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) and the program in general, visit mcknightswomenofdistinction.com.

Mary "Molly" Forrest headshot
Mary “Molly” Forrest

After her 48 years in skilled nursing administration and various C-suite positions in long-term care, it might be understandable if someone were to assume that Mary “Molly” Forrest might not necessarily be so up-to-date on the profession’s latest wrinkles.

That assumption, however, would be, oh, so wrong.

Forrest, the CEO – president, the Los Angeles Jewish Home, remains at the leading edge of policy and practice. She and her team will open enrollment in their new chronic condition special needs plan (C-SNP) this fall. In many ways, it’s entirely in character for Forrest, who started her career in 1972 with administrative positions in skilled nursing facilities in California and Oregon.

What followed were terms as a senior/handicapped housing specialist for an Oregon county and six years as a corporate vice president for American Medical Services, where she oversaw 14 facilities and hotels with a cumulative $185 million annual operating and capital budget.

Later, she rounded out her experience as president of her own consulting firm for six years, coaching and advising long-term care executives on all kinds of operational issues.

In 1996, Forrest started at Los Angeles Jewish Home, taking the reins of a struggling community that under her guidance has grown sixfold. Today, its 1,600 employees serve 4,000 individuals on four campuses daily, offering a vast array of care and services. The overall budget is $160 million.

Currently also the board chairwoman of LeadingAge California, Forrest has imbued herself in state, regional and national affairs. She also initiated a gradual succession plan to cover her eventual retirement. That will be a sad day for long-term care, believes Larissa Stephanians, the chief operating officer at the Los Angeles Jewish Home

“You can catch the enthusiasm and energy from her in about 10 minutes,” Stephanians says. “She’s a force of innovation and a trendsetter in our industry — and has been for many years. I agreed to an interview here because I thought, ‘Here’s a woman I can learn from. She can be one of my mentors as I build my own career.’ I was right.”

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 sponsor is Acadia Pharmaceuticals.