“Women of Distinction” Rising Star Promotes Diversity and Mentoring in Senior Living Industry

September 25, 2019 Melissa Bagnoli

We recently featured our customer and 2019 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Rising Star Jennifer Cisneros, discussing how she leverages her logistics training in the U.S. Army into success as a nursing home administrator. Now we’d like to introduce you to Erin Donaldson of Life Care Services, another Rising Star in the McKnight’s award program. Like the other women in this award category, Erin has shown an exceptional commitment to senior housing and care at the community or corporate level, or through academic or association work.

Diversity Opens Doors to Many Possibilities

Life Care Services®, An LCS Company, is the second‐largest manager of rental senior living communities and Life Plan Communities. Retirement living communities managed by Life Care Services include residences for independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care, or a combination of these living arrangements. As vice president and director of operations management for Life Care, Erin oversees five LCS life plan communities in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Connecticut. She is particularly proud of the diversity of the teams and individuals with whom she works, and believes it’s important to foster a diverse workforce for the sake of the employees as well as the residents.

“Promoting diversity takes a lot of different forms, all aimed at opening doors and introducing people to new possibilities. In one of my communities, we have wonderful events that highlight where individuals have come from, their backgrounds, and even foods associated with their cultures. By sharing those traditions with each other, it enables a better appreciation of our diversity, and the varied gifts and experiences each individual brings to the organization. As a result, there’s a very special, lively atmosphere in that community.”

Planning for the Future of Serving Older Adults

Erin admits that she and her teams are constantly thinking about new ways to “wow” and delight the older adults they serve. It’s a challenge she enjoys, especially as she looks back at the changes she has seen in her years with Life Care and forward to new expectations in the coming decade.

“I look at who’s moving into our communities today, and who will be moving in tomorrow, and how our thinking will have to evolve as our resident population changes. I love being a part of creatively solving problems and being well prepared for what’s ahead. We’re facing not just a single challenge, but many of them, and it’s exciting to work with lots of different individuals to plan for and meet those challenges.”

Mentoring is Key to Success

Erin attributes some of her rapid rise in the senior living industry to the bosses and supervisors she’s had during the course of her career. She is particularly grateful to one of them, for helping to open doors for her, and teaching her how to explore new opportunities.

“Jim Biggs, a former boss of mine, was very influential in guiding me to the position I’m in today. His coaching and mentoring helped me become a better leader and a good administrator. For instance, when we would prepare for big meetings, Jim would always say, ‘Erin, just break it down into the three most important things.’ That’s a perfect example of how I work with my teams today. Jim comes through quite a bit in my working relationships.”

Erin is now in a position to mentor others, and hopes to emulate her mentors as she takes on that role for her employees. “I love my teams and the individuals with whom I work. Just as I’ve had opportunities in my career to grow, learn and move into a variety of positions, my goal is to continue to help guide their career growth.”

We Share Erin’s Philosophy on Career Growth

It’s no secret that PointClickCare’s culture revolves around a working atmosphere that encourages growth, embraces change, and challenges our employees. Mentoring and networking are two ways that employees, interns and co‐ops can build relationships and grow in their careers. Like Erin, many of the first‐year honorees in McKnight’s Women of Distinction – Lifetime Achievement Winner, the Hall of Honor, and the Rising Stars – attribute part of their success to individuals who saw their potential, set good examples, and encouraged them to take risks. Being the exclusive Platinum Sponsor of McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is allowing us to learn first‐hand how these talented professionals are breaking new ground in the industry.

Erin was profiled in this McKnight’s article and the video below, and we’ll take a look at another member of the first 2019 Women of Distinction class in a coming post on our blog. In the meantime, are you ready to be a mentor, a mentee, or both?

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