Staff Stories - July 27, 2019
President & CEO Rob Liebreich joined Goodwin House Incorporated on July 1, 2019. He has shown great enthusiasm and focus throughout his first month with us, though he took time from his busy schedule to answer some questions for The Good Life.
What inspired you to change careers and start working in the senior living industry?
My journey into serving older adults started with a wonderful childhood full of opportunities to spend time with my grandparents. One of my first jobs was as a dishwasher at a summer camp for older adults. An early volunteer effort was spending time playing games at a nursing home. In 2002, after a six-month, life-changing trip around the world, I came back to Oregon, where I was raised, to see my Grandma Lee (my dad’s mom). She was set to move into a senior living community; however, the day before the move, I sat at her bedside as she passed away. Following that moment, I decided to dedicate myself to serving older adults with a goal of replacing fear and anxiety with hope and purpose.
Who or what encourages you to continue to uplift the lives of older adults and those who care for them?
My personal goal, which fits very well into the mission of Goodwin House as it relates to uplifting people, is fueled each day by the awesome people I get a chance to encounter: both older adults and those who are committed to their success, our staff members.
What do you enjoy doing when not at GHI?
I am a proud and joyful husband and father of three, and I enjoy spending time with family, which these days includes a lot of opportunities to coach. In addition to family, I love to travel and explore, and am always happy to play a board or card game.
What challenges do you see ahead for GHI and/or the industry as a whole?
The biggest news headlines at the forefront of determining our success will be around retaining and attracting fantastic staff members, and how as a society we come around older adults who are without strong financial resources.
Lacking a dedicated workforce, Goodwin House—and our industry as a whole—will be challenged to meet the growing desires of older adults. Information I see indicates a growth within our industry of 70% in terms of new services and offerings; however only a 1% growth in potential workforce to meet these desires.
Without a comprehensive approach to serving all older adults with options such as care navigation regardless of wealth, our healthcare system will be pushed to catch many older adults only at the point of crisis, an expensive and I believe in many cases a preventable circumstance. Already 1/3 of older adults in our country have no money left each month, we need to come around this reality.
What opportunities lie ahead for us?
In short, MANY, and new ones all the time! Given the well-earned reputation and financial strength of the Goodwin House organization, combined with the talent, knowledge and energy of the older adults, staff members and Board of Trustee members who affiliate with this organization, we will be at the forefront of uplifting many lives around us for years to come. The key is it takes ALL of us knowing that we can make the world better around us.
What is the one thing we can do to help change our society’s view of aging?
Get involved. For nearly two decades I have served this industry, and whenever older adults commit time and energy to engaging with younger people—from elementary school through college—it absolutely changes the discussion around aging in a positive way.