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LeadingAge Awards: Our 2012 Winners

by Published On: Jul 30, 2012
2012 LeadingAge Awards

The 2012 LeadingAge Award winners are leaders of vision, spirit, compassion and commitment. All demonstrate creativity and adaptability in the programs and practices they create. 

All of them show that, regardless of the uncertainties facing senior care and services over the next generation, our field has the right people in place to continue to create the future and expand the possibilities for aging.  

Award of Honor

Stephen L. McAlilly
President and CEO
Methodist Senior Services
Tupelo, MS

Steve McAlilly is President and CEO of Methodist Senior Services of Mississippi (MSS), a position he has held since 1994. Prior to that, he practiced law in Meridian, MS, for 14 years, until joining MSS. Under his direction, the organization has added several new communities, including the rebuilding of one destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Steve was the first to take the promising but then-untested concept of the Green House nursing home model and turn it into reality, building the nation's first Green Houses.

Steve and MSS welcomed the inaugural LeadingAge Leadership Academy for its very first site visit. Since then, he has served as a leader-in-residence for the program and as a review committee member. Under Steve's leadership, MSS has earned the prestigious EAGLE accreditation by the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries (UMA) 3times. As UMA chair, Steve led that organization through a major strategic redirection, positioning it for the future.

Steve McAlilly is an exceptional leader who has been engaged on many levels – locally through his organization based in Tupelo, MS; regionally, through his engagement with LeadingAge Gulf States; and nationally, through leading the way with the first Green Houses, his volunteer role with the LeadingAge Leadership Academy, and as chair of the United Methodist Association.

Excellence in Leadership Award

Luanne B. Fisher
President & CEO
Liberty Lutheran Services
Ambler, PA

Luanne Fisher has dedicated more than 35 years to the advancement and innovation of care and services for the aging. As CEO of Liberty Lutheran Services, she has worked tirelessly to develop that growing organization’s vision – pioneering, expanding and enhancing its services, and sharing its expertise through education and consultation. Luanne manages a $60 million dollar budget and leads with optimism and deep commitment. 

Her leadership was significant in the decision to merge 3 Lutheran organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2001 to form Liberty Lutheran. With the support and dedication of a staff of 1,100, Luanne has raised the standard of care for the more than 58,000 individuals that Liberty now serves through the expansion of services in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. She and the organization have embarked on an ambitious, 5-year, $30 million capital campaign to support renovations and an endowment.

Luanne’s vision for Liberty is informed by her “World Class Objectives” aligned with quality and excellence in service, innovation, financial solvency and Liberty’s role as a faith-based leader. Her commitment extends beyond Liberty Lutheran through service on numerous boards and local and national committees. This includes being tapped by Lutheran Services in America to serve at a national level to advise organizations that are looking at development and merger opportunities.

Excellence in the Workplace Award

Tabitha Health Care Services
Lincoln, NE

Tabitha supports excellence in the workplace through its innovative and courageous LIVE to Succeed culture. LIVE’s objectives are to help employees:

  • Love their jobs.
  • Invite optimism.
  • Vision success.
  • Embrace the mission.

LIVE is supported by ongoing education, employee appreciation and other rewards designed to make Tabitha a great place to work. The substantial time and financial resources the organization has dedicated to its LIVE to Succeed culture reflects an authentic commitment to building an outstanding workplace. 

Tabitha credits LIVE for contributing substantially to the organization’s numerous honors for elder-care excellence. Recent honors include being listed among:  

  • U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing Homes in Nebraska.
  • The National Association of Homebuilders’ Best of 50+ Housing.
  • KFOR-Radio’s Best of Lincoln.
  • The York News-Times’ Best Home Health Provider. 

In addition, employee and client satisfaction has seen measurable improvement under LIVE to Succeed. The staff turnover rate is well below the industry average, and 100% of hospice clients and families say they would “strongly recommend” Tabitha to others.

Tabitha has proven, through LIVE to Succeed, that a strong employee culture is the bedrock of success in achieving the highest levels of quality, professionalism and compassion in aging services.

Innovation in Care and Services Award

Bethany Health Care Center
Framingham, MA

Bethany Health Care Center is being honored for its delivery of quality health care through adoption of the innovative Bethany Model of Care Program. Today, Bethany experiences a less than 1% hospital readmission rate due to the program’s “treat in place” modality of care. Integrated with the model is a “consistency of care” method of service delivery. 

To achieve desired outcomes, the center uses established benchmarks to measure performance. These include: monitoring data, quality measures, compatibility with Bethany policies and procedures, and survey results. Resident and family satisfaction are also key components in achieving quality health care at Bethany. 

