NIC Chats Podcast with Fee Stubblefield

Fee Stubblefield, founder and CEO of The Springs Living, has never been more excited or optimistic about senior living. Listen as he and Beth Mace discuss how having a purpose, mission and plan has helped solidify his company’s reputation among both residents and staff, leading to The Springs Living being named one of the best workplaces for aging services. Plus, learn which 2022 NIC Spring Conference session gave Stubblefield a lightbulb moment and how his family has inspired his business decisions, even down to the company name.

Introduction: (00:02)
Welcome to NIC Chats, ideas and inspiration from senior living leaders with host Beth Mace NIC’s, chief economist, and director of outreach. Get to know some of the people influencing senior living today and perhaps learn a thing or two from their experiences.

Beth Mace: (00:20)
Hello and welcome to the NIC Chats podcast. My name is Beth Mace and I’m the chief economist and director of the research and analytics team here at NIC. Thank you for joining us today. The focus of the NIC Chats podcast is talking to interesting people that have ideas I think you’d really like to hear about. As you listen today, I hope that you’ll find some humor, insights, inspiration, and hopefully what I call an “aha” moment when something pithy or insightful is said in a light bulb may go off for you. So let me tell you a little bit about the structure of today’s event. First, I’m going to tell you three statements about my guest. Two of those will be true. And then throughout the podcast you’ll learn, which is true and which is false. Second, there are three standard questions within each podcast for each speaker and the first will be “What’s a large challenge facing our industry?” Second, “What’s one thing that we can do to grow talent in our industry?” And third “What’s an innovative way or idea to strengthen our industry?” Now, as they say on with the show. So I’m delighted that our NIC Chats podcast today is with Fee Stubblefield. Fee is the founder and CEO of The Springs Living. Fee, thank you so much for joining us today.

Fee Stubblefield: (01:32)
Thanks Beth. Thanks for having me.

Beth Mace: (01:34)
So, as I mentioned, I have three statements about you. Two of these are true and one is not. And during the course of the podcast, we’ll figure out which is which. So the first statement is that you have six children. I come from a family of six children. So if that’s the case, I can really relate to it. The second is that you’re a 12th generation American. Third, that you’ve actually had a face to face encounter with a silverback gorilla in the jungle. So now audience, you’re going to have to stay tuned for the entire podcast to see which of these is true and which is not. So Fee first, let’s have you tell the audience about The Springs Living and what it’s all about? How did it get started and what was the inspiration for its name?

Fee Stubblefield: (02:18)
Beth, we started, it seems like yesterday, but it’s been a 26 year journey that started off as trying to solve a simple solution or what I thought was a simple solution for our own family at the time, my own family. When my grandmother began dealing with challenges around aging, specifically a heart attack. And you know, we looked at the options out there and just decided that, “Hey, let’s try to solve this in a way that would be best for her.” And it really evolved out of a promise. She was a very strong matriarchal, just amazing person that I grew up with. She basically ran where I grew up, Layman Hot Springs, which is really the metaphor around where the name of The Springs Living comes from, but she made me promise two things. One was don’t put me in an old folks home. And the other one was … The statement she would make was I just want to stay in my own home.

Beth Mace: (03:16)
Yep. Everyone says it.

Fee Stubblefield: (03:18)
Yeah. So today, that promise drives everything we do with The Springs Living.

Beth Mace: (03:23)
How so?

Fee Stubblefield: (03:24)
Well, I think in long term care and senior housing and care there’s a lot of different… Organizational cultures are really driven in my view around… They flow out of your customer promise. So depending on what your promise is, I mean, we’re very different. And a lot of this work has been done by an author by the name of William Snyder. Who’s got some great points and great books. So I’m repeating a lot of the things that he deserves credit for. But when I read his book it was just the light bulb was just kind of turning on about how really, how to understand an organization’s culture. And then how do you match leadership for those cultures? And so that promise, I mean, that’s all we ask our employees to do, right.

