Rebecca Priest, LNHA, LMSW
Vice President of Skilled Services
Years of Employment: Since 2006
Experience at St. John’s: I heard about St. John’s while working on my MSW. I loved the Eden Alternative, and since I had worked in a smaller, for-profit nursing home, thought the shift would be aligned with my values for our elders. I was spot on! This organization gave me the opportunity to work as a committee member on incorporating Eden education into our St. John’s practices and processes as a certified Eden associate. I was able to support smaller neighborhood processes that were more nimble in responding to elders' needs. I met some incredible elders and families along the way. In my next role as the assistant administrator/Guide, I had the opportunity to plan for and open our Penfield Green House homes, building a nursing home that was unlike any other in the country from the ground up--literally! In December 2013, I joined the organization as the administrator of skilled services to help the leadership team bring the lessons in staffing, operations, and outcomes we have achieved in our Penfield Green House homes to the seven neighborhoods at our 150 Highland Avenue campus and Skalny Day Break Adult Day Services.
Past work experience: Although most of my post-graduate experience has been here at St. John’s, I have previously worked in social work roles at Heritage Christian Services and RHOM Services.
Education and training pertaining to your position: I have my Nursing Home Administrator's License, issued by the NYS Department of Health and retain an LMSW degree from SUNY Buffalo.
- Featured Presenter (engaging staff to support your culture through dining) at National Green House Project Annual Meeting (Nov., 2013)
- Rochester Summit “Up and Coming Businesswoman” Award (Sept., 2013)
- TED-X talk on creating meaningful work environments in health care (May, 2012)
- Carter Williams Award for Excellence in Aging Services (March, 2012)
- Presented “Meaningful Engagement Through Organizational Culture Change” at Rochester's Aging Conference (May, 2011)
- Panelist discussing aging for people living with dementia at Nazareth Conference on Aging (May, 2011)
- Presented project methodology for process redesign at the National GREEN HOUSE® Conference (Sept., 2010)
- Nominated and Accepted into Who’s Who Among Administration and Mental Health Professionals (2005)
- Genesee Valley Social Work Student of the Year (May, 2003)
Personal life (family and hobbies): I am blessed with a marriage to my best friend and husband, Chris, along with two beautiful children, Marleigh and Magan. We also have a dog, Mick, who really runs our home. Like so many of our employees, Chris and I work hard to juggle the day to day expectations of raising a family, school, work, and play.
I love to be the “dance mom” and play my violin along with the girls as I drag Chris through the joys of having two young string players in our home. Strings get much better in high school, I assure him!
I volunteer for two local boards, including Heritage Christian Services and National Green House, and am a Sunday school teacher for 4th and 5th graders at my church.
Why did you choose to work for St. John’s? It really was the right “fit” for my professional and personal values. This organization is hard working, committed, and striving for the best way to bring about community change for elders to age with autonomy and meaning.
What are you most proud of here at St. John’s? I’m most proud of the work I do to celebrate the direct support staff who daily grow relationships with elders and each other. I could not be luckier to be a part of the great work happening on each neighborhood here, and especially with the pioneers at the Penfield Green House homes, who stretch their ideas daily to honor meaningful lives and eliminate loneliness, helplessness, and boredom for each person living there and each other as a team.
Sum up your personality in one word. Courageous
What is your favorite part about working here? Having fun as part of many teams.
What do you look forward to most when coming to work? I love teaching people about culture change through stories, seeing the lobby filled with elders and family, and meeting with my neighborhood team to hear about the innovative support they provide to elders.
How do you embrace living? I embrace living by deciding daily to learn something new about myself and someone else.
Anne Mc Kenna
Executive Director of St. John's Foundation