Kathleen McGuinness: Transforming Senior Care and Community Outreach at SmithLife Homecare and Beyond

For the past five years, Kathleen McGuinness played a pivotal role on the SmithLife Homecare team as the Director of Community Relations. Her remarkable tenure saw some important changes that she helped drive with passion and commitment attributed to her experience with her parents and late husband. Her departure is a loss for SmithLife Homecare but an incredible gain for the community since Kathleen is the newest Montgomery County Commission on Aging, Commissioner. She met with Renan Augusto, the new Director of Digital Marketing, for a conversation that gave some fascinating insight into this accomplished professional.

A Legacy of Leadership in Senior Care and Community Relations

Kathleen came to SmithLife Homecare with 50 years of professional global experience and a lifetime of 4th generation Washingtonian relationships to contribute.  More importantly, she came with personal experience that powerfully formed her commitment to her work with the aging & ill.  Her local parents & her husband struggled to find the right resources to help them age in place, and their trials were critical lessons for Kathleen.

She began her work at SmithLife Homecare with a plan to offer a better experience to her clients.  Her personal drive and great enthusiasm for the challenge of helping the business establish itself in a new market as it expanded beyond the campus of Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville to a presence throughout Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. For Kathleen, the community of clients and others she met in the course of her advocacy and networking on behalf of the company took the place of her parents & husband, who passed away some time ago.  Smart strategies, treating clients like family and passionate advocacy for elders was one of the hallmarks of her tenure with the company.

Holistic Approach at SmithLife Homecare

When she joined the team at SmithLife Homecare, she had a mission to expand the organization. As a for-profit company, she was instrumental in SmithLife Homecare’s growth from a $3 million company to $12 million. Kathleen not only saw incredible growth in her team, who were all critical to the success of the company, but she also saw the incredible changes in the industry brought about by COVID.  Kathleen and the team ensured that SmithLife Homecare was an early adopter of online technologies to offer critical services and information to clients and the larger aging community.

She helped leverage technological advances to increase the organization’s visibility and value. Her vision & strategies also led to a partnership with the Friendship Heights Neighbor’s Network (FHNN) to conceive of the pilot program office for Friendship Heights NORCS (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) that has a population of over 6000, and high density of seniors in Friendship Heights. This involved an expansion of successful Pilot for short term services, functionality, and vital role for SmithLife Homecare in the senior community.

However, Kathleen had a more expansive belief in growth for SmithLife Homecare, encouraging the entire team through her mentorship to join her in obtaining relevant industry training and certifications to better provide services to the community regardless of the individual’s role in the organization. For instance, she became a Certified Dementia Practitioner, End of Life Specialist and a Senior Home Safety Specialist.  Kathleen also saw the benefit of giving back to the community by using her role and her platform at the company to go to events and participate actively in the community. As an advocate, she generously shared her knowledge and expertise on multiple Boards of Directors and worked hard to bring people together.

Strategic Move to the Montgomery County Commission on Aging

Kathleen will be joining the Montgomery County Commission on Aging as a Commissioner. She is excited to work with the communications committee, acting as an ambassador in a pilot program where she will be out in the community, letting people know how wonderful a place Montgomery County is to age in place.  She will continue to teach the community about the many services available, like Arc Respite.

Kathleen fully intends to leverage her in-depth knowledge of the free services and programs available to older people that she learned and used to advise and advocate for SmithLife Homecare clients, including programs for dementia and Parkinson’s. These and other services make such a difference in the life of an older person aging in place, and Kathleen wants to promote them the way they were promoted by SLHC through activities like the successful “Ask the Expert” series.

SmithLife Homecare’s Direction After Kathleen McGuinness’s Tenure

In making her transition, Kathleen sees her legacy at SmithLife Homecare in the continued flourishing of the team she is leaving behind, which will be able to spread its wings with new and expanded professional accomplishments and challenges.  She has always sought to model what she attributes to her success, which she sums up as “work hard, taking a little bit of risk, make a profit, ask for forgiveness, not permission, and always be motivated to do work for the greater good.” The team at SmithLife Homecare will miss her day-to-day presence, but we are so excited for her next phase, and we expect to continue to work with her in her new role.

To contact Kathleen, please call (301) 873-5506, or email kmm7720@gmail.com

SmithLife Homecare can be reached here.

 

Note from the author-

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A profile picture of Renan, the blog author who is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Senior Home Safety Specialist for SmithLife Homecare

About the Author-

Renan Augusto is the Director of Digital Marketing for SmithLife Homecare. SmithLife Homecare is a senior in-home care provider located in Rockville, MD & Washington, D.C. Renan has a Master of Science in Digital Marketing. He helps families with starting home care service. He holds credentials as a Certified Dementia Practitioner, Senior Home Safety Specialist, and Meta Certified Digital Marketer.

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