When Susan Hildebrandt discusses the challenges facing many working parents in the long-term care workforce, empathy comes up a lot.
A few days before Christmas in 1991, Chris Perna passed out in a work cafeteria and woke up in an emergency room.
A chance conversation with a pharmacist changed Frank Grosso's life.
Steve Fromm's journey to long-term care administrator and board chairman of the American College of Health Care Administrators is one that has crisscrossed oceans and states.
If there's one aspect of Alise Ionashku's childhood that stands out, it's the desire of her and her three older brothers to make their immigrant parents proud.
Benjamin A. Breier may be at the helm of one of long-term care's industry giants as the president and CEO of Kindred Healthcare. But in one big way, he's similar to many of his employees. Work-life balance is "without a doubt, the biggest personal challenge," the father of three daughters says.
As the oldest of eight children growing up in Macedonia, Idriz Limaj, RN, understood the importance of taking care of people. While he planned to become a physician and had completed vocational nurse training, at age 17 his plans changed after his father had a stroke and became bedridden.
Of all the adjectives that may come up when talking to Niles Godes — terms such as "wonky" and "poodle owner" — what doesn't immediately spring to mind is "skilled hunter."
One thing is sure: Doug Burr has few peers, if any, in how he studies and calculates ways to better care for people, and get policy right.
As Beth Mace has moved along her path with the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, the journey has become personal.
During college, when Israel Ray ran track and field and specialized in the 110-meter hurdles, his coach noticed he would do whatever it took to win during a practice.
Ask The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living CEO Jay Zimmer about his hobbies, and he'll mention he's been a long-time runner who also enjoys hiking and cycling.
While many in the long-term care nursing profession know of Betty Frandsen's long career, they may not know she wakes up early each day to attend to her "horse nursing home."
Studying Lithuanian was a large part of Ruta Kadonoff's Saturday mornings while growing up in Connecticut. One of three girls born to native Lithuanians, her parents left the country during World War II and immigrated to the U.S. from London in 1960.
There's a running joke in the association management community that no kid dreams of a career in association management.
Even if long-term care providers don't know much about the personal life of Alice Bonner, Ph.D., RN, they have likely seen her in running shoes.
Whether it's representing the American Health Care Association, Medicalodges, or another of his interests, there's a frequent comment about Fred Benjamin: "That man is everywhere."
At first blush, unflappable LeadingAge Board Chairwoman Kathryn Roberts, Ph.D., is not the type of person whom one asks to hold her boots.
A few weeks after becoming the first female chief executive at Covenant Retirement Communities in June, Terri Cunliffe found herself chatting with a fellow passenger on a flight back from corporate headquarters. When he learned Cunliffe had spent the past 28 years at the company — nearly her entire working life — the man was surprised.
While many administrators enter long-term care because of a personal experience, American College of Health Care Administrators interim CEO Sharon Colling's connection is different than most.
At the end of February 1993, Tom Coble was working on offshore natural gas delivery in the Gulf of Mexico. By March 1, he was sitting behind a desk at a nursing home.
After spending her childhood in Uganda and completing her early medical training in England, Naushira Pandya, M.D., was shocked by what she first witnessed as an American doctor.
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.