Fee Stubblefield: (04:14)
We ask them to go out there every day and create environments where people want to be, where they want to live. We never want to be an old folks home. And since it was started for my family, we empower all of our employees to treat it like that. And we frankly, we’ve had dozens and dozens and dozens. I couldn’t tell you the number, or we should know this, of other people that work at The Springs Living have their family living with us. And that’s how we look at it. So that point of view frames, every decision we make, does that make sense?

Beth Mace: (04:44)
Yeah, that makes sense. I know on your website, one of their goals of the organization is to help people live well, with grace and dignity. So I was going to ask how you do that. And it sounds like you’re beginning to say a little bit more about that.

Fee Stubblefield: (04:57)
Yeah. I think grace and dignity is something that it’s really hard. I mean, there’s lots of definitions. You can define it, you can put context, you can write it in an employee manual, but really it’s defined in the moment. And in a business that’s 24/7/365, we never, ever close our doors. Grace and dignity often happens in those lonely times in the middle of the night with an employee that we actually didn’t maybe train properly on the incident that happens, or the event that happens that is really around how I would want to be treated, how you would want to be treated, how do we want our grandparents to be treated? And so we count on the people that are there. And the only way that you can do that is try to hire people with a similar set of values, right? So if we have a similar set of values around how we care for others, the principles around that, then we know that we have a very good likelihood of them making the right decision around that event that happens when nobody’s looking, because that’s where your quality is made is in the events when nobody’s looking.

Beth Mace: (06:07)
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. My mom was in a senior housing property and the grace and dignity piece is so important because your staff are dealing with people at the most intimate and precious moments of their life. And it’s really difficult to get a staff that actually does treat their residents all the time with the grace of dignity. It’s fantastic.

Fee Stubblefield: (06:28)
Yeah. We train for that. We train skills, right. But ultimately it’s going to come down to examples that they’ve seen in their life. Our quality is really going to come down to how they act. To the extent that we can… Listen, we have to have people in our buildings, we never close. And so the greater degree that we can hire people that come with the requisite values and understand what that means the better off the experiences for the residents and their families is going to be.

Beth Mace: (07:02)
Probably better for the staff members too, being around people that it would be like that as well. So you said you’ve been around for 26 years. How large are you now? How large is your organization in terms of staff or residents or locations?

Fee Stubblefield: (07:19)
We’ve grown very organically. Slowly. I think we have 18 communities right now. There’s two under development. One’s getting ready to open in November and the other one just broke ground. So 18 different locations in Oregon and Montana. So we’ve stayed very geographically concentrated, and we have approximately 1800 employees and 2,500 residents. So less than one a year that we’ve grown over that period of time. And it’s clearly been an evolution and it’s done in a way that… Our philosophy is we don’t leave anybody behind. I mean, we can’t, to an extent. We talk a lot about a concept around a quality growth curve, meaning the size of the organization, which when we show up at NIC as an operator, we show up at NIC and what is every, what’s the question everybody wants to know? How many communities do you have? Right.

Beth Mace: (08:13)
That’s true.

Fee Stubblefield: (08:14)
I guess my point is, why does that really matter? I mean, it’s it, shouldn’t it be really? What’s your quality that you’ve got? What are the experiences? So the size of an organization, to the extent it doesn’t inhibit your growth and your quality and the experience of the residents and the staff, and also the investors. Right? It doesn’t matter if you have 18, 180 or one, it’s really a byproduct of the things that are happening every day.

Beth Mace: (08:41)
Okay. So you mentioned that you’re opening The Springs at Happy Valley in Oregon, this fall.

Fee Stubblefield: (08:45)
Mm-hmm .

Beth Mace: (08:46)
And you broke ground for The Springs at Waterfrontin Vancouver just last month in April.

Fee Stubblefield: (08:50)
Mm-hmm .

Beth Mace: (08:50)
And that’s going to open in, I think spring of 2024. So that project’s going to be both lead and fit well certified, which is great. Congratulations on that. So what were the challenges of getting these properties planned in preped during the pandemic?

