Kendal at Oberlin CEO Barbara Thomas Announces Retirement

December 27, 2023

Barbara ThomasOBERLIN, OH — Kendal at Oberlin, a nonprofit life-plan community in this city 35 miles southwest of Cleveland, has announced that CEO Barbara Thomas will retire in February 2024. Thomas will leave after three-plus decades with the organization; she began her career with Kendal in 1992, a year before the Oberlin retirement community opened to residents in 1993.

Thomas’s career in aging services spans 50 years; it began just after college when she took a position in activities programming at Judson Senior Living in Cleveland. In 1992, she accepted the opportunity to grow as the administrator for the new Kendal community that was taking shape in Oberlin.

She has been a CARF accreditation peer surveyor for 33 years, and she has also served on the boards of LeadingAge National, LeadingAge Ohio, Friends Services for Aging, and Peace Church. Local organizations served include Mercy Health Lorain and Oberlin Rotary. This past August, Thomas was recognized by LeadingAge Ohio with an award for Visionary Leadership.

“Barbara has been an outstanding leader for 30+ years,” Chair of the Kendal at Oberlin Board of Directors Joan Villareal notes in a press release. “Inspired by a clear sense of purpose and vision, she has encouraged Kendal at Oberlin residents and staff to grow into a premier community. While we will miss her guidance, we wish her the very best as she steps off to this next exciting phase of her life.”

ALSO: The Kendal Corporation Names Byrd CEO

“Barbara is a pioneer and trailblazer in senior living, and it’s been an honor to work with her,” said Amy Harrison, Kendal’s CFO and interim CEO. “Throughout her career, Barbara has exemplified Kendal values, and her leadership has been inspirational, paving the way for future generations. Barbara’s unwavering dedication, strategic vision, and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark at Kendal and the entire senior living landscape.”

Kendal at Oberlin’s Board of Directors is working with a search firm to select the next leader for Kendal at Oberlin’s future.

Founded on Quaker principles and guided by its Values and Practices, The Kendal Corporation is a not-for-profit organization whose 11 operating affiliates provide independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation care. Kendal-affiliated senior living communities are in New Hampshire; New York; Massachusetts; Virginia; the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area; Illinois; Pennsylvania; Ohio; and California.

Kendal at Oberlin offers a resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art, and lifelong learning.

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