How deep are your roots?

By Steve Moran

This is an ode to local connectedness . . . .

I was never prouder to be part of an organization than when I attended the Board Member/Major Donor open house for Abe’s Garden, a newly opened 42 unit memory care community. Abe’s Garden has been designed from the ground up, to first and foremost, provide great care based on the  most current research. Beyond great care, Abe’s Garden is committed to on-going research in conjunction with Vanderbilt University and other organizations.

The Open House

It is likely the most remarkable open house I will ever attend. There were about 200 people in attendance and the entertainment was star studded with the winners of 32 Grammy Awards in attendance. After remarks by Mike Shmerling, the founding force behind Abe’s Garden, we were treated to a concert by Alison Krause, Mary Chapin Carpenter, as well as Ashely and Cal Campbell, the children of Glen Campbell.


The community, the open house, and the 100% pre-lease prior to opening are a testament to the connectedness of the Shmerling family and the rest of the leadership team of Abe’s Garden and the adjoining Park Manor, an independent living community, which is just shy of 100% full.

While Abe’s Garden is really nice with some great features and programing, it is not luxurious. The same could be said of Park Manor, a several decade old building. It is not the buildings that make this campus the most attractive place to place your loved one.  

It is not even the great programing, because, in truth, there are buildings that have great programming that still struggle with occupancy.

It is, without a doubt, that the combined local board of directors and local leadership are deeply connected to the local community. These roots are deep and wide because the leaders are gracious, kind, compassionate people who are committed, not just to the senior living community, but to the whole well being of the citizens of Nashville.  

You Can Too

When we think of staff turnover, we mostly think in terms of line staff and maybe that is where the biggest turnover is. However, I am betting that if we were willing to take a hard look at the stats, we would discover the turnover rates for salespeople and executives is uncomfortably high.  

Somehow we need to figure out how to hold onto and nurture great community leaders. We need to be able to turn average community leaders into great leaders that can, over time, build these deep community roots.