Fee Stubblefield: (09:05)
Oh, wow. I think we only have 30 minutes for this podcast, Beth

Beth Mace: (09:10)

Fee Stubblefield: (09:10)
There were a lot. When March of 2020 happened, everything went on hold, including these projects. The Waterfrontproject we just broke ground on, which is going to be an amazing 12 story community, right on the Columbia river with views towards downtown Portland and Mount Hood and towards Mount St. Helens. It’s spectacular location. That one just got put on hold for a whole year. We lost a year there. Happy valley actually got put on hold too, but it was a shorter period of time because we were further down the road. I think we were probably four or five months that we put that on hold before we went again. And the biggest challenge was the uncertainty of what COVID would do. To have a pandemic where the virus specifically has the most adverse impact on your very customers.

Beth Mace: (09:57)

Fee Stubblefield: (09:58)
It was like, “Will we ever build in a community ever again?” We had no idea. And it took us a few months to let that settle in to see how we reacted, our teams reacted and to learn that even before the vaccine that we can keep people safe and it’s going to be okay that we started our engines back up again. But clearly that was it. You know, we had really no problem in the financing or the banking side of it or the capital side of it. It was really just, it was really just getting, getting clarity going forward. I think that The Springs of Vancouver Waterfront is a little more challenging because COVID has caused a slight shift, right. A shift in kind of how we do things. And some of the building types. It’s caused the buildings to be the inflationary things that we’re seeing, everything has gotten more expensive.

Fee Stubblefield: (10:48)
And also we’re seeing that change that you talk about around, we’re seeing the boomers enter the market, right. And in a higher end community like The Springs on the Waterfront in Vancouver is, there’s not a lot of.. We’re kind of projecting into the future a little bit. So you gotta balance the comps of what’s happened in the past with what we’re building in the future. And anytime you’re, you’re building the next generation community, which that one is, getting everybody on board to see the vision and what the customers want. I mean, we are the ones that see what the customers want before anybody else as an operator. And we saw that through the opening of our Springs at Lake Oswego, which is a predecessor to The Springs at the Waterfront in Vancouver. And, and so we can see it clearly to us. It just works, but it takes a little while longer to bring everybody on board and get things going.

Beth Mace: (11:35)
What are one of those things that you think the future customer wants that you’re trying to put into your new buildings?

Fee Stubblefield: (11:42)
Well, they definitely want space, right? And the challenge in an environment like Vancouver, Washington is not, if I were in New York city, it might be a little bit different. People are live used to living in really small spaces, right? So a really high density, high rise building is much more accepted, but if we’re building a urban type of building and a market that is in the developing stages of urban living you want to make sure that you don’t shortcut your unit size. So you’re going to build a big enough unit so that people move in. Last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money and nobody wants to move in because the apartments aren’t big enough, because they’re used to they’re moving from a suburban home for example. And so that was definitely a consideration for that location.

Fee Stubblefield: (12:26)
The other things they want to know that we can keep ’em safe. And so there’s a lot of things that go into that around environmental systems, access control. We learned through COVID being able to isolate an outbreak is technologically through elevators and access stores and things like that can provide a lot of value and keep people safe. It’s like a fire door, right? So we have fire we’ve always built our buildings with fire doors. Right? Well now it’s more of like a health firewall that we’re putting up. The other thing that’s really changed too, if you think about it is during COVID, this was the big, biggest point of evolution. We weren’t set up for room service. Sure. We had do some room service here and there, but it was mainly when people weren’t feeling well and, and the staffing wasn’t an issue. And then we went to doing almost all of our meals, room service. These buildings were built for that. It’s not like they were built as a hotel. So now we’re planning for that in the future. So that if we have to go back to that, we can deliver quality because I can tell you this, we cannot deliver quality food service in buildings that weren’t set up for that it is in almost impossible. So we have to think differently. We have to adjust.

Beth Mace: (13:34)
Huh. That’s interesting. Haven’t heard that actually. Okay. So let’s switch a little bit and talk about you, but actually before I do that, I want to ask on our statements about two truths and a lie. Is it true that you are a 12th generation American?

Fee Stubblefield: (13:51)
It is. It is. It is. The first Stubblefield. Yeah.

Beth Mace: (13:54)
Tell us a little bit about that.

