This is a transcribed interview with Guy Mikkelsen, President & CEO at The Foundation For Senior Living. The Foundation for Senior Living is a nonprofit that strives to provide exceptional services, education and advocacy in order to preserve independence and enhance the quality of life for all seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.
This interview explores why Guy Mikkelsen became the President and CEO at The Foundation For Senior Living, as well as what the culture is like at the organization.
Tell us about your journey here.
I’m a social worker. I’ve been in social and human services for 47 years. My journey here? A dear friend of mine was Director of the Arizona Catholic Conference and queried me about my interest in coming over and being the CEO at The Foundation For Senior Living.
At the time The Foundation was very small and in a lot of trouble. But, they were working in community based services for the elderly. That was an area of concentration in my professional career.
I interviewed with the committee and I was chosen. I committed to the Bishop for a four year time period to do a turn around and get the organization stabilized. That was twenty-nine years ago.
What’s in the water here? How would you describe the culture today?
The three things everyone hears from me at orientation are:
1) You take care of the clients that you are entrusted with their care, with the very best of your humanity within the context of your faith and your professional education and training.
2) Take care of the people you work with the same level of intensity and care.
3) The interest of this company and any motion that you do comes last. The interest of the client is always first.
Those are the three rules of the house.
You appear to have a very close knit leadership team here.
We’re just blessed. This is ministry for all of us. No one is here because of the money. They all get a fair salary. There’s no denying that. But the level of trust…there’s no internal politics in this place. We are pulling together for one thing. Excellent service. Support each other in what we’re doing. And share a lot.
Our senior leadership team meets every Wednesday. Forty-five times out of the year. And then we have an internal finance team that meets every Thursday, forty-five times out of the year. We have shared decision making. It’s not votes. That’s the servant leadership model. It’s a consensus. Every so often something comes down and I’ll have to make a call. But that’s how it’s supposed to work. Together, we set the tone.
One time I counted it up and there’s about 380 years of professional experience on our leadership team. These are all seasoned folks.
Carrie Smith, Chief Operating Officer