Spring Summer 2018

The Oregon Caregiver Spring/Summer 2018 www.ohca.com 22 PROFILE Fee Stubblefield, CEO and Founder The Springs Living, LLC LEADER Fee Stubblefield is the CEO and founder of The Springs Living. Fee is also the Chair of the OHCA Board of Directors. Can you describe your path, “the story,” that led you to open your first community? The Springs Living story started very simply. This was not a profession that I knew existed or thought I’d be in, but it started with my own family, with my grandmother. She was an amazing lady. She made me promise never to put her in an “old folks home.” She said, “I just want to stay in my own home.” That drove me and formed the basis for how The Springs Living got started. Our goal was to create an environment that feels like home and treats everyone like family. It was also interesting because when she started getting older, and was becoming more dependent, my cousins and my family and I started doing more for her— mowing her lawn, running errands—and she felt like it was a bother for her. To us, it was an honor, but she felt like she was a burden. When she finally moved into the Springs at age 92 she felt she felt like she had more independence because her family wasn’t having to do things for her. In addition to that story, we also had this interesting metaphor, or inspiration, from the hot springs that my family owned near Pendleton called Lehman Hot Springs. You get into this water and it just makes you feel lighter and younger and rejuvenated. That water is like the care and compassion our staff have for our residents. That metaphor really blew up just a few years ago and became even more true and personal when we found out that the Cayuse tribe from the area used these hot springs historically as part of their retirement experiences. They would take their elders to the hot springs to soak and then they would feel better. It was a place to take people who were sick and people who were elderly to help them feel better for awhile, perhaps even feel younger. Were there any bumps in the road? Of course. Anyone and any organization that makes a difference or does something significant must encounter difficulty. It’s what propels you. You cannot quit or give up. How did culture come to play such an important role at The Springs Living? Culture is people. Culture is the result of what happens when people get together around a common purpose, and our purpose at The Springs Living is to change seniors' lives. We want to create a places where people can't wait to get old enough to move in—like the feeling when you left your parent's home for the first time. What really makes quality in long term care is not the physical environment—it comes from the staff. Culture is also about being authentic, it’s being yourself and being true to yourself and others. What three words would you use to describe The Spring’s culture? Authentic, sincere, purpose. How would you describe your leadership style? It’s hard to say. My style is very inclusive. I’m here to listen and then to create clarity. Then, we build momentum behind that clarity. You’ve also got to be flexible, adaptable, and never give up. Has your style changed over time? Definitely. I have learned to keep things simple. I’ve learned to listen to the people I work with more—the people who are working every day with our residents—and to listen less to the “experts.” What do you think are the most important qualities in a leader? First, a leader must be genuine and be themselves. Everyone in an organization should be a leader. Not everyone can be in management, but everyone should be a leader. We empower people within this organization to lead and, most importantly, to do the right thing. The right thing at the Springs Living is to create quality. When you get promoted into managment, it’s a mistake to think it is about power and control. Humility in a leader is critical. Long term care has faced some major changes over the past two decades. What changes are you most excited about? What changes are you most concerned with? Our profession has a bright future. Technology is continuing to give us more options to enhance quality, and Oregon is still leading the way. The seniors of today, and the future, demand that we listen and create and living environments, and support, that make a difference in their lives.Part of this is