Homeland’s Board of Managers forges strong relationships with residents


A true home is a comfortable place where the feel is welcoming, the décor is warm, and the people are friendly.

Homeland Center Board of Managers Chair Susan Batista, center, discusses upcoming events and plans for activities with residents Betty Wise, left, and Fay Dunkle.

At Homeland Center, the unique Board of Managers assures the little things that make life pleasurable for residents, and now, the board is modernizing to enhance Homeland’s home-like feel.

The Board of Managers is a separate entity from the traditional Board of Trustees. While the Board of Trustees keeps Homeland running smoothly by overseeing fiscal and operational duties, the Board of Managers handles interior details and many day-to-day functions. They include selecting furniture and décor, hosting events, and sponsoring activities such as the visit by a food truck delivering hot, fresh French fries to delighted residents.

In 2016, with nearly 150 years of history behind it, the Board of Managers decided it was time to upgrade its by-laws, with two goals in mind – strengthening personal relationships with residents and attracting top talent by making better use of members’ time. The two goals are intertwined.

“We’re trying to have fewer actual meetings so that members can spend more time with residents,” says Board of Managers Chair Susan Batista, who led the by-laws revision.

While the Board of Managers continues with its many traditional duties, residents, family, and staff will also see signs of the changes:

  • Board of Managers members will make personal, regular visits to residents, including those who don’t get frequent visitors.
  • Board members will wear new name tags on lanyards, indicating their official association with Homeland but easier to read and recognize than small nameplates.
  • More activities such as cooking and crafts classes, led by board members sharing their interests.
  • Meet-and-greet events will introduce board members to the entire Homeland community.
  • Heightened effort to get residents’ ideas and feedback on events and activities.

“As we develop relationships with residents, we can go beyond visits where we sit and chat,” says Batista. “If residents know who we are, they might be more comfortable approaching us. They have to feel they have some say, that everything’s not decided for them.”

The by-laws revisions create a new structure that reduces the time spent on meetings. The change will help members better manage their time, as they juggle professional duties, family lives, and community causes.

The Board of Managers’ 18 members stays active and involved because “they enjoy Homeland,” says Batista. “It’s an amazing facility. The care is exemplary. It’s a hidden gem of the community that they’re proud to support.”

Board members are fortunate to work on behalf of a home where residents come first, says Batista.

“We have such a caring staff,” she says. “The staff, the Board of Managers and the Board of Trustees, and the administration are making all the difference. Everybody here is involved in every aspect of care.”