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With an exceptional history and reputation in the senior living industry, Friendship Senior Options (FSO) is poised to move forward towards its bright post-pandemic future. Well-positioned to lead the organization is Mike Flynn, who, last week, was promoted from chief financial officer to interim chief executive officer. FSO is the not-for-profit organization that oversees Friendship Village of Schaumburg and GreenFields of Geneva, two preeminent senior living communities. Flynn, a resident of Arlington Heights, has more than 32 years of experience in senior living, 25 years of which have been with FSO.
“Mike’s longevity in the community, financial acumen and leadership experience made him an ideal individual to take on this role,” said Clark Delanois, chairman of the board of directors for Friendship Senior Options. “As is true with any successful leadership change, we’re looking closely at our existing management team to build up our bench. FSO’s experienced management team will support Mike.”
Flynn began his career with FSO in 1989 when he became director of finance. He had transitioned from his role as the controller at a for-profit manufacturing corporation and admitted that he was a little bit uncertain about making the change to the non-profit sector at first. His hesitancy vanished, however, and he never looked back. “I quickly knew I was in the right place. The residents, the staff, the industry…it just felt right. There are really good people in this field with totally different values. I knew that this was not just a job; we are truly making contributions in peoples’ lives,” he said. After 16 years with FSO, he was recruited by another senior living community, where he gained experience as the CEO. Seven years later, he returned to FSO, where he became the chief financial officer. He recalled, “It was like coming home.”
Flynn has been an integral part of the leadership team over the past years as FSO has successfully navigated financial stability and the addition of GreenFields to its roster. In early 2020, he said, “We had made great progress in our financial strength when COVID hit.”
Friendship Senior Options communities never wavered even briefly during the pandemic to protect and provide the best care and services while maintaining vibrant programming and activities for its residents. “That remained our complete focus and dedication, and we were successful. We upheld and even enhanced our reputation in the industry and amongst our residents,” Flynn said. However, as was true in virtually every industry in the country, FSO experienced challenges. “Our census decreased, putting us in a financially difficult position, with occupancy going down and decreased entrance fees coming in.” He is ready to help guide the organization out of this position and regain its strength.
In his role as CEO, Flynn has a very clear vision for the organization’s future. “The number one goal is to rebuild census and get back to normal operations,” he said. “This is a numbers game. We’re already working on recruiting for our marketing team. We need to make sure we have the resources to meet our higher move-in expectation for independent living.”
Other important objectives, he said, are to “continually improve physical structures.” This will be achieved, said Flynn, by “continuing to make renovations, perhaps expand memory care and assisted living, and enhance skilled nursing with the focus on external demand for rehabilitation.” In doing this, he said, “We will take a look at our spaces and make sure they’re up to par, meeting and exceeding what residents’ and future residents’ expectations are.”
Flynn said that the organization would continue to capitalize on its significant strengths, including its vibrant lifestyle offerings, exemplary dining programs and, most importantly, the staff. “We have an excellent team in place. I’m a leader who likes to empower people and be supportive of the job they’re doing. The best leaders surround themselves with great people, and I want to capitalize on that.”
With his long history with FSO, Flynn said, he is very aware and appreciative of the culture of the organization. “Knowing and respecting the leadership staff is really key,” he said. Furthermore, having been the CFO for so long, “he understands the financial background.
Flynn said he is honored to be part of Friendship Senior Options’ highly esteemed reputation in the industry and excited to be at the helm of the organization that he so deeply respects.
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