Profile: Audrey Weiner - Never afraid to mix it up
“I always wanted to understand how if you put several things in a beaker, what comes out at the other end?” says Weiner, president and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare. Overseeing a not-for-profit senior living organization is not so different, an upbeat Weiner explains.“One creates an environment in to which there are lots of inputs, and then what happens at the end?” she says enthusiastically.
Her interest in conducting experiments has paid off at Jewish Home, a continuing care retirement community with three campuses in and around New York City. Over the last five years, the organization has embarked on a path toward culture change. Among other efforts, she has taken on the task of decentralizing nursing units in buildings with hundreds of nursing home beds. Jewish Home also has signed on with The Green House Project.“She has, more than anyone I've ever met, an understanding not only of the social issues but of the political and economic issues that surround the way we take care of the elderly in the United States,” comments Dr. Gene Resnick, past chair of the system's board of trustees.
One positive chemical reaction has resulted from the close partnership between Jewish Home and Service Employees International Union 1199 UHWE. Together they have worked on culture change, consistent staffing and other workforce issues.“I'm just impressed with her everyday,” notes Jay Sackman, former executive vice president of the local. “No matter what the challenge is, she faces it and finds the kind of leadership that is rare in long-term care.”
The 57-year-old Weiner has always aimed high. Born in Brooklyn, she grew up “in a household with great expectations for performance.”She initially wanted to be a doctor, but her parents discouraged her since it was not a typical career path for a woman at that time. Instead, she followed the advice of a professor who encouraged her to receive a graduate degree in public health. She did, and it led to a job planning a community health center for the Miami Jewish Home & Hospital for the Aged.
Then, while working at The Hebrew Home for the Aged, a mentor suggested she earn a doctorate. Again, she did. Now she is a leader in the field. Last year, she became the chair-elect of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.While she has a rewarding professional life, her personal time is also full. She enjoys traveling, museums and theater offerings in Manhattan. She also likes to spend time with her husband, Jeffrey, and her two “delicious” grandchildren, Lucy and Rainen. (She has a stepson, Michael.)
But on most mornings, you can find her walking on the Brooklyn Bridge for a workout before heading to the office. Being a high-powered CEO is not a chore for her.“I find myself thinking how amazing it is to be able to go to work everyday and know that what you do matters,” she says. “And how does it get better than that?”
Graduates cum laude with Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Adelphi University
Receives master's degree in health services administration from Yale University
Serves as coordinator for community mental health center planning project at Miami Jewish Home & Hospital for the Aged
Becomes administrator at The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale in New York
Earns doctorate in social welfare administration from Hunter College School of Social Work
Works as senior vice president/administrator and chief operating officer at Sarah Neuman Center for Healthcare & Rehabilitation
Becomes president and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare
Named chair-elect of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging