Forty-four industry leaders and up-and-coming professionals in senior living and skilled nursing, along with Lifetime Achievement Award winner Wendy Simpson, chairman and CEO of LTC Properties, were championed Tuesday evening during the 2020 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Awards ceremony. 

The second annual event featured a 90-minute online ceremony including a video montage of each of the honorees and words of encouragement from both political parties’ top leaders on the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The event was moved online due to pandemic restrictions.

“Whether a Hall of Fame inductee or a Rising Star, you are champions of fulfilling senior living and compassionate skilled care,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. Honorees’ leadership in the senior living and skilled nursing industries, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been “invaluable” to seniors’ safety, she added. 

“I commend you for your commitment and professionalism. Your dedication to provide a full and enriched life to our older relatives and friends makes such a positive difference,” Collins said. “Thank you for your contributions to our seniors, and keep up the good work.” 

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the Aging Committee, also thanked the honorees for their around-the-clock work to provide high-quality care. 

“You have stepped up under the most difficult of circumstances. We owe you more than just our gratitude,” Casey said, who also vowed to fight for more funding, higher wages and personal protective equipment for providers.

Also congratulating honorees were American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living President and CEO Mark Parkinson, LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care President and CEO Brian Jurutka, American College of Health Care Administrators President and CEO Bill McGinley and AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine Executive Director Christopher Laxton.

The full ceremony can be viewed online by registering here. The full lists of the Hall of Honor and Rising Star honorees are posted online.

Forum starts today, features CE credits

The awards ceremony also served as a prelude to today’s Women of Distinction Forum, which includes three hour-long webinar sessions starting at 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and noon ET.

The three sessions will offer free CE credits and question-and-answer opportunities with the speakers, who will provide professional insights for all long-term care professionals. To register for the free event, click here.

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.