242: Leaders with Heart are Passionate About Their Mission

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Lucinda (“Cindy”) Baier is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors of Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s premier operator of senior living communities. As of year-end 2021, the $2.8 billion company operates nearly 700 senior living communities and has the ability to serve approximately 60,000 residents through its independent living, assisted living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities. The company’s 30,000+ employees are taking care of America’s seniors. Take a listen.
  • Lucinda and Brookdale work to make the lives of seniors easier
  • During the pandemic Brookdale prioritized the patients, its residents, and associates above everything else
  • Brookdale operates close to 700 senior living communities
  • Lucinda has been recognized by Nashville Medical News’ Class of 2021 “Women to Watch

Lucinda Baier’s Bio

Lucinda (“Cindy”) Baier is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors of Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s premier operator of senior living communities. As of year-end 2021, the $2.8 billion company operates nearly 700 senior living communities and has the ability to serve approximately 60,000 residents through its independent living, assisted living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities. The company’s 30,000+ employees are taking care of America’s seniors.

Ms. Baier became Brookdale’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors on February 28, 2018. From the beginning, she initiated the company’s operational turnaround strategy and developed the “Winning Locally” action plan. Within her second year, the company’s Net Promoter Score® increased 20%. In her third year as CEO in 2020, J.D. Power recognized the company as #1 in customer satisfaction (in a tie) in assisted living/memory care communities. As CEO, she led the company through the largest public health crisis in 100 years by prioritizing the health and well-being of its residents, patients, and associates. She focused the company’s efforts on increasing diversity, including the Board and executive leadership team approaching gender parity in 2020.  Ms. Baier led Brookdale’s efforts to negotiate and restructure leases with its largest three REIT partners. She led the company through the sale of assets, including Brookdale’s interest in the unconsolidated entry CCRC ventures and the majority share of its home health, hospice, and outpatient therapy business. These deals unlocked significant value for Brookdale and shareholders. In 2022 Baier published her first book Heroes Work Here: An Extraordinary Story of Courage, Resilience, and Hope from the Front Lines of COVID-19 in which she shares how she and her team led Brookdale through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Baier has served more than a decade as a board member for public and private companies. Currently, she is on the board of directors of Argentum, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), and the Nashville Health Care Council, where she serves as Vice-Chair. She is a member of the NYSE Board Advisory Council, which identifies and connects diverse board candidates to NYSE-listed companies seeking new directors, and serves on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Board.

A number of organizations have recognized Ms. Baier. Some of her awards and honors include Amazon Best Selling Author, CEO Forum Group’s 2021 Top 10 CEOs Transforming Healthcare in America; Nashville Medical News’ Class of 2021 “Women to Watch”; Corporate Citizenship 2020 Award from the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board; one of McKnight’s 2020 “Women of Distinction”; and Nashville Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO” list for two consecutive years.

Before becoming CEO of Brookdale, Ms. Baier was the company’s Chief Financial Officer beginning in December 2015. In addition to experience as a seasoned chief financial officer for several companies, she has been responsible for multi-billion-dollar operations, the chief executive officer for a publicly-traded retailer, and served as an executive officer of a Fortune 30 company.

Ms. Baier is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of Illinois State University, with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Accounting.

The Listening Guide

Create a listening culture that elevates the employee experience with The Listening Guide.

Through this guide, Heather uncovers how you can ensure those you lead feel heard by taking 3 approaches to listening inside an organization.

  • Understand why listening is the key to employee engagement
  • Learn how the Cycle of Listening contributes to strong workplace relationships
  • Get a practical framework for creating a listening culture that is bidirectional, responsive, and supportive

Download it here.


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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

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  • Learn how the Cycle of Active Listening contributes to strong workplace relationships
  • Get a practical framework for creating a listening culture that is bidirectional, responsive, and supportive

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