Location: Hamilton, NJ
Industry: Nonprofit trade association
President and CEO
LeadingAge New Jersey has some 135 nonprofit senior care members, such as nursing homes, assisted living, supportive housing, life plan communities and home- and community-based services. “The services we provide are all geared toward advancing quality aging services for seniors throughout the state,” says Michele Kent, president and CEO. “To that end, we do a lot of advocacy with state legislative leaders and with executive branch leadership. We work to effectively communicate with and influence policy makers, the legislature and state agencies.”
Fun Fact: Kent hosts Leading Thoughts from LeadingAge, a series of videos in which she interviews key national and state leaders, policy experts and consumer advocates.
Kent is especially well positioned to lead that effort, having served as deputy chief of staff to the New Jersey governor and as commissioner of the Department of Human Services. “Having spent so much of my life dedicated to helping needy groups and formulating policy relative to their care, it seems a natural segue to help seniors who, in general, are living longer, but often facing challenges that increased longevity brings,” says Kent.
In conjunction with Rutgers University, LeadingAge offers a master’s certificate in senior care management. “This 10-week program is designed for professionals already involved in or interested in senior care, particularly those wanting to move into executive-level positions,” says Kent. “We believe it is extremely important to develop bench strength in our industry, to ensure that there are … highly capable professionals at the helm of senior care facilities and organizations.”