Tuesday, April 4th
8:00am-9:00am Registration, Breakfast, EXPO
9:00am-9:30am Welcome and Introductions

Keynote: The Authentic Leadership Journey: Lessons of self-discovery during a time of uncertainty 

Julie Thorson, President/CEO, Friendship Haven

Forget generic keynote speakers… She’s one of us!

Julie Thorson is President/CEO of Friendship Haven in Fort Dodge, Iowa… But she prefers the title of Head Coach.
In 24 years at her community, she’s served as a social worker, activity director, admissions coordinator, sales and marketing director, development director, and health center administrator.

Over this time, she’s established her own unique leadership style which she describes as “caring, compassionate, direct, and cuts to the heart.”

Like many of us, Julie is a leader who has been at her best and her worst over the last few years. She’s wrestled with the meaning of “resiliency,” ultimately charting a course that’s helped preserve her love of aging services.

Funny, relatable and full of energy, Julie will inspire you to grow into your authentic leadership self. Her story may be the burst of energy you need to reset and recommit to the GREATER GOOD.

10:45am-12:00pm EXPO
12:00pm-1:30pm Lunch, Annual Meeting, Awards
1:30pm-1:45pm Break

Creating Cultures of Belonging – how we can work towards dismantling racism and change our biases

Cipriana Galvao, Director of Human Resources, DiMella Shaffer
Philippe Saad, Principal, DiMella Shaffer

Dismantling institutional racism and biases doesn’t happen overnight, but with a shared commitment among residents and staff at all levels, we can create safe and welcoming environments for people of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations. This is the Greater Good we seek: a sense of belonging for all.

Join Philippe Saad of DiMella Shaffer in a discussion about creating cultures of belonging across aging services settings. This session will help jumpstart your DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) efforts with a combination of reflection and strategy. Move from intention to action to achieve greater engagement among staff and residents, knowing they are valued and appreciated as they are.

2:30pm-2:45pm Break
2:45pm-3:45pm Breakout Sessions A

A1. Opening Doors to Aging Services: Creating Positive Perceptions of our Field

Gwen Fitzgerald, Director of Public Messaging, LeadingAge

Aging services organizations now have the roadmap to authentic communications that effectively move perceptions of our field. Learn how to implement the research-backed strategies of LeadingAge’s Opening Doors to Aging Services initiative across your organization—and see examples from members across the country who are showcasing the quality care, services and housing they provide to older adults. Make your messaging count, whether marketing to prospective residents and their families, the community at large or policy makers.


A2. Ignite Strong Financial Results: Key Metrics and Strategies for Success

Sean Morrison, Principal, CLA
Catherine A. Schweiger, Director, CLA

The old adage “the numbers tell the story” is largely true. But often we don’t know which financial metrics are the most relevant or how to put our data into action to advance our missions. In this session, CLA will bring fresh perspectives from both financial and operational disciplines to discuss practical approaches to responding to financial risk, market challenges, and operational hurdles.  Come away with an understanding of the current and projected state of the industry. Explore key metrics and benchmarks to pinpoint strengths and growth opportunities. Connect financial measures to operational performance and outcomes.


A3. How to Unlock Your Team's Full Potential

Patrick Veroneau, Founder, Emery Leadership Group

You’ve heard all the buzzwords: “quiet quitting”, “quick quitting”, and “the Great Resignation.” While the headlines are novel, the truth is, these workplace struggles have existed for decades. The COVID crisis merely put a spotlight on our greatest weaknesses: poor leadership behaviors and a lack of team cohesiveness. With increased workloads and responsibilities being placed on fewer staff, now is the time for us to understand the impact of our behaviors on the emotional and financial health of our organizations and make conscious changes to promote team cohesion and engagement. Learn a new framework for unlocking the success of your teams, and hear from a fellow member seeing noticeable results after applying these strategies. 

