Liza Berger headshot
Liza Berger

There’s a lot to be despairing and pessimistic about these days. Where do I begin? 

The horrific death toll from the coronavirus in nursing homes? The lingering access to testing and personal protective equipment? The isolation that is harming seniors and the burnout affecting caregivers? The prospect of even more cases and loss of life as so many people today fail to obey social distancing and mask requirements? Pick one.

Sometimes you just have to turn your attention to another subject entirely to maintain a sense of perspective and normalcy. That’s where the McKnight’s Women of Distinction honorees come into play.

You may have noticed, but each day McKnight’s is profiling two award winners — a Hall of Honor inductee and a Rising Star. Biographies of these inductees will be unveiled every day until the virtual awards presentation on July 28.

Reading about these outstanding individuals gives hope that there are people out there committed to making the world a better place.

Take Tuesday’s featured ladies: Maribeth Bersani, a Hall of Honor inductee and chief operating officer of Argentum; and Robyn Childs, a Rising Star and regional sales director at Koelsch Communities.

Both have interesting career stories, as do all of this year’s winners.

Bersani, you’ll read, graduated magna cum laude from college and worked in New York state government and the New York Office for the Aging before gaining operational experience at Sunrise Senior Living. Now holding a pivotal role at Argentum, she is considered an expert in her field. 

Childs has had a less traditional career path, finding a career in senior living as a mid-career adult, after receiving an MBA. She found her calling in sales. At each employer, she has contributed to increasing occupancy levels, climbing the career ladder in the process.

What’s even more impressive is these women have demonstrated success beyond their day jobs. In addition to knowing the X’s and O’s, Bersani does her share of volunteer work. Childs became exposed to senior living to help her child who is on the autism spectrum and transgender.

All our honorees wear various hats, as mothers and caregivers, volunteers and philanthropists. Many have overcome difficult life circumstances, including personal health problems and various other kinds of adversity, to arrive at where they are in their careers. And in the process, they have helped to improve the lives of those around them.

Hmmm … navigating a challenge while maintaining a moral compass. An instructive lesson for today, wouldn’t you say?

Liza Berger is senior editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Learn more about the McKnight’s Women of Distinction events, a free, two-day experience with continuing education credit offerings at the July 28 Forum.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors are OnShift and PharMerica, and the Signature sponsor is Acadia Pharmaceuticals.