Fee Stubblefield: (13:56)
Yeah. Anne Andrews was born in 1640 in Virginia and she married Simon Stubblefield who came from Cambridge Shire, England. And so that was the start of the Stubblefield. We actually have some family that go back a little bit further than that. Not that much further, but a little bit further kind of in a different line, but in the direct line for my surname. That’s the oldest native born American

Beth Mace: (14:20)
That’s great. Thanks. So was your family involved with the revolutionary war?

Fee Stubblefield: (14:27)
Yeah. George Stubblefield. Actually is his name’s on a plaque I saw when I was a kid for the first time in Williamsburg and then our story is the American story and eventually ended up west, right? Yeah. Started north, went south, ended up in Texas and then ended up in Oregon.

Beth Mace: (14:47)
They call it God’s country. Right, Oregon.

Fee Stubblefield: (14:50)
It’s, it’s a beautiful place. You get two paychecks out here, you get what you make in your job. And then you get the the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that we have.

Beth Mace: (14:59)
Yes, that’s very true. All right. So tell us a little bit about your career path and lessons learned on the way that you might want to share with younger people listening to this call.

Fee Stubblefield: (15:10)
So I guess I would, I would call it putting together all the puzzle pieces of experience in my life. And I just happened to be able to have the opportunity to work in a bunch of different sectors that I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, what I should do. And so I was able to put that together and that ultimately ended up in creating The Springs Living. I’d say the most, the most important advice I would give to anybody starting in their career right now is embrace your story. Even the parts of it, those apostrophes in life that you know, are met that you might not think are worthy or up to speed or the difficulties, all of that is part of your story. And I think it’s only when you can fully embrace your experience and your journey, which nobody else has lived or can live that you start to put the puzzle pieces together and find something that you can do and make a difference.

Beth Mace: (16:17)
Yeah. I would agree with that. So I think you’ve kind of answered this, but I was going to ask you like why senior housing. I think it’s because your grandmother and what surprised you about sort of doing senior housing for this long, or what have been some of the rewards or some of the biggest challenges you found along the way?

Fee Stubblefield: (16:35)
Well, what surprised me is that I’ve done it this long. I didn’t even know it was a thing, right. I didn’t know it was a career. I mean, this was an accidental kind of a chocolate and peanut butter going around a corner moment. I didn’t intend to do this. I didn’t think that I’m particularly anything worthwhile, but you know, I came to realize that our family story was really interesting. Really interesting story actually offered a very good metaphor for how we view the way we want to create environments for people dealing with the aging process to live. And, and that was really centered around Layman Hot Springs. Place I grew up in Eastern Oregon, Beth, that was a very remote location that nobody would go there, except it has these 50 Springs that bubble out of the ground.

Fee Stubblefield: (17:28)
This amazing hot water collects in these 9,000 square feet of pools. And it’s this very healing, warm water that people go to, right? Nobody would ever go to this remote location if it wasn’t for this water. And then around that water where the founder originally of that community in, I think it was 1878, James Layman. And then eventually my grandfather who bought it in 1925, built a lodge and built cabins and eventually built RV park and campgrounds. I used to clean and rake the pine needles out of the camp sites with my grandmother when I was a kid. And so it’s really a great metaphor for what we do because just like nobody would go to that remote location in eastern Oregon, if it wasn’t for that water, nobody’s going to move into their buildings.

Fee Stubblefield: (18:21)
Certainly not willingly if we don’t have that warmth, that care and the compassion actually that our staff bring to our buildings. So our buildings are our buildings, right. But what makes them communities, what makes them of value to residents is that care, compassion, and the way our staff make them feel and take care of them and support them in that chapter of life. And so it became a real metaphor. And I grew up at the Hot Springs thinking it was just a resort. I learned years later, very interesting story, I ran into the last full-blooded Kaius Native American, Jesse Jones, whose kids I grew up with. He was a chief, grew up with his kids in outside of Penton, Oregon. And I was talking to Jesse one day, because I thought there was a lost Native American gold mine up there.

