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Walk This Journey Together: A Letter From ERS President and CEO, Laura Lamb

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The events in our country over the last several days has been nothing less than heartbreaking.

First and foremost, my condolences go out to the families of George Floyd, Armaud Arbery, and Brionna Taylor. As a mother myself, words cannot express the sadness I have after watching how our children have been killed. There is not a day that I do not worry about my husband or son returning home safely. I am left wondering what more direct evidence could we have that in 2020 it is still unsafe to be Black or Brown in America?

I am reminded of a letter I sent to you in August 2017 when we were reeling from the events in Charlottesville. I have read that letter this week, and I am distressed that not much has changed. We remain a divided, broken country. We are no closer it seems to a society where we are all equal partners and treated as such.

Our community, Shawnee Place, in Springfield, OH, was damaged by a small group of individuals, not associated with the peaceful protest that was held earlier in the day. Thank goodness no one was hurt. Glass can be replaced; human life cannot. In Louisville, the Governor called in the National Guard, and in most cities where we live and work, there have been curfews put in place.

Centuries of racial injustice has resulted in cultural and systematic bias against people of color that can be seen across the American society—in our laws, our data sets, our workforce, services, and in health outcomes, which has been made abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During difficult times, I turn to our values and ways of working for how we should respond. Our core value of inclusion guides our behavior. Inclusion means valuing collaboration and diversity of thought, experiences, and perspective. It is appreciating that we are better together, leveraging our strengths and differences. There is no room for division, hatred, or racist views in a culture that values inclusion. Because of this, I want to celebrate working for an organization that affirms the following:

  1. We believe all individuals have infinite worth, deserve respect, and should be treated equally.
  2. ERS is a safe place for all persons, regardless of race, religion, background, and sexual orientation.
ERS cannot solve racism in the larger community, but we can begin here to make sure that we are creating a culture that consciously practices anti-racism.
  • We can do this by learning about the realities of implicit bias, enforcing hiring practices that reflect the racial and ethnic makeup of our communities, and striving to provide healthcare for all of our residents despite racial disparities in access.
  • We can participate in peaceful demonstrations and protests.
  • We can extend our hands in love and peace.
  • We can uphold our shared values about the worth and dignity of each human life, and our community must be united against the racism that is killing our fellow humans.
  • We can strive to listen to people with different perspectives and experiences with open hearts
  • We can be smart and safe in this time because more than anything, I want you to go home to your family each and every day.
Despite my sorrow, my faith tells me that love and understanding will prevail even during these dark times. I will leave you with the quote from Nelson Mandela I shared in 2017 as it still rings relevant in these times.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." 

- Nelson Mandela.    

We will be there for one another and walk this journey together.
Laura Lamb
President & CEO
Laura Lamb
June 02, 2020
Laura joined Episcopal Retirement Services in 1994. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Cincinnati and received her Master’s degree in Health Administration from Xavier University. Her thesis on Organizational Design in Healthcare was completed while working as an intern with ERS. Since beginning her ERS career, Laura has held multiple roles in operations and support services, most recently as Executive Vice President. As CEO, Laura provides strategic and organizational leadership to ensure delivery of ERS' mission and successful business results. Laura championed the Person-Centered Care efforts that have led to the cultural transformation of ERS’s communities from an institutional setting to communities with a home-like feel. Laura Lamb was appointed to the LeadingAge Ohio Board of Directors in 2011 and was approved as a CARF surveyor in 2012. In 2013, she and the Council for Lifelong Engagement (CLLE), a program she developed which is dedicated to ending ageism while imparting the wisdom of elders to school children of all ages, were honored by LeadingAge Ohio as a recipient of the Innovation Award and by LeadingAge as the recipient of the Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award. She is also a Fellow of the LeadingAge Leadership Academy. In 2015, Laura graduated from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Leadership Cincinnati Class 38, a highly competitive leadership development program. In 2017, Laura created Dementia Inclusive (DI) Cincinnati, which gathers public, private, and non-profit organizations with a goal to gain acceptance for people living with the disease, and, by 2025, establish Cincinnati as the most dementia-inclusive city in America. The goal of DI Cincinnati is to create welcoming and safe places for those living with cognitive loss and their care partners. In 2019, Laura and ERS were recognized for this innovative work by being named the Leading Age Ohio Recipient of the Aging Impact Award.

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