Rita Mabli, United Hebrew Home President/CEO

Once a month, United Hebrew of New Rochelle president and CEO Rita Mabli meets with line staff, where there is no talking about work, only personal histories. 

“These are nursing attendants and people I love working with,” she says. She shares some of her own story, including how she was born in the Bronx with three much older brothers, who were already out of the house when her father died.

Rita, then 12, spent the rest of her childhood living with her mother, as “the poorest kid on the block.” But while her mother had only an eighth-grade education and went to work in a sweatshop, she read the news with Mabli every day. In time, Mabli received scholarships for high school, college and graduate school. 

“My mom was my hero. Everything I did I tried to do so she’d be proud of me,” she says.

Mabli also says she’s indebted to Iona College, which “gave me so much more than I expected.” 

Iona College’s Senior Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs Paul J. Sutera says he’s been blown away by Mabli’s dedication to the college and connecting its students to United Hebrew.

“She hasn’t forgotten where she’s come from. You talk about paying it forward,” he says. “When we have students who need jobs or internships, Rita is there.”

Mabli started at United Hebrew in human resources and worked her way up the ranks. Through the decades of striving, she continued to balance her family with work. She and husband Patrick Hardiman had daughter Lucy in 1987, and expect a grandchild in the spring. Before Mabli’s mother died in 1991, she lived on campus.

Kindness permeates everything Mabli does, according to Jim Staudt, United Hebrew Home’s chairman of the board.

“The first time I went there I was not a board member, and I noticed every person who worked at United Hebrew never passed by a resident without turning and addressing them in an eye-to-eye and kindly talking to them,” he says. “I thought, ‘What a nice place,’ and that came down from the top from this remarkable kind person.

“She’s a terrific businessperson — you have to be to run an operation like this,” he adds.

Mabli’s faith also remains important to her, having been shepherded through Catholic schools. 

“I try to attend Mass every morning: That’s where I center myself,” she says. Her mornings at the office often start by greeting office cats Lily and Coco Chanel, with the latter sitting in on meetings. Former office cat Louie passed in November. 

At 66, Mabli says she still loves being busy. As she embarks on new projects at work, such as another new building, she takes heart from a card given to her by her staff, who know she loves the beach. The card features a sea turtle who advises, “Swim with the current, be a good navigator, stay calm under pressure, be well-traveled, think long-term and age gracefully.” All of those are principles she tries to espouse.

“The tagline is ‘spend time at the beach,” she adds with a laugh. “That stays on my desk.”

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Resume

1974

Earns bachelor’s degree from Iona College

1976

Earns MBA from Iona College

1994

Named Chief Executive Officer, United Hebrew of New Rochelle

2002

Receives leadership award from the American Jewish Congress 

2007 

Named President & CEO, United Hebrew of New Rochelle

2009 

Opens new 143,000- square-foot skilled nursing facility on United Hebrew campus

2016 and 2017 

Receives Eli Pick Award from American College of Health Care Administrators for outstanding leadership of top-performing skilled nursing facility