The Arbor Company. “I’ve not felt concerned or threatened. I’ve always had opportunities to advance my career.” No industry is perfect, of course, but for these women, se- nior living has proven a welcoming environment. Their com- bined successes demonstrate the boundless professional possibilities open to women who may be seeking to make a difference in the lives of seniors.


Anne Campbell is between titles at the moment. She’s still employed with Juniper Communities: They just haven’t come up with a name for what she does there. “I’m working with our president Lynne Katzmann on the further development of our integrated care model. That’s a high-touch, technological approach, using electronic health records and a position we call the ‘medical concierge’ as a way to improve folks’ outcomes. We have some exciting re- sults with that and we are looking at expanding that,” she said. Campbell started out in senior housing 13 years ago,

having first gone to school for social work and then work- ing on aging issues within social service agencies. She did a stint as a stay-at-home mom before finding her way into her first senior housing role, as an executive director in a Brookline memory care community. “When it was time to go back to work, I saw an ad in the paper and I said: I can do that! I had worked with individuals with dementia and that was my favorite population to work with. I felt that I could really deliver good care by listening to them and by learning more about them. This is a popula- tion that can easily be underserved, and I felt passionately about providing a high level of service to this very vulner- able population,” she said. When Juniper bought Brookline, she saw an opportunity to kick her career into high gear. “Juniper was doing really innovative, cool things that I had not been part of before. They brought a lot of technology really quickly—having an electronic health record and being able to use data to improve the care and service that we deliver,” she said. “That was very new for me.” She appreciated the company’s efforts to leverage digital data in support of measurable outcomes. The new tools offered her a way to bring an even higher level of care to the table. Senior management encouraged her to get up to speed on this new mode of caregiving. “They were very kind and patient and supportive,” she said. “It was a lot to learn, but they worked with us to get it done.” There have been challenges along the way, as a formerly

mom-and-pop operation has been folded into a larger, more professional organization. “It takes a lot of meetings, a lot of conversations, a lot of communication,” she said. “With

every decision that was made we tried to explain how these news things were good for the residents.” Having moved from operations to the executive suite, Campbell is less hands-on now than she used to be, but she’s found a way to stay connected. “I live less than 10 minutes away from the campus so I can still be here every day,” she said. “Even if I am doing corporate work, being physically close helps to keep me in touch with why I am here and what our ultimate goal is.” ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN: “This is hard work, it is emotional, and if you don’t have a culture to support you as a human being it makes it that much more difficult. You need to look for a company that shares your values. You need a team that walks the talk.”


Lisa Fordyce’s early resume didn’t have “future executive” written all over it. She went to vocational school to learn to be a caregiver. She married young, at age 19, and took a nursing job in a skilled nursing community, doing shift work while she studied for her boards. If she’s been able to parlay that modest beginning into a lifelong career, it’s largely because of the underlying passion that first propelled her into senior care.

“I knew I wanted to be in senior housing from early in my high school years,” said Fordyce. “I was fortunate to grow up with great-grandparents and my grandparents. My mother took care of my great-grandfather, and we would actually live with him in his home for a couple weeks out of the month, alternating with other family members. So I always knew that I wanted to be with older people.” It took a little while for that initial impulse to form itself into a career ambition. Fordyce says she got a lot of support and guidance from supervisors who appreciated her potential. “In the first five or six years I didn’t have a specific goal in mind, but I had leaders who saw me as a dedicated em- ployee, someone who strived to do a good job, who wanted to do it the right way,” she said. “They put opportunities in front of me and once I got the taste of that, I wanted more and more of those opportunities.” She climbed the ladder, taking regional and then national leadership roles. She earned her stripes as a leader who would stay in for the long haul: Seven years at ARV Assisted Living (now known as Atria Senior Living), almost 10 years at Emeri- tus. Along the way she augmented her caregiving skills with a deeper understanding of operations. Despite her steady rise, she encountered bumps along the road. She left her last job in order to be at home with her ailing grandmother. It required a literal leap of faith in order to put career aside temporarily, but she felt she owed it to her grandmother.


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