By Fara Gold McLaughlin
“When did you move in?” It was a regular question asked of me when I visited my senior living communities across the years and across the country.
“I work here,” I would say with a smile. And the residents would always light up with big smiles across their faces and say, “It’s about time they hired some people like me!” From the age of 40 until today, my hair has been gray but my spirit sunny.
Residents not only want to see and know someone in management may look like them, but associates also yearn for leadership to look like them too. In 2019, Senior Lifestyles Vice President of Operations Amaka Aniefuna described how associates of color perked up when she walked into communities as an example of diversity and leadership.
Seeing is believing. Now more than ever, senior living needs to meet the caregiving headwinds of change with big changes, from board rooms to executive director roles, in seeking, hiring, and developing people of diverse backgrounds and cultures to mirror the diversity among the many possible caregivers we hope to attract.
Inclusion and diversity come to life when the leadership looks like the beautiful rainbow of hope from the LGBTQ community to people of all colors, shapes, and sizes.
Add More Than One Chair at the Table
If you are a leader today, ask yourself, is there someone qualified to do my job that doesn’t look like me? As Amaka describes, “No one saw me.” How many overqualified MBA and Master’s leaders are ready to assume leadership in senior living today who look like the majority of our caregivers? Let’s add more than one chair at the table.
I can only imagine if we look in the mirror we may see more than gray hair? Let’s create the path through the caregiving challenges today and start in the boardroom and C-suite.
Click here to view the full interview with Amaka Aniefuna.