In this episode of the LTC Heroes podcast, Gretchen Brown, President and CEO of Stonehill Franciscan Services joins us to discuss how to develop an organization by breaking down silos and supporting staff in a productive way. 


Breaking Down Organizational Silos


Gretchen talks about her experience at Stonehill and highlights the importance of forming strong relationships right off the bat with your staff as a new CEO. She also points out that if there are fragmented elements of an organization, realigning them should be a top priority as you begin your journey with an organization.

When it comes to breaking down silos, Gretchen says it’s vital to include all departments and voices in your discussions in order to truly improve. You not only need to listen, but actually implement solutions that will help support the culture you want to establish within your organization.


Setting Employee Expectations


Gretchen notes that setting proper expectations for employees and following up with them on those expectations goes a long way toward employee satisfaction. They need to feel like their responsibilities are actually in line with their assigned position, and they also need to feel that the behind-the-scenes logistics of their position are being taken care of properly.

Gretchen also shares some great insight on the tools and metrics she uses to gauge success within her organization, and these can be explored in the resources section below.

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Rapid Fire Q/A:


Do you have any uncommon hobbies?
I absolutely love playing golf, even though I need to keep my day job. I’m not that good. But I still love to play it.


Are there any lessons from your hobby that could be applied in other situations or that you’ve used in long-term care?
I think patience, especially when you’re not a great player. And you know, I always like the old honesty thing, right? You can’t do a foot wedge if you’re keeping a real score.


How does your current self differ from your younger self?
I think I have remained very optimistic and overall a happy individual. But there’ve been a lot of forks in the road on my journey, and some of them not so great. And I have just learned to embrace those and allow that to influence who I am today. So I embrace those forks in the road because I think that they teach you how to be your authentic self.


Do you have a mentor who has influenced how you approach care?
My long-term care mentor is a lot of people. I don’t know that I could make it one. I guess after being in the industry for 38 years, there’s just a lot of great individuals along the way. I think my long-term care heroes are those that have been able to stay part of the field because of their love for this industry and are in it for all the right reasons. I’ve learned such wonderful things from them. And that’s what keeps my passion going.


If you could change one thing about the long-term care industry what would it be?
The vocabulary. We aren’t nursing homes anymore. Our health centers and vibrant communities are so different from 30 years ago. And the vocabulary currently doesn’t highlight how wonderful these LTC organizations are.


What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career?
Be yourself.


What advice do you find yourself giving to others?
Do your best with your best self.