Fee Stubblefield: (19:13)
And he kinda laughed and said, “No, no, there was no gold mine up there.” Cause my grandmother used to talk about that, Beth, that she would be up there at the hot springs, working in the twenties and tribes would come up and pitch tepees. And they’d be up there for two or three weeks. But it turns out that there was no gold mine, unfortunately because we actually own it. And we actually take our staff there. It’s a leadership retreat that we use. But anyway, it wasn’t a gold mine that was there. He actually said it blew me away when he said it, because he didn’t know what I did. He said it’s actually, it was our retirement community is what he said

Beth Mace: (19:46)
Really. Wow.

Fee Stubblefield: (19:48)
That’s where they took their old ones to soak. And if you look back and research Native American tribes the White Islands have it too on the big island, there’s that place of refuge where hot springs were a place of refuge, no matter where you were, what tribe you were, if you were battling another tribe, you could go there. There’s a place for respite and care and you know, just to be better. And so The Springs is a deep cultural connection for us and really offers a story that we connect with. And we enjoy that story.

Beth Mace: (20:20)
That’s a great story. I’ll have to come up and soak in the springs.

Fee Stubblefield: (20:23)
Yeah, anytime.

Beth Mace: (20:24)
Alright. So let’s switch topics to senior housing. So are you optimistic about the path that we’re going in senior housing? There’s been a lot of challenges related to pandemic. There’s been some reputation risk. We have challenges right now with low occupancy across the industry, not necessarily for your properties. NOI is being squeezed by rising expenses. There’s a lot of challenges right now. What is your view on the sector for the near term in long term?

Fee Stubblefield: (20:54)
I’ve never been more excited. I’m also tired to be very transparent. The last couple of years have taken a lot out of all of us. We’re in a little thematic goal right now at The Springs Living of we call it the great refresh. We’re just trying to get people healthy again and strong again. But that said, we will do that. We feel that there’s not only a great responsibility, but great opportunity going forward. And we are the most optimistic we’ve ever been. I mean, some of the lessons that we’ve learned in our teams have been kind of forged through this fire of the last couple of years have brought us together and made us stronger. Those things are going to be very impactful, the point of view and the clarity and the timing, even though we’ve went through this very challenging time and there’s quality issues in all of our communities, ours included. The demographics and the need for us not giving up and figuring this out and using the lessons that we’ve learned.

Fee Stubblefield: (21:58)
And I think there’s been a lot of great lessons that are going to propel our profession forward. It’s the most exciting time that we’ve ever had. And I think most of that is really based around clarity on how we go forward. And I think there’s a lot of reason for optimism.

Beth Mace: (22:16)
So one of the big topics out there, and I know that you’re pretty passionate about it is staffing.

Fee Stubblefield: (22:22)
Mm-hmm .

Beth Mace: (22:23)
I know in 2020 you were recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the best workplaces for aging services. You’ve been certified as a great place to work by Activated Insights, which is a leading senior research company. Tell us how you’ve achieved that prestigious recognition and what unique programs you had for your staff and then how to grow staff. It’s such a big issue for most of us in this industry.

Fee Stubblefield: (22:45)
So the staffing in our view, the staffing is the key. So we talk about a purpose, a mission, and a plan. And our purpose is really kind of universal for our resident, staff, investors, and each other is really to help everybody live their life to it’s fullest, but you know our mission is really to change the way people think and feel and experience senior living, right? It’s back to my grandmother’s promise. We don’t want to build old folks homes. We don’t do that. But the plan is the way that we all achieve that is by changing the way people think and feel, and experience being a part of, or working in senior housing, In our opinion. The workforce is the key, right? It’s the key to the future and how we respond to the changing workforce.

Fee Stubblefield: (23:31)
And maybe the ignored needs, I would say too, of the workforce in the past where labor was more plentiful and maybe we didn’t pay as close attention as we could because we’re able to hire somebody else in. Well, those days are over. And so we’ve gotta be responsive to our customers, certainly and bring the quality back which we’re doing. But the way we do that is to really understand our team and the people that make it happen. Right. We talk about that interaction, since we’re open 24/7/365, the interaction between the resident and the direct care staff, that’s there in the middle of the night, that interaction, those touchpoints are the key to everything and our weakest links and our strongest links are found in those interactions. And so we have to understand and do that.

