Perhaps because of the recent election, I have been thinking about women and leadership. Before going any farther, I will tell you outright that I am in favor of more women leaders in our industry.
Having been a business owner and CEO for almost three decades you are probably not surprised to hear me say this, but my reasoning goes deeper: 74% of the people who live in senior housing communities nationwide are women. And, according to the Advisory Board Company, 80% of our team members, the people who make our communities function, are women. But at the top, there are mostly men. In fact, Modern Healthcare’s respected list of the industry’s most influential people named 79 men out of the 100! So, the ratios are inverted when it comes to power and recognition.
I am heartened that there are more women now than when I started Juniper in 1988. Several of the large publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) are led by women. In addition, there are operating companies where the CEO is female and still others with a couple of women in the C Suite. But given we are half of the population and general workforce, and our industry consumer and workforce is so heavily gender skewed, I am dismayed that I am still one of few…
Recent research suggests that companies with gender balance do better in terms of customer satisfaction and value for money. While we may not be ready for a woman in the White House, we must continue to make sure that women have a place in leadership. The first step in making change is awareness. Perhaps Juniper can serve as a role leader. I am proud that our board is gender balanced and our leadership has strong, experienced women as leaders. With greater balance, we can assure that our mission continues to be to “do well by doing good”.