Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are profiling the McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 6 through Aug. 6. To see the 2021 McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction awards ceremony, register for free here.
Kara Abdala proves that persistence and creative problem-solving are keys to a well-run operation, especially in a senior living setting.
Abdala became well-informed about senior living through working in the industry since she was a teenager. As a professional, she rose through the ranks to become sales director at a large for-profit personal care company, where colleagues say she excelled training other sales directors. Abdala then decided to take on a new challenge and joined Harrison Senior Living, a 49-year-old, family-owned business with three locations in the mid-Atlantic region.
After approximately two years as community relations director, Abdala became corporate marketing director. In this role, she works to oversee all aspects of communications and marketing for the company, managing the day-to-day communications operations while pushing forward a branding vision.
She is responsible for team members spread across four locations. Amid the pandemic, faced with overwhelmed senior living locations, Abdala completely reorganized the reporting structure of the business to ensure that referrals for move-ins took no more than 15 minutes. She also worked to improve communication between the team and 10 referring hospitals.
“Kara sees the big picture while never compromising on the details. She does not settle for mediocrity,” said Frank Beech, Harrison Living’s chief operating officer.
During the pandemic, Abdala created solid, sustainable systems while she was pregnant that lasted throughout her maternity leave. When she returned, she dove back into her work with the same creative energy and natural talent for leadership and marketing operations.
Abdala has a rare combination of passion, drive, emotional intelligence and empathy, colleagues say. She is credited with never hesitating to remind members of her team of the significant role they play in the senior living industry, removing the stigma surrounding the setting and shedding light on the company’s potential.
The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare, and the Roundtable Sponsor is Paycor.