NIC and NELS, Nurturing Industry Leaders
Many of you are familiar with the Future Leaders Council (FLC), the prestigious volunteer board for emerging leaders in the seniors housing and care space. The FLC is one notable program designed to deliver on NIC’s mission of nurturing leaders. But did you know NIC is also a sponsor for the National Emerging Leadership Summit (NELS)? As a member of the steering committee and a NELS Alumna, I represent NIC at this annual three-day summit in Washington, D.C., where rising stars in the seniors housing and care industry learn about leadership, advocacy, and career opportunities. NELS appears almost as an “FLC Light,” attracting property-level executives in the early stages of their careers. Like the FLC program, NELS challenges its participants to complete group projects, but for a one-year instead of FLC’s three-year commitment.
After working with this year’s cohort of NELS attendees in July 2018, I am filled with optimism for our nation’s elders living in seniors housing, skilled nursing, or receiving hospice. This group of around 30 young professionals brought positivity, ambition, and spirit to the summit rarely seen at your typical conference. Attendees spent time on Capitol Hill where Kripa Sreepada, also a NELS alumna and current staffer for Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), and I gave a presentation on how legislation and regulation impact property operations. We discussed opportunities to participate in that process, including membership in trade associations and how to submit comments to regulators on new rules and regulations.
While Kripa and I shared with them with the ins-and-outs of legislative and regulatory processes, the star of the show was Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who addressed the attendees directly in an intimate setting. Sen. Baldwin shared her own personal story of the challenges of finding quality seniors housing for her grandparents, explaining how that experience led her to become an advocate for seniors through her work in Congress. As she put it, we must do more to ensure seniors can live “independently and vibrantly.” Well rest assured, Sen. Baldwin, the NELS attendees will strive to achieve just that.
The attendees also enjoyed a panel of experts including Randy Lindner, President and CEO, National Association for Long Term Care Administrator Boards; Theresa Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy and Programs, National Association for Home Care and Hospice; Paul Williams, Vice President of Government Relations, Argentum; Matthew Mauthe, CEO, Marquardt Village; and Dr. Douglas Olson, Professor, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
An interesting twist this year was the decision to represent hospice both in the pool of attendees and on the panel. Like NIC’s Spring Conference thesis that expects the future of the continuum to break down the silos among segments of housing and care, NELS too viewed this additional perspective as necessary to fully represent the spectrum. As NELS Director Kevin Hansen put it, “As we continue to think about the continuum of health and aging services, and the expansion of the continuum, it becomes ever more important to think about leadership in and across various lines of service that older adults may need at some point in their lives.” He also reminded that hospice and palliative care are distinctive, and that hospice is a service accessed throughout the continuum including in assisted seniors housing. Matt Mauthe added that “the days are gone that you can remain in your silos.” Yes, the evolution of the housing and care industry is apparent even at NELS.
You might be thinking, “How can I participate in such an exemplary leadership opportunity?” NELS is held each summer in D.C., and applications will open in the spring 2019. Though most attendees are property-level executives, this year’s group included a vendor, an HR specialist, and other professionals who could benefit from and contribute to the engaging week. I encourage you to send your best and brightest (or yourself!) to this fulfilling experience in 2019.
For more about NELS, click here.