CEO Barbara Thomas is Recognized by LeadingAge Ohio

Visionary Leadership Award 2023

Kendal at Oberlin residents and staff were thrilled but not surprised that Kendal CEO Barbara Thomas was recently recognized for her visionary leadership at the annual LeadingAge Ohio conference on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

“We see Barbara Thomas as the living definition of innovative visionary leadership,” said Rollin Conway, president of Kendal at Oberlin Residents Association (KORA) and one of many paying tribute to Barbara, who received the Visionary Leadership Award of Honor from LeadingAge Ohio at its annual conference in August.

Recognizing 32 Years of Exceptional Leadership

Barbara has led the Kendal community since 1992, a year before the campus opened, and plans to end her 32-career at Kendal in January 2024. Previously, Barbara spent almost 20 years with another senior living community, bringing her total years of service enabling older adults to live their best lives to 50 years. Until January, Barbara says, “It’s business as usual!”

According to the LeadingAge Ohio Awards Program:

“Barbara’s five strengths are Achiever, Belief, Responsibility, Input, and Strategic. Her ability to open a life plan community and lead it to achieve the goals of Kendal illustrates her strengths. She goes above and beyond for any stakeholder, and Barbara’s ability to obtain input from all her constituents through a consistent collaborative approach with board, residents, and employees has proven critical to every process.”

A Kendal transition team is working with an outside search company in a nationwide search to find the next great leader for Kendal at Oberlin. 

Residents, Board and Staff Offer Congratulations

“Bravo Barbara on receiving this leadership award. It is well deserved,” said Joan Villarreal, chair of the Kendal at Oberlin Board of Directors.

LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit organization that represents approximately 400 nonprofit long-term care organizations located in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services. Member organizations serve more than 50,000 older Ohioans daily and employ more than 20,000 persons statewide.

Author Molly KavanaughIn the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.

Learn More about Kendal at Oberlin

A vibrant life plan community, Kendal at Oberlin offers a purpose-filled, resident-led lifestyle, with easy access to music, art and lifelong learning.