The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Brendan Healy, senior managing director at VIUM Capital, has been named a 2022 Future Leader by Senior Housing News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Healy sat down with Senior Housing News to talk about his career trajectory and the ways that he sees the industry evolving, including the importance of strong relationships in senior living success, and the need to change the “old stigma” associated with the industry.
What drew you to this industry?
The short answer is that I fell into it. That said, during my first job working in finance in this industry, I was immediately attracted to it for several reasons.
I started in this industry coming out of the recession in 2008/2009, and even then, there was significant discussion around the demographic shift that would be occurring in 2025 when baby boomers started hitting the target senior care age. I knew that there would be strong growth and innovation in the space throughout my entire working career.
While all areas of commercial real estate finance are important, I liked that I would be working in a sector that had a tangible value to the community. Caring for our seniors is of the utmost importance to me. Finance is what we do, but there’s a tangible benefit you feel, you’re taking care of this generation of amazing people.
My wife’s grandfather was a World War II hero, lost his leg in the war at a very young age, yet was the kindest, happiest man I have ever met. Married his childhood sweetheart, raised a wonderful family and lived a long life as a jeweler and watch repairman. My grandmother was an elite tennis player, is in the paddle tennis hall of fame, was a marketing executive for the New Jersey Devils. She taught me everything I know about grit, humility and the importance of trust. My step-grandfather has led an amazing life, is 101 years old, and currently resides in a Kensington Senior Living community. Everybody has a story worth sharing.
My family has also been impacted directly by the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and I know how critical that care is for the individuals suffering with those diseases and their family members.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
At the heart of everything, this entire industry is about relationships and trust, which particularly on the operating side, differs quite a bit from other classes of commercial real estate.
While I certainly have institutional clients, most of my clients are family-run businesses. Generations of family members devoted to the care of our seniors. Everything will not always be perfect, but when you trust each other and have common goals and values, you can weather the storms together.
That isn’t necessarily unique, but when you drill down to how these communities operate, it is still all about relationships. It isn’t driven by the quality of your asset and marketing demographics … It is all about relationships and trust, and the ones that understand that succeed in this industry.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of senior living, what would it be?
There is an old stigma about what these communities really are and how they operate … It isn’t hard to see the truth. You tour a building with a DON, administrator, owner, maintenance staff, they know every resident on a first name basis, genuinely interact with them, care about their story and their history, and want to see them live as long and healthy of a life as possible.
Communities today are set up not just as a place to provide care, but also to stimulate the residents socially, physically, emotionally. The industry has evolved, and will continue to, and I want to see the perception of it evolve as well.
What do you foresee as being different about the senior living industry looking ahead to 2023?
The biggest difference I believe will be a truly sustained trend of census improvement, and gradual cost reduction. The combination of Fed activity fighting inflation and the return of the workforce will drive costs back to a sustainable level.
In a word, how would you describe the future of senior living?
- To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.