Members and potential members look to the CALA Board of Directors for representation and leadership. To have a better vision of all that these Assisted Living leaders do for their companies and CALA members, we asked them a series of questions. Their answers illuminate their ideas on work, community, and caring for seniors, and show the breadth and variety of companies represented on the CALA Board of Directors. To celebrate these thoughtful, dedicated people working on our members’ behalf, we will feature weekly interviews with each board member, available here and on the CALA Board of Directors webpage.
Sheila Garner is responsible for the overall operations of Brookdale Senior Living‘s communities in California, which include 19 Assisted Living communities.
1. Why do you work in Assisted Living?
I have worked in all areas of senior housing, and specifically Assisted Living, for over 30 years. The work, for me, is not just a job, it is a calling. I believe that, by working in Assisted Living, I get to touch the lives of seniors and their families and make a difference every day.
2. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt, and why?
If I had ever considered a different career, it would have been in the Forest Service. I love the outdoors and am passionate about preserving our regional, state, and national parks.
3. What are the most important things we should know about your company?
Brookdale Senior Solutions is the largest provider of senior housing in the United States. We are committed to enriching the lives of seniors and to finding solutions for seniors and their families.
4. How would you describe your experience on the CALA board?
Having served on the board for several years, now, I have grown to admire both the board members as well as the staff. The board is comprised of people from large companies as well as smaller companies and, while we may be different in terms of where we are located or the size of our companies, we are all dedicated to doing the right thing and assuring that seniors are being served. Board members have great respect for one another and are able to share ideas, agree to disagree, and find compromise, all in a very supportive environment.
5. What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?
Travel is my passion. Reading and needlework are also passions, but travel is absolutely number one, whether it is in our fifth wheel, traveling through the US and Canada, or traveling to other countries.
6. If you could trade places with any other person, with whom would it be, and why?
I would like to trade places with an airline pilot of a 747. I would just love the opportunity to watch a sunrise or sunset from the front window of a cockpit at 37,000 feet.
7. What song best describes your work ethic?
Donna Summers, “She Works Hard for the Money”