The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care. To see this year’s future leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
SafelyYou CEO George Netscher has been named a 2021 Future Leader by Senior Housing News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. They must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Senior Housing News spoke with Netscher to learn more about how a family history of Alzheimer’s pushed him to work in senior living and why he believes the future of the industry is bright.
What drew you to the senior living industry?
All the women in my family have Alzheimer’s. I really wanted to build what my mom would need before she was at the same point, and that continues to be a thread in our company. We are very much a mission-driven company, and very much here to try to support a particular population that has so much need.
What has been your biggest lesson learned since joining the industry?
My lesson learned is that it’s really a small industry.
One approach we took that I feel really validated in is to go one step at a time. Don’t oversell, don’t try to put the cart before the horse. The way we went was we did a study with one community [before launching]. We wanted to make sure that was reproducible. We did a larger study that had 11 communities in it, and we leaned heavily on. Our first customers were so supportive and so critical for how we got here.
At the end of the day, a lot of folks know each other and move to different jobs. We always wanted to make sure we were really helping and not getting too far in front of ourselves. And I think that’s led to really nice outcomes where most of our growth has come from our current customers being really supportive, and either doing reference calls or bringing us to new organizations.
What would you change about senior housing and care if you had the chance?
The senior housing industry is a really operationally intensive business that requires a lot of staff. That means it’s hard to experiment, it’s hard to take risks. You’re caring for a vulnerable population, so there’s not a lot of freedom to fail.
I don’t think there’s a solution to that, as I think it will always be caring for vulnerable folks who need a lot of help. It’s a hard area to innovate in, and so it takes people that are a little bit brave, like us … to break through all of these barriers to make sure that we can help. I’ve seen a lot of companies with really interesting solutions that just kind of flounder in this space and either end up pivoting or not getting anywhere.
Given how operationally intensive the business is, the corporate office doesn’t have a lot of mental bandwidth to devote to thinking through every option. They really lean heavily on things that they’ve seen be successful with their other friends in the industry, which creates a little bit of a chicken-and-egg problem for new companies.
What changes do you see on the horizon for senior housing in 2022?
What I see is more of things that people already knew were being highlighted.
For example, we knew staffing was hard and there had been a spotlight shined on it.
What I’m seeing is a spotlight being shined on the most pressing challenges facing the industry and those being exacerbated by the pandemic, and a greater sense of urgency around addressing them.
In a word, how would you describe the future of senior housing?
Bright. The fact that people have made it through such a hard time and come out on top means that they’re only going to do better and better in years to come.
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.