Glenaire welcomed its new Executive Director, Ben Stevens, this November. Although he just started, he is already starting to fit right in with this active, engaged and energetic community.
“It’s a dynamic community and organization undergoing a major expansion to take the community into the next century,” says Ben. “Resident leadership on campus is well established, which was particularly attractive to me and I think is attractive to people outside the community.”
Ben took over on November 9 for Hank Lovvorn, COO and Vice President of the Presbyterian Homes, Inc., who served as Interim Executive Director at Glenaire through the summer and fall until Ben was ready to come on board.
Prior to coming to Glenaire, Ben was the Executive Director at Covenant Living at Windsor Park, a CCRC located in the suburbs of Chicago. The position at Glenaire represented an appealing opportunity for Ben both personally and professionally. On a personal level, he and his wife, Roxana, had been interested in eventually moving to the Carolinas with their three young children James (8), Annabelle (6), and Evelyn (2).
Professionally, Ben was committed to working in the nonprofit CCRC space. Having grown up and gone to college in Florida, Ben originally trained for a career in hospitality finance, but changed career tracks after several years in the field.
“I wanted something in hospitality but that had more of a mission focus to it… and the health care industry was a consideration,” explains Ben. “I had a revelation one evening that senior living is the perfect marriage of those two industries.”
When the opportunity came up at Glenaire, he knew the community and PHI were well-run with good leadership and mentoring opportunities. “(Glenaire) is a great, well-established, well-respected community run by a good, faith-based, nonprofit organization, which was kind of the sweet spot for me,” Ben explains. He also knew about Glenaire’s active, vibrant resident culture that made the community unique.
Ben says his priority right now is getting to know the people — staff and residents — in order to understand their priorities. He acknowledges that this may take some time, especially during a pandemic. “Just recognizing people and know their names, it’s definitely more challenging with masks on,” says Ben.
For now, he plans to meet in small, socially distanced groups according to the community’s prevention guidelines. However, he admits he is looking forward to the events and get togethers once it is safe to gather again.
“I’m looking forward to being able to engage, spend time growing together as a community,” he adds. “The benefit of being in a community is that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
Ben has been amazed at the resiliency of the residents and how quickly they have adapted to a virtual world. But he knows that openness to trying new things is part of what makes Glenaire special.
“It’s important for (current and future residents) to know that we are committed to continuing to move the community forward,” says Ben, “while holding onto our values and community culture.”