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Leadership ABHOW Grads Hit the Ground Running
Just three months after graduating its inaugural leadership development class, ABHOW has already tapped four new leaders for administrator positions at affordable housing communities.
A fifth Leadership ABHOW graduate, Pam Day, has been promoted to director of health services at Rosewood in Bakersfield, Calif.
Corinne Jepsen didn’t exactly knock down the door to take part in the yearlong Leadership ABHOW program. The fact is it took a little prodding to convince Jepsen, a former occupancy specialist at Harbor View Manor in Tacoma, Wash., that she epitomized the kind of ‘next generation’ leadership the company was looking for.
The issue for Jepsen wasn’t a lack of ambition – it was that Harbor View Manor was all Jepsen had ever known. She went to work there part time as a 16-year-old high school student, was later promoted to occupancy specialist and was happy enough for her first job to be her last.
But Travis Hanna, Jepsen’s boss, wasn’t happy with that plan at all. Hanna, director of operations for affordable housing, nominated Jepsen for Leadership ABHOW. He also helped her realize that she could give more of herself to residents as an administrator.
“Change is scary and I loved Harbor View, loved it so much I didn’t want to leave,” says Jepsen, who today is helping put the finishing touches on Salishan Gardens, the newly built Tacoma community where she will serve as administrator.
“The truth is, I had thought about being an administrator, but I liked being the good guy, and the administrator of a community often has to make the hard decisions,” she says. “The leadership training showed me how to deal with that.”
As the ABHOW Foundation’s longtime development coordinator, Suzette Luer was comfortable taking a lead role in planning Foundation-sponsored events such as the annual Golf Classic. In its 15-year history, the event has raised more than $1 million for residents living at ABHOW’s 26 affordable housing communities. Luer is now administrator of Broadmoor Plaza in San Leandro, Calif.
“Working for the Foundation, I was very familiar with the affordable housing communities and especially Broadmoor Plaza,” she says. “I cherish my years with the Foundation, but my heart was telling me to do this, to work one-on-one with residents, and the timing of Leadership ABHOW was perfect.”
The program, which is gearing up to accept a new class of leaders in June, meets four times throughout the year for a series of three-day workshops. The curriculum is based on a two-pronged approach: first, give participants the technical know-how to manage and direct a community or a skilled nursing staff; and second, cultivate the leadership skills needed to carry on the company’s mission and best practices.
For ABHOW residents and team members alike, the idea of Moirah Makamure someday rising to the top spot at a community was pretty much a foregone conclusion. After all, Makamure, a native of Zimbabwe, had long been a familiar face at both of ABHOW’s Redlands, Calif., affordable housing communities – Casa de la Vista and Fern Lodge.
Makamure worked full time at Fern Lodge as an occupancy specialist while studying for her master’s degree in health service administration. She was promoted to administrator of Casa de la Vista last September.
The shy, soft-spoken Makamure says Leadership ABHOW gave her the most important thing of all – a voice from which to lead.
“Initially I was a person who wasn’t comfortable with public speaking, but I learned in the training until I eventually got more and more comfortable and was able to overcome my fears and go out there and talk,” says Makamure. “I did, yes, I found a voice.”
At Fern Lodge, just a stone’s throw from Makamure and Casa de la Vista, Cathy Galvez says she still has moments of wonder that she ever ended up in a full-time, career-oriented position. Galvez, a mother of two, was a committed part-timer for all of her kids’ growing up years. She worked primarily because she needed to, and enjoyed having time off to shuttle the kids around and spend time with them after school.
But Galvez has only herself to blame for the upward trend in her career that led to Leadership ABHOW and her recent promotion to Fern Lodge administrator. It seems that despite her once-limited work schedule, Galvez was known to take on a full-time workload and made it look easy.
When a full-time occupancy specialist position opened up at Casa de la Vista, she took it, excelling at her new job and loving every minute of it. By the time she was nominated for Leadership ABHOW, she had long since given up the notion of going back to leisurely afternoons at home.
“I think for me what changed is my kids were gone, my husband had a nice career and was busy and I thought, ‘Ok, what are you going to do now?’” says Galvez. “I mean, at this stage of my life, why not take the challenge?”
Galvez says she was most impressed with the way Leadership ABHOW presented essentially the same information to the group as a whole, but did it in such a way that learning was tailored to the needs of each person.
“I took away from that experience the tools to accomplish almost anything I want to accomplish here at Fern Lodge,” says Galvez. “I put a lot more thought now into what I say and how I say it, because the buck really does stop with me.”
On paper anyway, Pam Day’s recent promotion at Rosewood was a single step up. But in reality, the move from director of assisted living to director of health services was a giant leap for Day, one she says may not have happened at all had it not been for Leadership ABHOW.
“It was a long, hard struggle to receive my [Nursing Home Administrator] license,” says Day. “All the support I received from ABHOW – well, I don’t know of another company that does what ABHOW is doing. It meant so much to me.”
Founded in 1949, ABHOW is widely known for its pioneering leadership in senior housing and health care. The company serves more than 5,000 residents in 37 retirement communities in California, Arizona, Nevada and Washington.
To learn more about ABHOW visit www.abhow.com.
This article appeared in the May 2011 issue of ABHOW Words