NIC Names Longtime Ziegler Leader McCracken to Oversee Research, Analytics Platform

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC) has named Lisa McCracken as head of research and analytics as the organization continues to retool its leadership team.

In her role, McCracken will oversee NIC’s research and analytics team that develops data-driven insights on senior housing industry challenges and opportunities, according to a news release from the organization issued on Wednesday.

She is currently director of senior living research and development at Ziegler, and she has worked at the Chicago-based specialty investment bank in various roles since joining it in 2013.

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McCracken will start her new role with NIC on Oct. 1.

McCracken told Senior Housing News she would be part of the influential industry group’s evolution within its data and research wings, while helping push the organization forward to provide insights for senior living operators.

“In addition to continuing the work that NIC has already done, it’s really the next generation of research and thought leadership, and I am excited to be a part of it,” McCracken said. “I would say it’s NIC as people have always known NIC to be, plus NIC 2.0.”

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McCracken’s jump from Chicago-based investment bank Ziegler to NIC comes as the organization is in the midst of executing on a new strategic plan, outlined first in March of this year that will focus on: Partnering for health, the middle market, active adult, capital for operations and AgeTech.

A recognizable name within senior housing for years, McCracken spent time as the primary researcher and for Ziegler with the company’s successful editions of LeadingAge Ziegler 200 and the Ziegler CFO Hotline being widely circulated.

“I’m really looking forward to partnering with NIC and leading the research to take the organization and the sector to the next level,” McCracken said. “We’ll certainly be looking at research initiatives already underway but also we need to support the strategic plan.”

That could look like partnering with health care organizations to understand the changing landscape of value-based care structures and metrics related to the emergence of the active adult boon to understanding the middle market. Other areas of research could look into pricing models and capital relationships, McCracken speculated.

Looking out at the industry, McCracken said she remains bullish on senior housing, based on strong demographic trends and demand for the product. But she noted that operators and providers must be willing to “adapt and pivot” to solve persistent challenges related to labor.

“I think we’re going to continue to see diversification in terms of housing types and care models, whether it’s in the home or whether it’s in a brick and mortar type of community-based living,” McCracken said. “I think there are effective ways to thread the needle to align the opportunities that are presented by the demographics and the demand with any challenges and headwinds that are out there.”

In June, NIC announced that longtime senior housing expert Beth Mace, who served as NIC’s Chief Economist, was stepping back to an advisory role as consultant and special advisor.

“No one can replace Beth,” McCracken said. “My role definitely is taking some of the elements of what she saw from a research standpoint, so I will carry the torch for a bit of what Beth has done for a number of years.”

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