And the award goes to...

RiverWoods Business Management Program

Awarded 2017 Innovation of the year Award

Congratulation to the RiverWoods residents and staff who were recently presented with the 2017 Innovation of the Year Award from Leading Age Maine and New Hampshire! RiverWoods Awarded Innovation of the Year Award!

RiverWoods Exeter Awarded 2017 Innovation of the Year Award

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: One challenge facing the RiverWoods senior management team is how to provide opportunities and training for RiverWoods employees, especially front-line leadership, so they can grow professionally in their careers here. Although RiverWoods has created our own host of learning programs, Justine Vogel, CEO, hit upon a radical idea; Create our own version of a business school geared toward new front-line leaders, developed and taught by RiverWoods’ residents. Not every RiverWoods’ employee has had an opportunity to take basic business management classes such as critical thinking and written communications. But the one thing that RiverWoods does have is a wealth of smart, interested adults who have an interest in giving back. 

Justine recruited Dick Aplin, a Cornell University professor and veteran resident leader, to spearhead the program. As Dean, Dick approached a variety of residents and recruited them to both teach and develop the course materials for the program. The resident faculty taught through the traditional business case model; Bob Jones, a resident at The Boulders, wrote the business case. 

The 12 member resident faculty approached their role with great enthusiasm and serious intent, working through the details of how the curriculum would be shaped and taught. The inaugural group of nine students were front-line leaders who had received formal recommendations from their supervisors. They were provided time off during their work day to attend the seminars. The program lasted six months, and included time for students and faculty to work together on assignments. 

This program accomplished two critical objectives; while it provided staff with real world tools that will help them grow professionally, it also provided residents with a meaningful way to give back. It engaged both residents and students from different campuses and staff with varying areas of responsibility. Mentoring and personal relationships flourished naturally as a result of the interaction. 

The first class graduated in June 2016. One resident stated that she has not felt this intellectually engaged in over 30 years. The staff members who took part say they valued the opportunity to work closely with residents as much as they did the opportunity to sharpen their professional skills. 

The program was so innovative that a panel of residents and staff were invited to present their work at our industry’s national conference, Leading Age, in Indianapolis this fall. In addition, Dean Dick Aplin was recognized with a Chair’s Citation by Leading Age for his exemplary volunteer work in leading the innovative RiverWoods Business Management Program.