16 years as chief executive of AgingNext, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping seniors age in place, Floy Biggs has announced she’ll be leaving for greener pastures.
But it’s not like she leaves the organization in disarray; after a months-long application and interview process, his heir was named earlier this month: Abigail Pascua, an AgingNext employee of 22 years.
On Monday, the COURIER sat down with Pascua – whom everyone but her parents call Abby – and she opened up about herself, how she ended up at AgingNext and what she hopes to accomplish in her new functions.
Before immigrating from the Philippines, Pascua earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1997. While she was determined to use her degree and find a job in technology, her heart was elsewhere, helping the elderly.
“Somehow my passion for serving people, especially the elderly, has always been a calling, has always been a goal for me,” she said. “Maybe because I grew up with them.
“I grew up with a lot of older adults. My parents were much older when they had me and then I lived with my two aunts who were over 60 at the time,” she said. “It was really growing up just listening to their stories, I still have that passion and heart to listen to their stories.”
She recalls that at a young age, rather than playing outside with her cousins, “I’d rather just sit with the elders and listen when they talk about the past… It’s so nice to relive.”
In April 1998, Pascua immigrated to Ontario, California.
After a year of job search, Pascua thought he had found his calling in La Verne. Able to combine her passion for helping the elderly with her knowledge of computers, Pascua began working as a reservations agent for Get About Transportation, a senior transportation service offered by the Pomona Valley Transportation Authority.
But about 10 months into the gig, Pascua’s supervisor asked her if she wanted to apply as an administrative assistant for Claremont’s Community Senior Services, which was rebranded AgingNext in October 2019.
His answer was “Of course, why not.” “I applied, I interviewed and the next thing I know I’m walking into this office, not here but in La Verne,” she said. “And I have no idea who community services for seniors are. I thought I was going to replace the administrative assistant at Get About Transportation…at that time.
But it was nothing like that; Pascua would leave her position at Get About and instead transfer to Community Senior Services, which had a partnership with Get About Transportation.
“Then I found out like ‘Oh yeah, I’m working for Community Senior Services now,'” she recalled. However, this oversight was the start of his decades-long career.
“I started as an administrative assistant 22 years ago and from there I worked my way up,” she said. “Every day, do [the work], answering the phone, giving information, helping these seniors and their families becomes a bit like, “I love what I do.” And that’s gratifying for me. »
Pascua has been with AgingNext through the highs and lows of the past two decades. She witnessed the transformation of Community Senior Services into AgingNext, but saw both nonprofits suffer numerous funding cuts, which also sparked creative fundraising responses.
In 2016, Pascua was promoted to office manager of AgingNext, adding to her lineup of titles over the years. Prior to taking on her new role, Pascua was previously operations director for her transportation program, Ride and Go.
When Biggs announced her departure, Pascua was vice president of AgingNext.
Knowing that the position of president and CEO would not be given to her, Pascua applied like many other candidates. When news broke she would be the association’s third CEO, Pascua said. “It was really exciting,” and noted that being with AgingNext for 22 years shouldn’t make his transition to CEO difficult.
“Instead of thinking ‘Oh I’m scared, I don’t know anything.’ I’m more… excited because we can do next,” she said, “What will be the next exciting opportunity for us under my leadership?”
Although Pascua thinks she has big shoes to fill, outgoing CEO Floy Biggs knows Pascua can easily fill them.
“I think she has the full support of the team here, so I think that’s key. And she has the full support of the board,” Biggs said. “AgingNext team for 22 years. We’ve been in a very close partnership for the past 16 years…I think they deserved this opportunity.”
Biggs knows she will bring a number of positive attributes with her to the role, and said Pascua is “very smart, very capable,” has an institutional history and knowledge of AgingNext, and is “likeable, easy to talk to.” live and has great partnerships in the community.
Biggs, fairly quickly swapping the sunny coast of California for the vast acres of Texas, offered Pascua a few words of farewell.
“Keep the mission going,” Biggs said. “What we are doing here to help seniors age in place is so essential…It will be very successful and the organization will continue for another 100 years.”
Pascua hopes to do just that. Although she wants to touch on a few points, her and the staff’s immediate attention is on the nonprofit’s strategic plan.
“We have to continue this. We are going to be in the second year of this strategic plan and there are many exciting projects ahead of us,” said Pascua. “It’s a great model for me to see where we can improve our programs and services.
“And the next thing is the expansion of our memory care center,” she added, which the council hopes to include in the plan.
However, Pascua’s first task as CEO is to get to know her colleagues more personally so she can find a style of leadership that benefits everyone in the future.
Pascua effectively becomes AgingNext’s third CEO on Saturday, May 28, and shared that while she’s more excited than nervous about the new title, she’s just looking forward to getting down to business.
Pascua can still be reached at [email protected] For more information about the nonprofit, visit https://agingnext.org.