3:45pm-4:00pm Break
4:00pm-5:00pm Breakout Sessions B

B1. Board Readiness to Consider Merger, Acquisition, and Affiliation

Andrew Nesi, Executive Vice President, HJ Sims

“How will our organization deliver on our mission in the future?” This is the key question Boards of Directors should be asking themselves in this time of great challenges and change. Senior management must set the table for a robust consideration of options, including affiliations, mergers and acquisitions. In this session we’ll examine case studies to illustrate the importance of early Board education in a consolidation-heavy market and deliver a customizable tool to use with your Board for future discussion and planning. By taking the right steps now, organizations can be assured a position of strength should acquisition or sponsorship transition possibly be in your organization’s future.


B2. Hot Button Operational Issues: The Legal Perspective

Bob Best, Brad Holt, and Chris Pyles, Attorneys, Sulloway & Hollis, PLLC

Ever-changing laws, regulations, policies and norms present unexpected legal challenges. A team of seasoned advisors from the law firm of Sulloway & Hollis will tackle “hot topics” such as medical marijuana on campus, electronic surveillance - a.k.a. “granny cams” in rooms, comfort pets, “Alternate” co-habitation arrangements and unwanted guests, and more! Obtain some practical tips and resources to help implement or improve policies in these areas. Extra time will be allotted for your questions! 


B3. Shining a Light on Employee Mental Wellbeing

Melissa N. Bollinger, Strategic Business Consultant, Paychex
Tim Lowry, Community Counselor, Rivermead
Susan Wehry, Geriatric Psychiatrist

The success and longevity of our organizations depend on the collective, positive mental health of our staff. Positive mental health gives a person resiliency against life's stressors, challenges, and setbacks — obstacles that often go hand-in-hand with work. Being fortified against these negative emotions and the anxiety that accompanies difficult times can help our staff navigate challenges with agility and remain productive. Learn what the data is telling us about the business impact of mental health. Hear about mental health initiatives and steps employers are taking to improve workplace mental health.

Wednesday, April 5th -- Workforce Wednesday!
7:30am-8:00am Breakfast
8:00am-8:15am Welcome

Voices from the Front Lines: Engaging and Empowering Direct Care Workers

Brenda Gallant, Executive Director, State Long-Term Care; Ombudsman, Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and
Emily Curry, Member, Direct Care and Support Professional Advisory Council
Emily Skyers, Member, Direct Care and Support Professional Advisory Council

Maine’s Direct Care and Support Professional Advisory Council was established in February of 2022, thanks to the organizing efforts of the Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Council members are employed in nursing homes, residential care, and home care across the state. Some are new to the profession while others have many years of experience. Together they are defining and expressing their collective voice so that they can have an impact on Maine’s workforce planning and policymaking.  In this session you’ll hear directly from members of the council about the issues that are most important to them and how we can elevate and reimagine the role of direct care professionals within our health and LTSS systems—for the good of older adults, their families, and professional caregivers themselves.


Creating a Realistic Retention Roadmap for Sustainable Success

Megan O'Dell, Magnet Culture

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are re-examining our relationship with work. More than ever, our staff crave flexibility, empathy and belonging – and they’ll look elsewhere if we can’t meet their expectations. At the same time, different generations have their own nuanced expectations about their work environment. How do we each contribute to stopping the revolving door of employee turnover when we’re already short-staffed and have no time to determine which changes will be most beneficial?

In this valuable workshop, Megan O’Dell of Magnet Culture will put the real issues that contribute to generational gaps on the T.A.B.L.E. (technology, authority, balance, loyalty, and entitlement) and help shift your mindset about workplace culture. Roll up your sleeves and conduct an audit of the current effectiveness and attractiveness of your organization. Leave with a realistic retention roadmap, having identified which areas of your organization can function as they are, which need a simple tune-up, and which must go into the shop for an extensive overhaul.

10:30-11:00am Break

Creating a Realistic Retention Roadmap for Sustainable Success