Fee Stubblefield: (24:20)
Now, the survey, we kind of took a different approach around Great Places to Work. So Great Places to Work, what we love about it, the rankings are the rankings, right? You end up where you end up, it’s a black box. We don’t know. Our leadership team is decided that we really… I think last year, we were number, I don’t know, eight. It’s great to be in the top 10, but it’s kind of irrelevant because we really don’t have a lot of control over that. But what I love about Great Places to Work, Beth, is the questions that we get to ask in a safe place for the staff, right. So that we can learn. And so I think that’s the key to surveys and things like Great Places to Work is the byproduct where you end up is really going to be a result in our view to the extent that you really listen to the concerns of your staff and the fact that your staff feel that they can express those concerns.

Fee Stubblefield: (25:23)
If we were in the top 100, but we had some really poignant, insightful, even critical questions and things that were learned through the survey process, I would consider that a success too. Does that make sense?

Beth Mace: (25:37)
Yeah, absolute sense. We use it at NIC as well, and we’ve been a great place to work as well. so it’s important to get that feedback from your staff and it’s an anonymous way to do it. So I totally agree. So, if you had to think about what the largest challenges facing our industry would it be labor and staffing or is there another issue that top of mind for you?

Fee Stubblefield: (25:57)
I think we have to ask a question what’s behind labor, right? The labor is the issue. There’s enough people to work and there’s technology solutions coming on. It’s the fact that we have to attract the labor. So then we have to ask a deeper question. My personal opinion, it’s really alignment of clarity and organizational cultures around capital and operations. Meaning that the culture in a capital organization, which is predictable and dependable, back to Bill Snyder’s words, is predictable and dependable. What we do in our communities is very cultivated or enrichment, meaning that we’re aspirational, we’re values based. And I think some of the, in my view, some of the quality, perceptions, and problems that we’ve had, Beth, are by the two cultures not understanding each other, but we need each other, right. Capital needs the operators and the operations, because that’s how they access the financial ability to get a return on investment, for us.

Beth Mace: (27:01)
Right, right.

Fee Stubblefield: (27:02)
We need, as operators, the capital because that’s fuel for our engine, right. That’s gas to get us to the next place to adjust and to change. And so I think COVID is going to give us some opportunity to really understand and learn lessons around what performed well, what went well, what didn’t go well. And I would say the biggest challenge is the cultural clarity between operations and capital and aligning that. I mean, we’re seeing issues out there, stresses, cracks, problems. And I would tell you that it’s really clarity around what we do and how we should do it and what the clash of the cultures between these two groups. But we need each other anyway. That’s our point of view and we’re working on that and some tools around what we need to prevent that.

Beth Mace: (27:57)
Yep. That’s great. Okay, great. We’re hearing a lot about active adult these days? Is The Springs Living going into the active adult category in terms of serving that cohort?

Fee Stubblefield: (28:13)
I started my career in active adult in the 80s and I see it. I understand it. And I have to say that attending the last NIC session, the spring NIC session really changed my view because I was involved in active adult. I was not as positive about it until the light bulb kind of clicked on in the last NIC session. And I love the new format by the way that you guys have done.

Beth Mace: (28:42)
That’s great. Thanks.

Fee Stubblefield: (28:43)
It’s wonderful. And I really saw it as an important segment going forward. I’ve kind of taken a little different view. I do see it as an important piece. I think it’s going to be important for affordability, but I also think it’s going to be for us in the market concentration that we have, it’s like having another golf bay or another club in your golf bag. Right. It provides another opportunity for somebody to… Different living environment that has access to support. So I do think it’s going to be important going forward.

Beth Mace: (29:21)
Mm-hmm . And then I know that a few years ago we did a big paper on what we called the “Forgotten Middle” and that was really providing care and housing to middle income seniors. And is that also a group that you might be targeting?

