Editor’s Note: We are profiling the McKnight’s 2020 Women of Distinction honorees daily through the program’s July 28 online awards ceremony. To learn more about this digital celebration, the Forum the next day (which offers three free continuing education credits July 29) or the program in general, visit mcknightswomenofdistinction.com.

Katie Potter headshot
Five Star Senior Living President and CEO Katie Potter

Katherine “Katie” Potter has played sports for as long as she can remember and carries the lessons learned from that involvement — the power of teamwork, physical activity and healthy competition — into the workplace.

President and CEO of Newton, MA-based Five Star Senior Living, among the five largest senior living operators in the country, Potter’s passion for sports extends to the company’s support of the National Senior Games, which celebrates the achievements of older adults and provides aspirational goals for Five Star residents and inspiration for employees. It’s just one of the initiatives Five Star has undertaken since Potter assumed her current role in January 2019 after having been executive vice president and general counsel since 2012.

The company also has joined the MIT AgeLab C3 Connected Home Logistics Consortium to further Five Star’s understanding of the evolving needs of older adults and the services that can support those needs. As part of the relationship, Five Star is piloting an intergenerational program with the goals of providing opportunities to integrate the company into the external community, offer lifestyle enrichment for residents and expose local high school students to careers in aging services.

Five Star also has partnered with Aging2.0, a global organization working to address the biggest challenges and opportunities in aging by creating an “ecosystem of innovation.”

Potter has driven Five Star toward being a data-driven company, working with her senior management team to develop key performance indicators for operational efficiency and deliver dashboards measuring performance. Those efforts no doubt have contributed to the company moving up five spots from 2018 to third place in the 2019 edition of J.D. Power’s Senior Living Satisfaction Study. Additionally, after Five Star became the first organization to commit to the J.D. Power Senior Living Community Certification process in 2018, 32 of the company’s communities across seven states had achieved the accomplishment by the end of 2019.

Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park, a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University and an LL.M. in banking and financial law from Boston University, Potter practiced law at Sullivan & Worcester LLP and then Burns & Levinson LLP in Boston, focusing on corporate law matters, including securities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and other transactional matters, before joining Five Star. She also has served as senior vice president, legal and assistant general counsel of the RMR Group, the alternative asset management group that provides management services to Five Star and other companies, since 2016.

Potter also is a team player in the industry, serving on the Argentum Board of Directors, the American Seniors Housing Association Executive Board and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Operator Advisory Board.

Outside of work, she is active with the charity Good Sports, which provides sports equipment, apparel and footwear to children in need. Still reaping the benefits of what she learned on the field, she wants all children to have the same opportunities that she had.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors are OnShift and PharMerica, and the Signature sponsors are Acadia Pharmaceuticals and Enquire.