February 8, 2016
The Valley VNA Board Of Directors: Committed Yet Agile
By Frank Kearny, Valley VNA Board President
My father was a 1939 summa cum laude MIT graduate in engineering. A man like that always seems to think ahead, and I don’t just mean he was a good planner. He was a visionary, someone who looked to the future and made plans to optimize what he saw. He made decisions when he still had choices. By the time my dad showed consistent signs of aging, he had already arranged to move into an assisted living home. Dad passed away from cancer when he was 87, all his affairs in order, and in the care of some pretty terrific hospice caregivers.
As I’ve grown in experience and wisdom, I think more and more like he did, although my wife and four grown kids would probably sum up my philosophy as, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backward.” That’s the way I see my responsibilities on the board at Valley VNA. I’m here to help craft a vision for the future, optimize our standing as an organization and make decisions in a timely manner that leaves us with the flexibility to remain agile in ever-changing conditions.
I work hard on behalf of Valley VNA because I believe seniors need a safe, engaging place to live in the community they know and love – and their kids need a safe place for them to go. It’s a ministry for me.
Here are a couple of guiding principles on how and why we, as a board, work diligently on behalf of Valley VNA:
Our people make a real difference in the level of attention, peace, laughter and care each of our home care clients and residents receives.
We make the most of our non-profit status; that is, we are not beholden to shareholders. Our only obligation is to our people, and we take this obligation seriously. We would rather funnel money into more qualified, better trained staff to care for our clients and residents than optimize ROI for a stockholder.
We need to make our own way.
We have one of the most well-known holiday fundraisers in the Fox Valley, Holiday Avenue, held every November at the Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center. The purpose of this generous outpouring of support (we raised $25,000 this year) is to fund the life enrichment activities our clients and residents enjoy all year round. The second goal of the event is to develop deep relationships within the community, so if a need arises in your family, our name is top of mind. Our fundraisers do not pay for the mortgage, electricity or the payroll at Valley VNA. For that, we must plan, budget, market, invest and refinance our way into a more stable future. It’s serious business based on common sense, frugality and never settling for anything less than excellent care.
We need to be responsive.
Valley VNA did not always have the independent and assisted living apartments for which we’ve become known. Those were built in 1994, after we shifted away from skilled in-home nursing services and eliminated our adult day care/respite center because Medicare reimbursements changed. When resources were freed up after attracting our first residents and refinancing our debt, we connected the two apartment buildings with the beautiful common spaces, dining room and offices you see when you first enter Valley VNA – all of it built debt-free. We’ll even pay off a 15-year mortgage in just five years, all the time continuing to provide the attentive in-home care for seniors that was our founding legacy.
We serve a legacy.
More than 108 years ago, Visiting Nurses tended to the sick, the elderly, the newly delivered, and the newly born in our community. On this philosophy —neighbors caring for one another—is built the mission of Valley VNA. Back then through today, generous people have given financial and professional support to this organization that preserves or becomes home for our neighbors, our family members, our people. It’s a big obligation, and an honor to help meet it.
Learn more about the 108-year history of Valley VNA here. If you have questions or comments about the operation of the VNA board of directors, please Theresa Pichelmeyer, President/CEO, 920-727-5555.
Until then, forward we must go,
Frank Kearny is the president of the board of directors at Valley VNA Senior Services. He is serving his second stint as chairman of the the board, having served previously for 14 years from 1996 to 2009. His current term expires in 2017. Frank is the chairman of the board at Resource One International, LLC, a precision paper converting company in Little Chute, Wisconsin; and a board and executive committee member at his family’s fifth-generation company, Levert Companies of Metairie, Louisiana. He was the co-founder of Banner Packaging in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before it was acquired by Bemis. A former member of the U.S. Coast Guard and proud University of Kansas alum, he and his wife Kim live in Neenah and have four grown children and seven gifted grandchildren.