Eric Mendelsohn is CEO and President of National Health Investors (NYSE: NHI) a real estate investment trust with a portfolio that includes independent living, assisted living and memory care communities, among other property types.
In this Hot Seat interview, Mendelsohn shares his love for playing in a garage jazz band, his biggest lesson in senior living so far, and why he frequents Home Depot on Saturday mornings.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Very much a morning person, I usually get up at 4:30 and read three newspapers and do some projects or household chores before I head into work.
It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Where are you right now?
I am at Home Depot waiting for them to open at 7 a.m., some weekends I am there four or five times as I work on a project. My wife thinks I have a girlfriend who works there.
What is your favorite weekend activity?
Practicing music with my garage jazz band.
What was your first music concert? When was it?
Alice Cooper, 1975. The Spectrum in Philadelphia. I was too young to drive so my Dad drove me and my friends down to see it, he was a good sport and sat through the entire concert and encores.
What’s the emoji you use most often?
The “smirking” emoji.
What was your first job in senior living and what was your biggest on-the-job lesson from that experience?
Working as Director of Real Estate at Emeritus Senior Living. My biggest lesson as lawyer was learning that there is a big difference between GAAP accounting and cash accounting.
If you could change one thing about senior living as we know it, what would it be?
The food! That we spend an average $7 per day on raw food is sad. Seniors should have the best food money can buy.
What is your most important people management principle?
Hire good people and help them be successful by giving them the support they need.
Who is your greatest career inspiration?
My old boss at Emeritus Senior Living, Granger Cobb. He was stealthy smart and super personable, a rare combination. He was able to manage people and situations in a disciplined and humane manner. I think of him and his ways often.
If you were recruiting someone to join the industry for the first time, what are three words you would use to describe the senior living industry?
Intense, opportunity and fun.