James M. Berklan

In our business, you know you’re doing something right when the “What about me?” implications start emerging.

They were distinctly there earlier this year when we celebrated our first McKnight’s Women of Distinction class. Oh, sure, it would have been natural for many unchosen to wonder, “What about me? Why wasn’t I honored?”

It could have been a legitimate question in some cases. But with hundreds of nominations, there was just no way for the judging panel to fit every deserving person on the boat, so to speak. 

But there was also another notable “What about me?” vibe we occasionally received. It came in the form of sullen comments from men, as in why aren’t you also having a recognition program honoring male achievements? If you need a black-and-white answer for that one, I’ll let you ponder it a little longer on your own. 

But I will also point out that men were, and have been, central to so much of this program. For anyone — man, woman or child — to overlook this, or quickly gloss over it, would be incredibly short-sighted. Setting aside the original spark at our company for getting the program off to a flying start (thank you very much, Kenosha Konnection), there are other, even more poignant male influences to consider.

Numerous honorees, for example, took the opportunity to thank male colleagues, mentors, loved ones and friends, many of whom were in attendance at the May 16 awards ceremony.

A great example comes from a feature of our ongoing Women of Distinction program: video interviews. I found Erin Donaldson’s comments especially cool. They’re 3 minutes and 46 seconds long and well worth your time.

Right off the bat, she chooses to credit long-ago coworker Jim Biggs for helping her become established and rise in the profession.

Biggs’s “coaching and mentoring helped me become a better leader and a good administrator,” says Donaldson, the vice president and director of operations management for Life Care. She currently oversees five LCS life plan communities in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Connecticut.

“When we would prepare for big meetings, Jim would always say, ‘Erin, just break it down into the three most important things,’” Donaldson explains. “That’s a perfect example of how I work with my teams today. Jim comes through quite a bit in my working relationships.”

A “village” of women and men, in other words, raising leaders and working together toward the greater good.

Donaldson goes on to say, “Just as I’ve had opportunities in my career to grow, learn and move into a variety of positions, my goal is to continue to help guide their career growth.” The “their” refers to the “individuals” on her work “teams.” The implication is they don’t have to be only women. At least let’s hope not.

For anyone thinking it’s just a he-said-he-said or she-said-she-said world, they need to think again. 

Support and celebrations deserve to be spread around. We are stronger together than we are apart. Not a terribly complicated concept, when posed in other settings. No pouting or effigy burnings welcomed.

And instead of worrying “What about me?” think about making a positive impact on someone else. Then say it while taking credit pridefully, with an exclamation point: “What about me!” 

That counts too.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum Sponsor of the 2019 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. Matrixcare is the Gold Sponsor of the Senior Living track.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.