Health Care, Human Resources, and Real Estate

Covenant Retirement Communities names CEO

June 8, 2015
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Terri Cunliffe
Terri Cunliffe. Courtesy Covenant Retirement Communities

A nonprofit senior living provider serving more than 5,000 residents throughout the nation has named a seasoned senior living professional as its new chief executive officer.

Covenant Retirement Communities, or CRC, the Chicago-based parent organization of Covenant Village of the Great Lakes in Grand Rapids, said last week that it has promoted former COO Terri Cunliffe to lead the owner and operator of 14 senior living communities in the nation.

Cunliffe’s appointment was effective June 1, and she will succeed Rick Risk.

In response to the appointment, Cunliffe said she's looking forward to continuing to work with the executive leadership team and board of directors to further CRC’s strategic vision of assisting and meeting the needs of future generations of residents and staff.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of an organization committed to the Evangelical Covenant Church’s mission and provides its employees the opportunity to impact the lives of others on a daily basis, while practicing their faith at work,” Cunliffe said. “Our residents and staff inspire me daily.”

Neil Warnygora, executive director at Covenant Village of Northbrook, said throughout her tenure with CRC, Cunliffe has earned the respect of staff, board members and colleagues in the senior living industry.

“With her long history with the organization and strengths — enthusiasm, experience, business savvy and wellness perspective — Terri is the right person for this position,” Warnygora said.

Long-time senior living exec

As the organization's COO, Cunliffe helped develop its new customer service and hospitality platform known as We Believe, which is being implemented throughout CRC’s network.

With more than 25 years of experience with the organization, Cunliffe began her career as a nursing home part-time receptionist, before working in a number of leadership roles, including nursing home administrator, executive director at Covenant Village of Florida, SVP of health and wellness and EVP of operations.

She also facilitated the development of LifeConnect, which is a whole-person wellness program allowing CRC to connect residents with resources and opportunities through educational and cultural programming.

As a licensed nursing home administrator in the state of Florida, Cunliffe has been active in LeadingAge Florida since 1995, which was known as the Florida Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, or FAHSA. She was named a FAHSA executive of the year in 1999. She also received the FAHSA chairman’s award in 2005 and served as the chair of the organization from 2009 to 2011.

Cunliffe received a bachelor’s degree in long-term care administration from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in health services administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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