As I begin my tenure as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Lenbrook, I'm actively thinking about how to ensure Lenbrook continues to serve its residents well over the next 50 years. 50 years ago this summer, man landed on the moon, using less technology than we now have in our smartphones. What will the world look like in 50 years, and how can we make sure that Lenbrook continues to thrive in that world? My older daughter attends Westminster School, and last fall in the parent/teacher conference, the Dean of the middle school said that they are trying to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist in a world that can't be foreseen. At an investment conference I attended last November, one of the speakers said that while technology is changing the world faster than ever today, the pace of change will never be this slow again.
Our challenge as your board is to prepare Lenbrook for that hard to predict future, while continuing to respond to and work for those that have placed their trust in us today. If I had to summarize in one word our approach to prepare Lenbrook for the future while also serving you, the word I would use is diversification. The board is excited by the many new opportunities that are in front of us, and are confident in the management team that are leading the efforts on a day to day basis. Kingsboro at Lenbrook (KAL) is the most obvious project that we are undertaking. So far, all response to KAL has been positive from potential new friends and neighbors, and all the mileposts that the board has established to gauge the viability of the project have been met ahead of schedule. The success of KAL is important to the future of Lenbrook, but should be important to current residents as well. After all, the idea of KAL started by us asking you what is missing from our current community. You said safe access to Peachtree, more “in-demand” apartments that your friends want, more amenities and, of course, protecting your views. Bringing more people into the Lenbrook community, while not burdening current residents with the development costs, gives the opportunity to give you what you want in a more affordable way.
Another new source of revenue is the acquisition of the Menders – a long-time partner known for quality caregiving services. The board feels this acquisition is a good use of temporarily unused reserves. It allows us to generate revenue for Lenbrook from people that don’t live on the campus while also helping us to set and manage expectations for a larger number of the service providers that come on to our campus. Lenbrook wants to offer you and future residents the option to remain at Lenbrook for the rest of your life, regardless of your health condition. We know that, as we age, we may need additional help from time to time, and today that help often comes from people that are not Lenbrook employees. You have the option now to hire anyone you want to help you, and that option continues even after Menders comes on line. However, having Menders under our umbrella seems to be a win for Lenbrook and for our residents.
We are also continuing every effort to recruit and retain the most engaged workforce and taking another step by developing a CNA school at Lenbrook. One of the biggest challenges that your management team faces is hiring and retaining qualified people to serve your needs. With record low unemployment, a shortage of workers in the healthcare field, and workers willing to change jobs for $0.25 more per hour, we hope that the development of the school will help us build some Lenbrook brand loyalty amongst those we train. If we can build that loyalty, you won't see so many new faces coming and going, and your management team can focus more on other aspects of Lenbrook life. While the new school will require the addition of management staff to run, your board feels that this is a good investment of time and resources.
A good rule of thumb for investing is not to put all your eggs in one basket. However, if you do, Andrew Carnegie advised that "you had better watch that basket". We're trying to diversify Lenbrook's eggs into multiple baskets
, and feel that we are on the right track. Each of the efforts I have outlined has a benefit to you as current residents, and to your children as future residents. As always, your board oversees these efforts, calls on outside opinions where necessary, and entrusts management to execute on them. While I doubt we will get every effort just right, we're going to succeed many more times than we will fail.
Have a great fall, and I look forward to seeing you at Lenbrook soon!
2019-21 Chairman, Lenbrook’s Board of Directors