On this episode, we speak to Paul Smiley, Executive Director at Gilpin Hall, a non-profit organization with a long tradition of care for the elderly since 1824.

Topics discussed include:

– Paul’s longtime family background in long-term care.

– The impact the first interaction with a nursing home can have for a lifetime.

– The impact that being a Marine had on Paul’s leadership style.

– How to think globally and share locally.

– The way Paul would describe his leadership style.

– How a good leader lays down the track and lets the train do the work.

– The ways Gilpin Hall manages to have an outstanding retention rate among team members.

– Resisting the trend toward homogenization in the industry.

– The importance of making personal connections with residents.

Rapid fire Q/A

How did you get involved in long-term care?

My father was a nursing home administrator starting in 1970 and passed away in 2002 after being in the industry for 32 years. So I’ve been in and around nursing homes since I was five years old.

Describe the way you believe in leading your team at Gilpin Hall.

Starting in 2013, I started attending all the orientations for new employees, which allows me to get to know everyone on the team as a person and ask them questions.

How did being a Marine affect your leadership style?

I loved being a Marine, but I didn’t love it while I was going through it. I didn’t like being told to do something right now with no discussion. My leadership style is based on not being like that.

How do you take your caregiving philosophy to your residents?

I think it’s important to sit down and talk to each resident and listen to their stories. They’ve had rich life experiences and we can learn so much from them.

What would your staff members say is your superpower?

My ability to listen to what my staff is telling me they need, and to provide them with the tools they need. My job here is to lay down the track and let the train do the work. I don’t want to get in the way of that.

How do your values guide what you do at Gilpin Hall?

I’m trying to change the narrative and resist the avalanche of homogenization that’s being pressed into our industry. I can’t control everything in our industry, but I can control my little corner of the garden at Gilpin Hall.

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