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Lifespark’s Emily Timm Earns LeadingAge MN Ray Johnson Leadership-in-Action Award

  • Feb 8, 2018
  • Meaghan Puglisi
  • 5-min Read

Emily Timm, Director of Operations for Lifespark, believes a ‘sparked’ client experience is the product of a robust team working together. Her commitment lies in making sure seniors have autonomy, improved outcomes, and every opportunity to live a sparked life.

The experience she has created for her team has earned her the 2018 Ray Johnson Leadership-In-Action award from LeadingAge MN. In 2016, Lifespark doubled in revenue from the previous year and Emily’s department alone experienced 50% of that growth. “In the midst of tremendous growth, Emily not only retained and elevated staff, but she contributed significantly to the integration of technology that created massive process improvement and efficiencies on her team,” said Sara Wilson, General Manager for Lifespark. “Emily Timm is committed to building relationships that drive positive outcomes for older adults and the people who provide them with care, services and support,” said Gayle Kvenvold, President & CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota. “She consistently creates a ‘best in class’ experience, creating a culture that is helping retain and inspire Lifespark’s workforce and ensuring older adults live healthier, more independent lives.”

According to a Gallup Study ‘The State of the American Workplace Report,’The right culture is not just about employee satisfaction. “Organizations have more success with engagement and improve business performance when they treat employees as stakeholders of their own future and the company’s future.”

That drive to create stakeholders is the pillar of one of Emily’s most successful efforts at Lifespark. She learned that clients were unclear about the staffing role and why it mattered to their direct care. Furthermore, the staffing supervisors didn’t have an opportunity to meet clients face-to-face to further deepen their connection to the people they serve and for whom, they ultimately provide the ‘best fit’ caregiver for the best experience.

“Emily refined the staffing supervisor role to provide opportunities for deeper client relationships,” added Sara. “This simple change increased confidence and engagement on the client side but also gave the staffing team the opportunity to see firsthand why their work mattered for client outcomes.”

Through Emily’s efforts to better integrate the staffing supervisor role with the Lifespark Experience, not only did client satisfaction increase but the ‘spark’ began to emerge in a team that became integrated ‘stakeholders.’

“The staffing supervisors started to lead within our organization to spark clients’ lives in ways we never thought possible because of Emily’s refinement,” said Sara.

The Gallup study also shared that “many employees who are not engaged want a reason to be inspired. They are the ’show me’ group that needs an extra push to perform at their best. While positive feelings, such as happiness, are usually byproducts of engagement, they shouldn’t be confused with the primary outcomes. Rather, the primary emphasis should be on elements that engage workers and drive results, such as clarity of expectations, the opportunity to do what they do best, development and opinions counting.”

Ashanti Samuels has grown her career at Lifespark from a live-in caregiver to a staffing supervisor and attributes her success to the whole person senior care model but also Emily’s leadership style.

“Before I became a staffing supervisor, it had been years since I worked in an office setting (teenage years). I was unsure of the business atmosphere and Emily took the time to teach me business etiquette – writing proper emails, what to say on the phone, how to build relationships with clients and families, how to act in a business setting and how to mentor the caregivers under me,” said Ashanti. “She never made me feel like she’s ‘the boss and I’m not’ or ‘do what I say.’ She works right alongside us teaching us and helping us through what challenges us. It helps me work better with the clients I serve and I really love listening to our seniors’ stories and helping them with the goals they have.”

It wasn’t just the staffing supervisor role that was affected by Emily’s leadership. Through her mentoring of the staffing team, the staffers learned new ways to train and inspire the caregivers who work directly for them. “They have been able to imitate the way Emily leads to fuel caregivers with the training, knowledge, and support to spark clients’ lives,” said Sara.

Ray Johnson was an untiring advocate for older adults’ self-determination. By motivating and inspiring her team, Emily is walking in his footsteps, advocating for better senior autonomy.  Lifespark’s whole person senior care model starts with people – we need to have the right people delivering the Lifespark Experience if we are going to make it successful.

“I’m honored to earn this award particularly because this commitment to engage team members is what motivates me at Lifespark,” said Emily. “We are empowered to be advocates for seniors to live a ‘sparked life.’ To help them achieve their own unique goals and seek better outcomes.”


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