Marilynn Duker headshot
Brightview Senior Living Co-Chair Marilynn Duker is the 2023 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.
Marilynn Duker headshot
Brightview Senior Living Co-Chair Marilynn Duker is the 2023 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.

Marilynn Duker, co-chair of Baltimore-based Brightview Senior Living, has been selected as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree in the McKnight’s Women of Distinction program.

The award recognizes a woman leader who has made outstanding contributions in the area of senior living, skilled nursing or home care over the course of a lengthy career.

“Brightview Senior Living has racked up some very impressive accomplishments over the years, solidifying its place as an employer of choice in aging services, among other achievements, at a time when recruiting and retaining employees is especially challenging,” said John O’Connor, editorial director, vice president and associate publisher of the McKnight’s family of business media brands, which include McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, focusing on skilled nursing; and McKnight’s Home Care. “Those are award-worthy feats at any time, and we’re delighted to have the chance this year to highlight Marilynn Duker and her contributions to the field.”

Duker joined Brightview’s predecessor, The Shelter Group, a privately held real estate development and property management firm, in 1982 — meaning that she celebrated her 40th anniversary with the company in 2022. She was The Shelter Group’s second employee and has been involved in every phase of the company’s operations and growth. A little more than a decade after joining, she helped found Brightview, where she is one of six partners.

The first Brightview community opened in Bel Air, MD, in 1999. Today, Brightview owns and operates 46 senior living communities in eight states — Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia — and has more than 5,300 employees. Duker was president, and then CEO, of the company, but in 2022, she began transitioning to the role of co-chair.

Prior to joining the company, Duker was a Presidential Intern at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This experience was helpful when she joined The Shelter Group, which was active in affordable seniors housing. In 2017, however, The Shelter Group sold its 43 affordable housing properties to focus on senior living. The next year, The Shelter Group name stopped being used and the Brightview name began being used exclusively.

Brightview indeed has been rewarded for impressive accomplishments over the years. Recently, for instance:

  • The company was the only senior living operator listed among employers on the Best Workplaces for Women lists in 2019 and 2022.
  • Brightview topped the Best Workplaces in Aging Services list for large-sized companies in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
  • 2022 was the company’s second consecutive year earning a spot on People’s Companies that Care list, and it was the only senior living company to make the list, as it had been in 2021.
  • Brightview also was the only senior living company to land a spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, in both 2021 and 2023.

Personally, Duker was recognized in 2019 as the Loyola University of Maryland Sellinger School Business Leader of the Year, an award that honors business executives who embody Loyola’s Jesuit commitment to community and service in the leadership of their organizations. In 2020, the Maryland Daily Record named her one of five Influential Marylanders in Business, and in 2023, the publication named her to its Healthcare Power List.

Duker has been active on the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s Operator Advisory Board, the Mercy Health Systems Board of Trustees, the University of Maryland at Baltimore BioPark Corporation Board of Directors and The College of Wooster Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, and also has a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. 

Duker also is a member of the Committee of 200, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that has a purpose of “chang[ing] the face of business, one woman at a time, by advancing our members and women in business.” And she is a graduate of the Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Program. 

Other award winners for 2023

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction award inductees for 2023 in the Hall of Honor, Veteran VIP, Rising Stars and Spirit Awards categories previously were announced.

Duker and all of this year’s other honorees will be celebrated Monday, May 22, during an in-person cocktail reception, dinner and awards presentation at the JW Marriott in Chicago.

The presentation of awards will be preceded by the fourth annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction Forum, offering educational sessions featuring industry thought leaders discussing important topics. All events are open to the entire long-term care industry, family members and friends of winners, and anyone else interested in attending.

For more information and to register for either or both events, visit Those with questions about the events should contact Anna Naumoski, senior event manager at the parent company of the McKnight’s brands, Haymarket Media, at [email protected].

Keep up to date with McKnight’s Women of Distinction news on the McKnight’s Senior Living website. See a list of previously honored women by year and category on the McKnight’s Senior Living website or an alphabetical list at (scroll down to see it).

PointClickCare is the Diamond sponsor of this year’s program. PharMerica is the Silver sponsor. Additional sponsors include Healthcare Services Group, Omnicare, Sentrics and ShiftKey.