Fee Stubblefield: (29:33)
Absolutely. We have three, basically three brands, right. We have a cornerstone brand, a heritage brand, and then our summit brand, because what we’re trying to really do is serve our community, our neighborhood that we live in, Oregon and Montana specifically. And so if we’re going to do that, we really need to have a continuum of something that works for everybody. So we have to be in all of those areas. So we’re kind of thought of as a high end developer right now, because of some of the very visible communities that we’ve built, like The Springs at Lake Oswego and The Springs at the Waterfront that we’re building right now, Happy Valley and Gray Gardens and on and on. What people don’t realize is that we have buildings that have high percentage of Medicaid.

Fee Stubblefield: (30:22)
We serve all kind of social economic levels. And it’s important to our mission that we do that and we really see the integration of our ability by having those different options for people to choose. It really enhances the staffing resources that we can provide and the way that we can craft services and offerings around that. But this is the biggest piece that we’ve got. We’ve gotta figure it out. And I think public policy plays a really big part of that because it’s proven that if we can create safety nets and we can incentivize or encourage people to feel safe to use their private pay money effectively to live healthier longer. And to me, that’s one of the keys to the “Forgotten Middle” is they’ve gotta have some confidence because we all fear running out of money before we run outta life. And so to the extent that we can know that we can spend our personal treasure and if something bad happens that there’s a safety net then I think you’re going to see people being able to meet that need. So it’s a very complex question. We’re not going to solve it in this short podcast, but I think there’s a lot of reason to hope. And there’s a lot of innovative ways that we’re going to see that solution happen.

Beth Mace: (31:49)
That’s great. Thanks for your comments on that. So back to some statements about you. So is it true that you had a face to face encounter with this silverback gorilla in the jungle? That can’t be true?

Fee Stubblefield: (32:06)
It is true. And if we were doing a video podcast, I could show you the video. I happened to come face to face with a very violent silverback gorilla who was pounding the ground, like gorillas use their fist, as we’ve seen in national geographic and others, right at my feet and I happened to be filming it. So for some reason I didn’t run screaming, which I wish I would’ve after it happened, but that actually did happen. That did happen. Yeah.

Beth Mace: (32:40)
I’ve never met anyone who had that happen. That’s quite a story. And I’d like to see the video sometimes. So last comment, do you have six kids?

Fee Stubblefield: (32:51)
I do not. I have three wonderful kids and we’re very fortunate and very proud of ’em. So I have three children, we have three children.

Beth Mace: (33:02)
That’s great. That’s great. I have two and two is plenty for me. Alright, well, this is great. Are there anything in wrapping up that you want to mention or say that we haven’t talked about?

Fee Stubblefield: (33:14)
I would just say that I, I think everybody needs to take a breath here and realize that we’re just coming out of the two most difficult years that our profession has ever seen. I mean, we’ve been tested over many, many challenges from the great recession to 9/11. Go back. Keep going back. Y2k, FDIC. We’ve been tested a lot. The last two years have been challenging. I know where there’s problems out there, but it’s going to be okay. There’s a lot of reasons to hope. I think if we can get everybody rested up, I know this is going to lead to great quality, great opportunities for the people that live in the communities that work in the communities and also invest. And we need the investors to be able to keep this going and to provide those living environments for people. So again, we’re just really excited. We thank thank you and NIC for everything that you guys do. It really helps keeps us connected and shares ideas and, you know, everybody needs to work together here, but we will get through this.

Beth Mace: (34:25)
Yep. I totally agree. interestingly, I did an interview earlier today with Cindy Baier, who is the CEO of Brookdale on her new book, “The Heroes Work Here.”

Fee Stubblefield: (34:34)
Yeah. Yeah. She told me about that. That’s great.

Beth Mace: (34:36)
Yeah. So it’s a plug for her and you get another podcast to listen into, but it was a great interview and she’s really passionate about the industry as are you, so it’s good to talk to you so much. So I appreciate it.

Fee Stubblefield: (34:47)
Thank you, Beth.

Beth Mace: (34:49)
All right. And thanks everyone for listening in and have a good day.

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