Editor’s Note: We are profiling the McKnight’s 2020 Women of Distinction honorees daily through the program’s July 28 online awards ceremony. To learn more about this digital celebration, the Forum the next day (which offers three free continuing education credits July 29) and the program in general, visit mcknightswomenofdistinction.com.

Kimberly Townsend, EdD, JD, MBA, EMPA, as president and CEO, is on a mission not just to increase Loretto’s bottom line, but to make life better for its employees, residents, patients and the community. She approaches every situation or opportunity looking for a solution that benefits every party involved for long-term systematic change.

Syracuse, NY-based Loretto is a continuing care system with assets in skilled nursing, housing, managed care, short-term rehabilitation and medical adult day services. The company has a diverse workforce, with 65% living in the most impoverished ZIP codes in Syracuse.

Townsend implements initiatives based on conversations with employees — including a diaper bank for children who attend daycare, on-site urgent care, and education and training through partnerships with philanthropic groups and community organizations. 

A stay-at-home mother for nine years, Townsend ventured on an educational journey when she became a single mother, earning BS and MBA degrees from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, a JD from Syracuse University College of Law, an EMPA from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Administration, and a EdD from St. John Fisher College.

Before joining Loretto, she was the associate general counsel and senior director of government affairs for Welch Allyn, where she successfully lobbied for healthcare reforms. She is an adjunct professor at the Whitman School of Management and the College of Law at Syracuse University. 

A champion for workforce development in Central New York, Townsend helped launch the HealthTrain Partnership in Syracuse, NY, to train individuals and create career opportunities in healthcare. She is on the New York State Workforce Investment Board, was a previous chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign, and speaks nationally about leadership in healthcare and innovating for the future.

Townsend recently teamed up with Forbes to publish her book, Lifecircle Leadership: How Exceptional People Make Every Day Extraordinary. The volume is part inspiration, part actionable advice and part memoir, proving that one person can make a big difference in the world. The key tenet of the book is pragmatic altruism: There is almost always a solution to a problem that benefits every party, and working with the common good in mind returns personal rewards.

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.