Get to know our Executive Director
– Tim Layton –
Tell me a little about yourself and your background.
I grew up in a small town called Lancaster, Kentucky that is about 30 miles South of Lexington. Growing up in this area, I attended the University of Kentucky, I am a big Wildcat fan, so I cheer on the big blue! In fact, Kentucky won the NCAA Basketball Championship my freshman year of college.
My first position out of college was at the largest United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I served on staff as the Director of Leisure Ministries. It was in my seven years at the church that my heart was drawn toward serving older adults. My first full-time position serving older adults was in a community in Athens, Georgia. It was in Athens, that I met my future wife, Jackie, on my very first Sunday. Jackie was a Kentucky girl herself, and one of my family members was her teacher, the world is a small place! I served in Athens for seven years before going back home to KY to help develop a new United Methodist Continuing Care Retirement Community in Wilmore, a small town 15 miles outside of Lexington. I served seven years as Executive Director and the following 15 years as Vice President for Development raising funds for the further development of the community and benevolent care funds for the residents.
I am blessed with an incredible family consisting of my wife, Jackie and our two sons and their families. Scott and his wife, Kelli live in Waco, TX and are expecting in October and Bill and his wife, Amanda and our three grandchildren, Brooke, Allie and Cameron live in Wilmore, KY. We have a 14-year old Westie dog named Heinz.
My favorite pastime is walking or sitting on the beach taking in God’s beautiful creation. Following sports and playing golf are two things that I enjoy spending time doing as well. This of course involves, cheering the Kentucky Wildcats. I have always had an appreciation for music, but I love music from the 1970’s especially. My wife, Jackie, and Nicholas Sparks are two of my favorite authors. Jackie has recently released two cozy mysteries this year, “Bite the Dust” and “Dog Dong Dead”.
How long have you been at The Lakes at Litchfield?
God called Jackie and me to Pawleys Island and the Lakes at Litchfield in November 2016. We were not looking to leave our family in Kentucky and a faith-based not-for-profit community I helped to develop for 22 years, but God had a different plan. I was very reluctant to leave so much behind, but with Jackie’s encouragement we knew we had to answer God’s call.
What have you liked most about your position at The Lakes at Litchfield?
I enjoy seeing Team Members grow and become all that God intended for them to be. In my position I’m able to mentor team members and see them develop new skills and become true servant leaders. It is very difficult to say good-bye to incredible team members, but when they do for professional growth, it makes me very proud. Two of my former team members are now Executive Directors at sister Senior Living Communities.
What are your goals as the Executive Director at The Lakes at Litchfield?
My goal is to have a community that fosters a sense of family among Members, and team members. Also, I strive to lead a team who are high performers and over achievers in providing the highest quality of services possible to our residents and members. One final goal is to maintain a financially stable community with a high occupancy rate.
What qualities do you think make an effective Executive Director of a retirement community?
A compassionate heart, integrity, empathy, patience, passion, accountability and humility.
Describe a time that a Member of your community made a positive impact on your day?
We have an incredible member who turned 100 years old this past February. One Sunday morning recently she was sitting at a computer in our Clubhouse trying to log in to watch her church’s worship service. She had just gotten an email address and had not received her new tablet yet. It just made me smile and touched my heart to see this 100-year-old member so excited about trying to navigate the computer for the first time.
What is something that you think potential residents should know about The Lakes at Litchfield?
The Lakes fosters an environment and culture of family. The Members and team members are very warm and welcoming and truly enjoy sharing life together.
What is a misconception about senior living?
When you move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community it is a signal that your best days in life are over. Actually, it is just the opposite, as in many ways your best days in life are yet to come!
At Senior Living Communities, two of our three Guiding Principles are “People First, Always” and “We exist to serve our Members”; these are lived out each day within our community. Can you give us a time when you have seen these principles at play within your community?
Everything my team members and I do to care for and enhance the quality of life for our Members are examples of both of these Guiding Principles! We live them out daily multiple times through the many quality services we offer! During this pandemic when families can’t visit their loved one in Care Services, I love seeing our team members take our Assisted Living residents outside for walks and helping our Members and their family members share their love through virtual visits or through glass door visits. We are more than their caregivers as we are “standing in the gap” as their family.
What do you think is the best advice you could give to a family member who is looking to have a conversation with their loved one about moving into a retirement community?
I would like to look at this question a different way. I would like to give a word of advice to a person wanting to move into a retirement community to share with their children. Tell your children that “this is a gift I’m giving you!” Which means, we will enjoy life with friends our own age with similar interest for the remainder of our lives and with any level of care we need and you will be able to enjoy your life with friends your own age and similar interest without having to worry about caring for us or who is going to care for us.
Our Members live incredible lives and have incredible stories to tell. Tell us about a story or words of wisdom that made an impact on you.
I was reminded recently by a Member who was a very influential business executive that a person in leadership can’t fix everyone’s problems. Sometimes all you need to do is to just listen. Those of us who serve in leadership roles in a “people environment” tend to want to fix everyone’s problems and concerns and often the person is just asking us to listen and show compassion and empathy regarding their problem or concern. Often though, it is easier for us to try to fix it than just listen. Taking time to listen is very difficult when there are so many challenges throughout the day. I hope I can turn my chair around more often from my desk and just truly listen both to my team members and to my Members.
Since COVID-19, how has daily life at the community changed? How is your team continually adapting? What is keeping a smile on your face?
I have an incredible team who enjoy serving alongside one another! Every day we are in constant communication helping one another navigate this stressful and challenging journey we are on together. Without a team effort we would surely fail in this environment! Of course, what keeps a smile on our faces are the smiles on the faces of our residents and members. These are tough days for them especially those who can’t see their families and we have the awesome and daunting task of being family to them in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever before. Thus, when we can make them smile, we smile too!