The center has consistently scored 100% in referral recommendations from resident and family member respondents to a state-conducted survey.

Uncompromised in its commitment to quality care, Bethany serves the community regardless of an individual’s socioeconomic status or religious affiliation. Despite realizing reimbursement rate losses for approximately 82% of its residents, Bethany Health Care Center was named to the 2012 Honor Roll in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Nursing Homes list.

Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award

La Posada at Park Centre
Green Valley, AZ

Located in Arizona, La Posada has assumed an important role in helping Spanish-speaking employees learn English, a crucial step to taking the English-written U.S. citizenship test. As of spring 2012, 34 new American citizens have participated in these programs. La Posada residents have also gone the extra mile to mentor employees who aspire to learn English, to help them study for the citizenship test, and to fund their educational pursuits. 

Staff may use La Posada scholarship funds to seek degrees or certifications, attend workshops, learn English, take certified nursing assistant training or earn a GED. They are not limited to classes related to their current jobs. Only personal goals and lifelong dreams drive their choices.

La Posada provides employment documents in Spanish and employs translators for open employee forums. The organization ensures that employees in all work environments are included and respected without regard to their primary language or background.

La Posada is committed to advancing the interests of its staff who seek to learn English, earn American citizenship, or simply engage in meaningful work where cultural and language differences are respected.

Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor Award

Ramona Davies
Director, NCPHS Community Services
Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services
San Francisco, CA

Ramona Davies has been a supportive, nurturing and encouraging advocate for her staff. She inspires them to think differently, to look at the bigger picture, to go further, to ask the questions that need to asked and to take risks - all while keeping in mind the ethics of the profession, the organization, and the quality of service delivery.

Her protégés cite her incredible ability to take the views and ideas of others and beautifully synthesize them to get to the core of what needs to be accomplished. With expertise gained through involvement at the local, state and national levels of aging services, Ramona provides her staff with guidance, inspiration, insight and leadership. Those she has mentored consider her a true gift to her organization and the field of aging.

Excellence in Research and Education Award

Margaret Blenkner Research Institute
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
Cleveland, OH

The MBRI, founded in 1961, is a respected leader in conducting applied research. Its findings have been used to share the voices of the frailest, oldest members of society and their families, as well as the organizations and staff who care for them.

The Institute’s work has been used to improve the quality of life and care of older adults, reduce caregiver burden and strain, coordinate care, and improve the health and well-being of older adults. MBRI’s research findings have also been applied to challenges human service organizations face such as direct-care worker shortages and staff turnover in long-term care settings. Study results have been disseminated widely at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.

MBRI staff hold leadership positions in professional organizations and faculty positions in universities such as Case Western Reserve University, the University of Akron, and Youngstown State University. In addition, the institute trains and educates students from other universities in the U.S. and around the world.

Public Trust Award

Joel Wrobbel
Director of Marketing
Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services
Columbus, OH

Thanks to host Joel Wrobbel, the OPRS radio program, “Journey Through Aging,” has taken root in Ohio, reaching all 88 counties. The program airs every Saturday morning on WRFD 880 AM in the Columbus area, WHKZ 1440 AM in the Youngstown-Warren area and WHKW 1220 AM in Greater Cleveland. At, listeners anywhere can enjoy past broadcasts.

Besides his regular duties as director of marketing for Westminster-Thurber Community in Columbus, Joel has taken full responsibility for writing, producing and hosting the radio program and booking its guests. He designed the format to be a weekly conversation about issues people face as they age and practical solutions to make life easier and more fulfilling.

Journey Through Aging regularly highlights the wisdom and contribution of OPRS residents. It educates consumers, creates awareness of housing and services, and debunks myths about aging – and aging services providers.

Outstanding Advocacy Award

Kris Hansen
Western Home Communities
Cedar Falls, IA

Kris Hansen is recognized for his work over many years as an effective, proactive advocate for issues affecting LeadingAge members. One of the association’s earliest experiences with Kris came when he was in D.C. for a meeting of the then-AAHSA Budget Committee. 

The Advocacy staff needed to reach Iowa Senator Harkin immediately, and Kris responded without hesitation, was briefed quickly and dashed down to the senator’s office. His willingness and ability to respond effectively on the spot branded him as one of the Advocacy team’s “go-to” members, and he has never disappointed.

Kris is a persuasive advocate with good instincts and a keen understanding of the importance of developing relationships with his representatives. He stands out for his persistence, knowledge, ability to craft and present creative arguments, and his ever-present good cheer.


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