Editor’s Note: The McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Daily Update and McKnight’s Senior Living Daily Briefing e-newsletters are profiling each of the McKnight’s 2019 Women of Distinction in July. For more coverage, visit the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living websites and read the July print edition of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and August print edition of McKnight’s Senior Living.

Before she assumed her current post as chief operating officer at Avanti Senior Living, Lori Alford was the COO of Hearthstone Assisted Living. There, she was responsible for overseeing the marketing, sales and operations of a portfolio of 32 communities, with 3,700 units and 1,700 team members.

Among her passions at Avanti is creating a work environment that is open and understanding for working mothers, she said.

“I understand how hard it is to devote time to raising a family while trying to excel in the business world at the same time,” she said. “I know a woman whose children couldn’t go to school one day, and even though she knew they were old enough to come to work and behave, she was afraid to ask if that was permitted because her place of employment did not openly embrace that idea. Our company creates an environment in which it is OK to discuss these situations, so employees do not feel scared about being a working mom and needing to ask these things.”

The mother of Bailee and Brayden, Alford said she personally can relate to problem-solving in these scenarios.

“Not all women are accustomed to having the freedom to discuss what they are struggling with, and as a result, they hide their emotions and needs from their team. Avanti prides itself on empowering and supporting women in the workplace,” she said.

Lori Alford receiving Hall of Honor award
Lori Alford with McKnight’s Deputy Editor Elizabeth Newman. Photo: Social Snacks

Alford said she has embraced the “disruptive theory” and has explored ways to challenge the status quo to improve the lives of older adults and the workplace environment. She has been actively involved in organizations, including the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, American Senior Housing Association, Urban Land Institute, Aging 2.0, Senior Living Innovation Forum and Environments for Aging Design.

Alford also serves on the founding members board of National Charity League and was one of five women selected to represent the country at the Woman’s Entrepreneur Conference in the Middle East.

McKnight’s Women of Distinction is a joint program of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program’s exclusive Platinum sponsor is PointClickCare.