Forty-one current and future leaders in senior living and skilled nursing were recognized Thursday at the inaugural McKnight’s Women of Distinction Awards program in Chicago.

Lynne Katzmann, Ph.D., founder, president and CEO of Juniper Communities, was named the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in the program, created by sister media brands McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

Katzmann, whose Bloomfield, NJ-based organization is the only woman-founded, owned and led business among the top 40 national assisted living companies, used her acceptance speech to acknowledge her team, to thank her mother, who attended, “for giving me the courage to step up and to step out” and to call for more women at the highest ranks of organizations.

“Women make up an overwhelming majority of our consumers. They also make up an overwhelming majority of the workforce,” she said. “The ranks of CEOs really need to reflect that strong, dynamic group of women that we serve and that provide care and service to the people that are our residents.”

An even more important goal, Katzmann continued, is that company boards have appropriate representation of women.

“Gender-balanced boards are imperative, and gender-balanced boards get results,” she said. “A recent landmark report for Credit Suisse found that companies with women directors, compared with those without, had higher growth, higher value and higher return on equity. In addition, last year, a study in the [Harvard Business Review] noted that gender-balanced teams achieved greater customer satisfaction and enhanced employee engagement.”

Also during the festivities, McKnight’s Senior Living Senior Editor Lois A. Bowers presented awards to the 21 Rising Star honorees, who have less than 15 years of experience in the profession or are younger than 40 years old. McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman presented awards to the 19 Hall of Honor inductees, who work at an executive level in administration or direct care at operators or in related areas.

See all of the honorees here.

PointClickCare served as the program’s Platinum Sponsor, and SimplyConnect / Eldermark was the Gold sponsor.

See additional coverage of the program here now and in the future. Additional in-depth coverage and photos of the awards ceremony and program also will appear in the June and August print issues of McKnight’s Senior Living and the June and July issues of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

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