As Tammy Barker, RN, has climbed through the ranks in long-term care nursing, there have been literal obstacles.
When Diane Carter was 14 years old, she volunteered as a candy striper at a nursing home near her home in Denver.
The mother of 5-year-old twins and president of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing in California, Kari Olson epitomizes work-life balance.
When he's not busy working to improve the quality of life of residents at Sunrise Senior Living's more than 300 assisted living communities, Ed McMahon, Ph.D., can often be found perfecting his recipe for mulligatawny soup or planning his next trip overseas with Wade, his husband of 30 years.
Growing up in a quintessential New England town with extended family all around, Barbara Gay always appreciated the rich relationships she had with older adults.
As a child, Melissa L. Martin, M.D., MPH, was a singer who performed at Lincoln Center, a part of attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The school is known as the basis for the setting of the movie "Fame."
While he was growing up in Washington, D.C., there was a running joke in Clifton Porter's family. His mother would go on a "work trip," and his family would say that "six months later there would be news" from the region where she went.
Growing up in a big family, Deborah Green's tenacious spirit developed out of necessity: "As one of six kids, I was always vying for my parents' attention," says the executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer at the Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association.
While Brown University Professor Vince Mor's accomplishments may be heralded in the long-term care profession, what may be less known is his dedicated work with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.
Of Carol Scott's many accomplishments, there is one that is a particular highlight: enabling nursing home residents on ventilators in her home state of Missouri to receive treatment.
If there's a prevailing theme around the hours American Health Care Association senior fellow Elise Smith keeps, it's that they are constant.
Michael D. Gore made great strides professionally this spring, but it also was a season of sadness for the rising long-term care leader. His grandmother died at the age of 87 after spending her last weeks in the Lincoln Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Hamlin, WV. Gore was the center's executive director at the time.
When Gayle Doll began her career, she set out on a completely different path from the one she is on today.
As the youngest of four children in a small rural town in Minnesota, Neal Larson grew up in a tight-knit circle where hard work and putting family first were cherished values.
When Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) was around 4 years old, she asked for a doctor's kit. But growing up in a working class family in Glen Burnie, MD, the future nurse and Congressman didn't know how to pursue her healthcare dreams.
Everything Mary Leary needed to know about tenacity and resilience, she learned at home. Her father lived a full life despite injuries from World War II that left him fully disabled and forced him to relearn how to walk and talk.
For those who work with Medicare beneficiaries, Judith Stein is a well-known powerhouse. Since founding the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 1986, she's led numerous major cases involving Medicare denials.
If a Ciena Healthcare Management facility feels especially homelike, it's possibly because of Kay Peruski.
It could have been fate that led Leonard Russ to healthcare. No one will really know. But what it wasn't was expected.
As a child, Adrienne Mims, M.D., MPH, thought about being a lawyer. But when her beloved grandmother died of cervical cancer when she was in high school, she redirected her attention to a career in healthcare.
When he entered nursing school, Steve Proctor was answering a call to serve others that he first heard years earlier. As a child growing up near Lake Huron, Proctor suffered from severe allergies and asthma and was in and out of doctors' offices. A series of shots helped him overcome his condition, and he saw that healthcare workers could change lives.
Although he is one of the preeminent leaders in the field of aging, at least one of his friends says Judah Ronch is an under-recognized architect of nursing homes' culture change movement.
Close to 50 years ago, John F. Taylor made two important decisions. First, he married his wife, Paula. Then, he left college roughly 10 credit hours shy of graduating.
Stephen McAlilly, CEO and president, Mississippi Methodist Senior Services
After more than two decades rising through the ranks at the Joint Commission, Gina Zimmermann's career can partially be ascribed to ethics instilled by her parents.
For a man who describes himself as a "shy nerd" drawn to data and analytics, Christopher E. Laxton has mastered the role of leader.
Of the many remarkable moments in Aysha Kuhlor's life, one of the biggest arrived in 1994. She went to a party in New York City a week before she was planning to go back to London, where she had a job and was in nursing school. She met a man named Francis. They were married six weeks later. As to why she agreed to stay in the United States and get married, "I think it was all the promises," Kuhlor says, laughing.
If your first role model is a parent, then Mike Rich, 49, learned early what it takes to be a long-term care administrator. His mother, Donna, "was the type of administrator who went to work early," he says. "Back then, administrators did a lot of the hands-on work. They did rounds, they made beds. "She would come home and feed the six of us and then go back to do dishes. In the '70s, she was a regional director of operations in a time that most of those executives were men," he says.
Ron Arrison knows why he works at the interdenominational King's Daughters and Sons Home. "I believe God sent me here," he says. The former hospital administrator says he planned to stay a year. That was in 1987.
Over the past 63 years, 11 presidents have come and gone, wars have been won and lost, and the long-term care industry has experienced a roller-coaster of changes. But one thing has remained consistent: Nora Morant has served residents at Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of the Jewish Association on Aging.
From an early age, Joseph Isaacs has strived to make people proud.
As a first-year social worker, Roxanne Galloway often lay awake worrying about her future.
There may be nobody more imbued in the policy of Medicaid than Matt Salo.
Frankenmuth, MI, is a quaint Bavarian village about 90 miles north of Detroit that draws tourists from around the United States and Canada.
What most people know about Francis Kirley pertains to his success: how he is the American Health Care Association PAC chairman, and how he created one of the top 25 nursing home chains in the United States, Nexion Health.
As the ranking Republican member on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Bob Corker has witnessed firsthand the debates on antipsychotic legislation, long-term care financing and chronic illness.
Convincing medical students to go into geriatrics is a tough sell, which Joseph Ouslander, M.D., knows better than anyone.
Robin Arnicar has been on an accelerated life plan. By age 6, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. By 17, she had started working in her first nursing home as a licensed practical nurse. At 18, she was married. By the time she was 22, she was a divorced single mother who owned a home.
From an early age onward, Judy Feder learned how to stick up for herself. The third of four girls raised by an English immigrant salesman and a bookkeeper mother, Feder says she was told by her father to "stand up for what I believe in, speak out and always look people straight in the eye."
While some government officials might dream of their retirement days to be filled with globe-trotting, for Sheila Lambowitz, travel couldn't wait.
From his days as a child to running around the halls of UHS centers to running after his own children, Neil L. Pruitt Jr. has always balanced family and work.
The new leader of the American Hospital Association's Governing Council for Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation has been a chief executive officer for the past 15 years. But at her core, Patricia Ostaszewski still considers herself a nurse.
Kathleen Wilson, Deputy Director, Division of Nursing Homes, CMS
At LeadingAge's 50th anniversary celebration in October, Howard Washburn was applauded, thanked and much sought after.
If you ever find yourself in the company of Joe Steier, you might get lucky and be treated to a delicious meal at Bearno's, a Louisville, KY, favorite among locals for decades.
Marsha Greenfield, VP of Legislative Affairs, LeadingAge
Should a visitor ever go into labor at eldercare's St. Leonard Franciscan Living Community in Centreville, OH, never fear: The executive director knows his way around a delivery room.
Mary Naylor, Ph.D., RN, Chairwoman, Long-Term Quality Alliance
Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, U.S. Congress (R-PA)
David Gifford, M.D., Senior VP, Quality & Regulatory Affairs AHCA