Green House Blog

Ruta Kadonoff, Named Executive Director of The Pioneer Network

We are thrilled to congratulate, Ruta Kadonoff, former Green House Project team member, on her new role as Executive Director of The Pioneer Network.  The Pioneer Network is an organization that was formed to support, advocate and enhance the work of individuals, organizations, regulators and policymakers who are creating a life-affirming, satisfying and meaningful culture of aging and long-term care.

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Ruta Kadonoff, Newly Appointed Executive Director of The Pioneer Network

“I am honored and excited by this opportunity to serve the Pioneer Network and advance its critically important work,” Kadonoff says in a press release. “I am passionate about seeing our vision and values fully realized and look forward to working hand in hand with innovators and individuals across the country who share this passion, who have come together in this unique gathering place for those of us unwilling to settle for the status quo.”

We look forward to opportunities to collaborate with Ruta and advance our shared vision and passion.

Read the announcement in Long Term Living>>

Portrait of a Green House Leader, Joyce Ebmeier

What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change

The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” webinar series continues by highlighting the talents of Joyce Ebmeier, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Tabitha Health Care Services in Lincoln, NE. Tabitha offers a continuum of services to elders, including the first Green House homes in Nebraska and the second built nationally. Joyce attributes her desire to work in elder care to her deep relationship with her grandmother and the wisdom she shared with her growing up. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in Education, she pursued a career in teaching before beginning her career with Tabitha in 1981, where she served as the administrator of their nursing and rehabilitation center for fourteen years. Currently, as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, she is responsible for directing the overall planning, monitoring, communication, and progress of Tabitha’s business and strategic plan.

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Joyce (right) with her mother

Joyce was inspired to champion the development of Tabitha’s four Green House homes after listening to Dr. Thomas speak about The Green House vision in 2001. As an administrator of a traditional facility, she knew the opportunity to imagine a blank page, and create more of what she knew elder care could be through The Green House model was the next step in writing Tabitha’s future chapters. After sharing the vision, the board approved the development of one Green House home after half the initial funds were raised. Joyce identifies that engaging with a grant writer to help locate available funding sources and network with organizational leaders was a crucial strategy to raise the initial funds for the Martin house, their first Green House home to nine elders. After they demonstrated the success of the model through the Martin house, three more homes were built, with plans to purchase property and build four additional homes in the future.

From a cost perspective, Joyce states that their Green House homes are major contributors to the success of the

Construction of a Green House home on Tabitha's campus
Construction of the Good House

entire company. Specifically, adding Green House homes for long term care into Tabitha’s continuum of services provided an opportunity to expand their capacity for post acute short term rehabilitation in their legacy building. This balance of costs and revenues combined aids in the growth of Tabitha’s entire organization. Further, Joyce describes that the quality of care associated with their Green House homes has become a hallmark within the community that is a “magnet” for people seeking long term care. This high demand results in a reliable, sustainable census that is crucial for overall operational success.

However, Joyce notes that the true success or “magic” of The Green House model comes from the incredible people who live and work in the homes and the culture created to foster deep knowing relationships. “It’s the most important part of getting The Green House model correct. If you don’t have the right people and you don’t provide an environment which empowers them to do their work with the elders… if that doesn’t happen the most beautiful and perfectly designed houses are really a waste of time and money.” At Tabitha, recruiting extremely creative, great people has resulted in

Annual Green House carnival
Annual Green House carnival

unique teams in each home where people feel empowered to bring who they are into their work. This results in extraordinary events and celebrations, such as their annual Green House carnival, and quiet everyday moments of compassion, love, and joy in the homes that couldn’t occur in a traditional setting. For Joyce, when talking about her accomplishments in her career, she identifies working with The Green House Project as the one she’s most proud of, yet is continuously striving for success in providing the highest quality of care for elders. When thinking about her Green House legacy in the future, she hopes it reads “But as remarkable as the Green House model became, what came next from these pioneers in elder care was even better.”

Listen to this recorded webinar interview>>

Anna Ortigara, MSN, Honored by Long-Term Living Magazine

We’re not surprised…but we are very pleased to hear that our colleague and friend Anna Ortigara is one of the four people selected this year to receive Long-Term Living Magazine’s 2014 Long-Term Living Leaders of Tomorrow award.

The award honors individuals who are “…making a difference in their towns and states while serving as exemplar model for others across the country” as leaders in the long-term and post-acute care field.

For the past six years Anna was the Resource Director for The Green House Project.  She was a passionate and driven team member who played an integral role in developing our educational program including countless tools and resources.

Earlier this month, Long-Term Living Magazine published a profile of Anna and the incredible work that she has done over the years, including her work before Green House and the role she holds now as an organizational change consultant with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI).  In the article, Anna talks about the importance of educating others about communication and team-based problem-solving skills and says, “I’ve come to really believe that using a coaching approach to leading change as the model or framework creates the capacity, the possibility of all the rest of the transformation for the organization.”

Leading Age names The Green House Project a Leadership Program to Watch in 2013

To expand the world of possibilities for aging, LeadingAge members and affiliates touch the lives of 4 million individuals, families, employees and volunteers every day. The work of LeadingAge is focused on advocacy, education, and applied research. CEO, Larry Minnix, shared an inspiring blog about how far our field of aging has come, and he asks the question, “So, how did dramatic change occur over the generations? Did it happen spontaneously? No, it happened because of the leadership from members, many of whom have served their communities for generations!”

Just as Eden Principle #10 states, “Wise Leadership is the lifeblood of any organization”, Larry Minnix calls out a few programs whose leadership is moving our field forward. The Green House Project, with a commitment to research, including a business case, is honored to be named as a leader. Leonard Florence Center for Living was also named as a leader to watch. As the first urban Green House Project and with incredible use of technology to create meaningful lives for those living with ALS and MS, this project is beyond cutting edge.

Thank you to Leading Age for this honor and for the work that you do to support and advance our field.