The following is an excerpt from the Christian Horizons’ fiscal year 2022 annual report. Click here to read the full report.

By Kate Bertram, Chief Operating Officer

A critical element to achieving our strategic goals is for our teams to understand the “why” in our decision-making and adaptations to current process and procedures. In understanding the “why,” our associates become engaged and contribute to system alignments and modeling strong viability to the organization’s future. The “why” is incorporated in how we provide care and services, as well as the implementation of new or continued operational strategies. Our “why,” and its impact to residents and associates is central to successful operations and underscores my philosophy in leading the operations of Christian Horizons’ communities.

In joining the ministry in March of 2022, was immediately drawn to our mission of service and the passionate dedication of associates throughout our communities and programs Christian Horizons provides. As a result of the global pandemic, these teams have been navigating through significant challenges in the ever-changing environment of rapid state and federal regulations, nationwide labor and wage pressures, and supply chain disruptions. Throughout the challenges, the “why” to our actions remained constant and could be seen throughout the dedicated work we do and our outreach in action. My role as chief operating officer, is to support those who serve and to incorporate our “why” at all levels of decision-making.

Throughout my leadership journey, I have learned that creating a culture of “why” is essential to successful operations. This culture supports the development of controls, in the infrastructure and planning for long-term viability. The pandemic provided us the opportunity to review the impact of our mission, and our “why” for our significant purpose and continued outreach. Today, we are re-building our alignments and reengaging our associates while aligning the operational structure and approaches that make the most sense for our organization.

The largest opportunity we have been afforded is financial stewardship resulting in the strong future viability. Our impact affects so many. This includes not just residents and associates, but their families and greater communities in the markets we serve. As we complete this fiscal year, I look forward to these great teams continuing sound stewardship and growth in markets where we can be in service into the future. A key to this future, and critical in our planning, is understanding and meeting the needs and preferences of a new generation of older adults. We will adapt and retool our campuses and programs to meet, and even exceed, the demands of the market. We’ve began this important work, and it has been exciting to see it unfold. Within our multi-year strategic plan implementation, we are already seeing the positive changes and team engagements.

The work of our teams is the heart of our organization and requires working cohesively towards a single goal. I look forward to making significant strides in the rebuilding of these teams, implementing new and refining current processes, reviewing new technologies for efficiency and resident engagement, and will continue to develop and communicate the understanding of our “why.”

As a faith-led, person-first organization, Christian Horizons is in service to a mission of empowering older adults in mind, body and spirit through faith-led service. Based in St. Louis, Mo., the organization owns and operates a portfolio of seven life plan campuses and five stand-alone older adult communities offering a mix of independent, assisted and supportive living; memory support; long-term healthcare centers and short-term rehabilitation. The organization also serves older adults through Safe Haven Hospice in central Illinois; Senior Care Pharmacy Services; and New Horizons PACE® (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) in St. Louis, Mo.