Editor’s Note: The McKnight’s Senior Living Daily Briefing and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Daily Update e-newsletters are profiling each of the McKnight’s 2019 Women of Distinction in July. For more coverage, visit the McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News websites and read the August print edition of McKnight’s Senior Living and July print edition of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

Vanessa Brookes
Vanessa Brookes

At only 13 years old, Vanessa Brookes began her commitment to aging services. She’d visit a local assisted living residence for people living with dementia daily throughout her summers and on weekends during the school year. Her passion developed during this time and led her into a career in healthcare.

She earned an undergraduate degree in gerontology from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and received the Thomas Visgilio II Award for Outstanding Achievement in Studies on Aging upon graduating. During her time at the university, she also continued her volunteer work and completed internships at several regional chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and an Area Agency on Aging.

Brookes has held various posts, from program director, executive director and now as director of quality at Friendly Senior Living in Rochester, NY.

Vanessa Brookes receiving Rising Star award
Vanessa Brookes, right, receives her award from Lois Bowers of McKnight’s Senior Living at a May 16 ceremony. Photo: Social Snacks.

She also is an accomplished presenter. She has led sessions twice at the Connecticut Alzheimer’s Association State Education Conference. The first was in 2012 and covered ways to incorporate principles of the Montessori model into therapeutic programs for the aging. In 2013, she based her talk on a visit she took to Hong Kong and China to see how legislation, cultural values and healthcare practices affected long-term care.

In 2017, Brookes enrolled in a master’s degree program in public administration at State University of New York at Brockport; she expects to graduate in 2020.

She and her husband, Andrew, are planning to add to their family this summer with the birth of their first child.

McKnight’s Women of Distinction is a joint program of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program’s exclusive Platinum sponsor is PointClickCare.