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 register or 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 this website.

Melanie Washington headshot
Melanie Washington

As executive director of Whittier Place, a Watermark Retirement Communities assisted living and memory care community in Whittier, CA, Melanie Washington is responsible for managing day-to-day operations. Despite the amount of work that comes with the position, she doesn’t let it stop her from being a helpful resource to staff members and residents.

Washington’s track record and dedication to the senior living industry, along with her willingness to help and educate her co-workers, is why colleagues believe she’ll continue to make a positive impact within the field.

Washington served as an LVN-resident care director with Emeritus Senior Living more than six years prior to joining Whittier Place and was named the “Resident Care Director of the Year” in 2012. She later would go on to earn a position as an executive director for a Brookdale Senior Living community and Nazareth House before ascending to her current role. 

She’s described as a leader who consistently seeks ways to help her colleagues and as someone who demonstrates superior management skills through her sense of compassion and by providing others with tools to become the next generation of industry leaders. Several colleagues have followed her as she’s switched companies to continue being a part of her team, which is further testament to the recognition of her capabilities.  

Washington also has been a key supporter and mentor to several co-workers as they have strived to become nurses in California.

When recently asked why helping others succeed is so important to her, she replied, “In my career, I am who I am because someone noticed me, encouraged me and believed in me, and my biggest job is to pay that forward to others.”

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.