James M. Berklan

Sharing has either thrived or taken a back seat during these 11 hellish pandemic months. Particularly in and around long-term care.

Perhaps you’ve been next to that person who, once started, simply can’t stop himself or herself from sharing one anxiety after another. 

On the other hand, maybe you’ve wondered about that quiet person who curiously hasn’t said much at all — or maybe you’ve even been that person. 

With abundant infections and death, as well as historic restrictions and scrutiny, it’s easy to see why either personality might exist in senior care.

But you only have to avert your gaze slightly to see the good — some incredibly heart-warming good — that bodes well for everyone in the profession.

You’ve noticed it over the last three days, in fact, in Daily Update stories announcing the 2021 winners in the McKnight’s Women of Distinction Awards program.

“Blown away” is the only way to describe the qualifications and careers of the recipients, who were selected by a national, independent panel of more than two dozen judges.

You will be seeing and reading more about these top performers in the weeks and months ahead. (Check these links now for the Rising Stars, Veteran VIPs and Hall of Honor inductee lists. You also can see a photo gallery of all 2021 winners.)

Everyone, men and women alike, is able to share in their success. There will be an entertaining online awards ceremony May 18, followed by an online educational forum the next morning, featuring professional education and advice for anyone interested.


The one sad thing about this grand celebration is that not all excellent nominees were able to be selected. As we’ve learned in past years, there’s an abundance of deserving individuals — that’s why “close calls” in past years made it in this year, and will in future years.

One of the most frustrating things, judges agree, is that too many nominations are held back by shortcomings in the submitted entry form. 

Judges offered some tips and observations for future nominations:

  1. Many entries were sparsely written. The entry form has several open-ended entry boxes and numerous chances to say good things about a nominee. Sadly, much of that space is left blank or filled with vague, repetitive information.
  2. The biggest judge complaint is that too many nominations did not relay tangible information about the nominee. Briefly stated: Offer numbers where you can. They don’t even have to be big numbers. Past winners have overseen tens of thousands of employees, but they’ve also overseen single buildings or been part of one great team. Yet judges won’t know that unless they’re told, hopefully in a very direct way.
  3. Also include some personally identifiable characteristics. Remember: EVERY nominee loves her residents (and staff) and is an inspiration. Next time give examples of the greatness you refer to. Illustrate the nominee’s unique identity.
  4. Some entries even forgot to include descriptions of the nominee’s workplace, and its overall parameters and successes.

For the hundreds who have been nominated over the program’s first three years, there is one thing that should be remembered: Being nominated is a victory in and of itself: A colleague(s) thought enough of you to commend you as one of the best around. And for that, you are.

Looking to the future

We’ll be putting out a call for the 2022 Women of Distinction Awards in December and January again. But before then, everyone affiliated with long-term and senior care should share in the delight of such an array of talent and quality. 

The 2021 awards ceremony will be an online gala the evening of May 18 and again feature video clips of each winner, plus an address from the 2021 Lifetime Achievement winner, who will be revealed in early March.

The following morning a special McKnight’s Forum will feature three CE-earning webinars designed for all professionals in long-term and senior care — men and women alike. Free registration and information about attending either or both of these back-to-back events is available here.

Times may be tough. But let me share this again: They aren’t all bad. Certainly not with the McKnight’s Women of Distinction program around. 

PointClickCare is the Diamond sponsor of the 2021 Women of Distinction Awards.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.