Meet the Board: Jeremy Vickers, CEO of Medford Leas

Through his career, Medford Leas CEO Jeremy Vickers has experienced the cultures of senior living organizations across the United States. In his travels, he has noted similarities among them: the way the organization is structured, the types of work they do. The most successful ones offer services that are reflective of their particular area’s standards and desires. “They have a local flavor that shines through,” he says.

He has also seen the differences. From simple contrasts like architecture—“in Los Angeles, everything is vertical”—to deeper distinctions such as an organization’s values and the philosophies that guide the way they go about their work. And how, despite seeing success in one region, a particular program or approach may fall flat somewhere else. 

This knowledge has been amassed over more than 30 years working within the aging services industry. Vickers began his career in a nursing home administrator role, which led to senior management roles within both nonprofit and for-profit senior living communities. He was a consultant for nonprofit continuing care retirement communities when he learned of the CEO search for Medford Leas. He has been there since 2010.

Quaker values-based organizations are unique, says Vickers. “The way staff interacts with residents is translated differently,” he says. The feeling of community is undeniable. “There’s a level of transparency (among employees and residents) there.”

Having residents on the Board of Directors is one way of eliminating barriers. “It just makes sense to us. There is a need for confidentiality, of course, but there are many things that can be shared.”

Take the budget, for example. Residents on the organization’s Finance Committee receive details and provide input on the organization’s annual budget. There are also residents on the Health, Development and Adult Learning Committees, to name just a few of Medford Leas’ 90-plus active groups.

When residents work alongside staff, there are no surprises, says Vickers. “We share a lot of detail with the people on our committees.” Some organizations may refrain from doing so with the intent of simplification, but at Medford Leas, adding a few extra steps to a process is worth the effort. Involving residents “helps us because they can vet what we say with other members of the community.”

The way this community is defined in the future may change, Vickers concedes. Aging adults are quickly becoming the fastest growing segment of the US population. This means that continuing care retirement communities will need to offer more and different services to remain relevant. As more adults opt to age at home, Medford Leas—and other organizations like it—“have the opportunity to deliver different types of services” going forward.  

The good news is that there will always be a need for high quality products and services, says Vickers. And, having a values-based approach is an important distinction. He embraces the challenge, and feels confident that FSA member organizations can work together to plan for, and deliver services to support, what the future holds.

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Jeremy Vickers lives in Medford, NJ, with his wife, whom he met in 1983 at his first job within a nursing facility. He has three children and two grandchildren.

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