President/CEO, Episcopal SeniorLife Communities
Years in current role: 37
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The people! I am fueled by being around others — whether it’s the residents, their families or our dedicated staff — they energize me. I got into long-term care 37 years ago to help seniors live better lives and that remains my commitment today. I truly enjoy helping individuals, here at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities and beyond. I also enjoy being involved in strategic discussions, and using my talents and experience to help this community — there remains many areas of senior support that require advancement and I am happy to be involved.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
In the face of this national health and social crisis, ESLC has dealt with frequently changing guidelines and regulations, seen the impact of separation on families, felt fear first-hand, and of course, experienced loss. Yet through it all, we have remained dedicated to ESLC’s mission, and working together with our residents, families and staff members — all who have been amazing through COVID-19 while supporting each other — and for that I am extremely thankful. We continue to be led by our well-established values which are at the forefront of all we do. As I reflect upon what occurred in the past year, I will take this experience, and what was learned, and apply that to a new and better future as a “new normal” is defined.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the health care industry in the next 3-5 years?
Consumer expectations and needs are evolving; costs are increasing while the workforce is shrinking. Senior care leaders/organizations need to be agile and innovative. COVID-19 has shocked our industry but there have been advancements that will enhance our programs such as virtual communication/programming and telemedicine — technology will continue to play a key role in service delivery. We must invest in our staff and view senior care holistically by blending clinical care and overall wellness. ESLC is interested in building programs that address the social determinants of health including affordable living options with adaptable supports, and partnering with other providers to design cohesive, sustainable programs that address the important needs and expectations of this growing and deserving population.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
I have served as a volunteer of the Alzheimer’s Association, where I am honorary life board member. I have seen the impact of those with the disease and will continue to support efforts that get us closer to a world without Alzheimer’s. I currently serve as the NYS representative on the national public policy group for LeadingAge and the Sage Commission II locally, and on the board of the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership. I have served on other organizational boards relating to health and senior living including LeadingAge, NY and Al Sigl Center. I try to use my talents and experience to improve the environment for service providers, those they serve and the community. I enjoy learning and strategic discussions that help shape the future and impact our community. Recently, I served on the Geva Theatre Board.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
Now that restrictions have eased, I am enjoying more time with friends and family. I look forward to returning to Geva, RBTL and Bills games! I am a natural extrovert, and gain inspiration and ideas from interactions with others. However, I am most grateful that our residents are able to see their families. It is invigorating to see residents in hallways visiting and back engaging in the activities they love. I am hopeful that we can reinstate all our in-person programs and activities that our residents thrive on. ESLC’s eyes remain focused on additional program opportunities in and around Rochester to meet the growing need for senior care and service options, and that is exciting to me.