C-1: Strategic Partnerships to Support Leadership Diversity in Aging Services

NAB; HRCI; NJ-LNHA Ethics; HCBS TRACT – 1 Hour | Wednesday, June 5th. 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Session Description:

Racial inequalities exist in long-term services and supports (LTSS) organizations. Nationally, half of frontline professional caregivers are nonwhite; this percentage is substantially higher in many communities. In contrast, mid- and executive-level managers and board members are predominately white. The LTSS sector is a microcosm of systemic racism that exits in our society and provides a laboratory for better understanding how to address this issue. Research has identified this lack of diversity in management and leadership and consequent lack of cultural humility as a major contributor to turnover and recruitment challenges among frontline staff. Strategic partnerships play a critical role in supporting the recruitment and retention of a diverse group of leaders in the field of aging services. This session will show you why these partnerships are important, how the partnerships work, the successes they have achieved, and the potential they hold. The presenters will describe their experiences as leaders of color in aging services and LeadingAges national initiatives to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): 1). The Leaders of Color Network, which supports retention and career advancement among leaders of color at LeadingAge member organizations, and 2). A partnership with UNCF, the largest minority education organization in the U.S., Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and providers to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the LTSS career pipeline with a focus on mid-level and senior level positions. This session brings to life the challenges of developing a racially diverse pipeline of managers and leaders in an extremely diverse aging services field of frontline staff. The interactive panel will demonstrate how the Leaders of Color Network and partnerships with state and national associations can transform the LTSS sector by advancing DEI through expanding diversity among mid-level and senior leadership and boards. Participants will also learn how leaders of color perceive the field and the opportunities for change.

Learning Objectives:

Examine the challenges and strategies to recruit and retain diverse leaders and create an inclusive workplace environment from the lived experience of leaders of color.

Demonstrate a model at LeadingAge National to support leaders of color and create connections that can be designed to replicate at the state level.

Explain how to transform the diversity of the mid-level and senior leadership team through collaborative partnerships.


Erica Richardson, Corporate Director of Human Resources, Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Inc.

Erica Richardson has been in the Aging Services field for over 20 years. In this session, she will share her lived experiences as a person of color in the industry and the opportunities afforded to her which have led her on her journey up throughout the years.

Keith Grady, Director, Applewood 

Keith Grady, LNHA, is an innovative and dedicated professional in the field of aging and long-term care with over 35 years of management, operational, and development experience in continuing care communities. Responsible for the administration of the day-to-day operations and the development of Applewood’s future strategy, Keith is a visionary with a focus on quality care, effective leadership, and cultivating environments of trust and mutual respect.

Robyn Stone, SVP, Research/Co-Director – LTSS Center, LeadingAge 

Robyn I. Stone, DrPH, is senior vice president of research at LeadingAge, and co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston. Stone was a political appointee in the Clinton Administration, serving in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as deputy assistant secretary for disability, aging, and long-term care policy. She also served as assistant secretary for aging. Stone’s widely published work addresses long-term care policy and quality, chronic care for people with disabilities, the aging services workforce, affordable senior housing, and family caregiving.

Natasha Bryant, Senior Director of Workforce Research & Development – LTSS Center, LeadingAge 

Natasha Bryant is Senior Director of Workforce Research & Development in the Washington, DC office of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston. Her work focuses on developing, testing, and disseminating workforce improvement initiatives to attract and retain quality staff at all levels of aging services organizations. Bryant helped the LeadingAge Workforce Cabinet develop core competencies and behavioral standards for personal care attendants and mid-level managers. She also managed a national initiative to improve the recruitment and retention of direct care workers.

Moniqua Acosta, MSW, CDP, Chair, LoC Network Advisory Board and Director of Volunteer Services, Landis Homes