What does being a finalist for this award mean for you and your organization?

For Forest Hills of DC, being a finalist for the Board Award means that we are putting significant time and attention into recognition of the dedication, flexibility, labors, and fiduciary stewardship efforts of a voluntary board serving a small, underfunded organization with a 134-year history during historic events these past years. It also means we are publicly affirming our dedication to quality and the community at large, and that we are practicing financial accountability and sustainability in our strategic efforts that are in the realm of best practices.

What have you learned through the application process for Board Leadership Award?

As a result of this application process, we have learned a number of things, as looking in a rear-view mirror tends to lend perspective. Reviewing our past 3-year history with a critical eye has been eye-opening in a positive way. We see that we have a great board with truly diverse talents and perspectives that engage with a common goal to serve our residents. We have validated that over a period of time our passion to create excellence through maintaining and improving quality standards and developing innovative programs are indeed fulfilling our mission to “…inspire and engage our seniors and their caregivers.” And, we have seen that we have been able to not only survive but thrive in comparison to many of our peers in long term care during the pandemic since 2020.

What advice would you offer for other organizations/board members striving for excellence in board leadership?

For other boards striving for excellence in leadership we have these 8 tips to offer:

a. Keep coming back to the mission/vision/values as filters for decision making.

b. Monitor meaningful metrics on quality and finances that demonstrate the mission is being fulfilled, and be transparent about it.

c. Create good working relationships intentionally between board members via intentional communications training with a goal of providing common language for discussions and to foster respect for divergent points of view.

d. Get the right people rowing in the right seat of the boat, rowing in the right direction by actively recognizing, embracing and recruiting diverse talents from other communities to create creative abrasion.

e. Take calculated risks to adapt to changing strategic needs. Stay in strategic direction, and out of operations.

f. Listen and hear everyone with respect, compassion, and civility.

g. Support innovative workforce development ideas with time, funds, and resources in the budget oversight process to grow workforce in the future.

h. Don’t give up.