For this employee spotlight, we’re highlighting two staff members in our Administrator in Training (AIT) program. Administrators supervise all day-to-day operations within a senior living community, from managing financial matters to hiring new employees and overseeing resident care. To become a licensed administrator, one must complete 1,040 hours of service within all of a community’s departments and pass both federal and state exams. Meet Jason Kennedy and Keeshan Patel, both of whom are nearing the completion of the AIT program.
Jason Kennedy has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years now. The passion for it runs in his blood, as his mother also worked in the field, specifically in senior living.
“From the time I could walk and talk, I grew up in senior living communities,” Jason said. “I went on to help out with resident activities. I called bingo. Because of my mother, I became friends with a lot of people in healthcare, and it seemed natural to continue on that path for my career.”
Becoming an administrator has always been Jason’s “endgame,” but he took a longer route to get there so he could familiarize himself with all areas of senior living. He has worked at several companies, serving in a variety of departments — from maintenance to admissions, marketing and beyond.
CarDon first piqued Jason’s interest back in 2014, when the organization broke ground on a new Greenwood location right down the street from his house. After applying for a position as the community’s director of facilities, Jason interviewed at the corporate office in Fishers. Impressed with CarDon’s “high level of compassion and care,” he happily accepted their offer for the position and “didn’t look back.”
After serving at the new Greenwood location and briefly moving to the Paoli location, Jason started the AIT program at the Bloomington location in August of last year. The program requires 1,040 hours of work alongside the community’s various department heads, which typically takes six months to complete. Fortunately, because of his extensive prior experience in the healthcare industry, Jason had to complete just 728 hours. Once he passes his state tests, he will be an official, licensed administrator.
“CarDon’s been great,” he said. “They’ve given me all the tools and support I’ve needed throughout this journey in the AIT program. They make me feel right at home.”
Like Jason, Keeshan Patel’s interest in healthcare sparked at an early age. Before going to college, he knew he wanted to pursue a field that merged medicine with business. At Indiana University, he discovered the healthcare administration track, which seemed like the perfect fit. Like Jason’s mother, Keeshan’s father has many connections in the healthcare field, specifically healthcare administration, so Keeshan felt like he was in familiar territory.
While studying at IU, Keeshan volunteered at CarDon’s Bloomington community and grew to love the staff and residents.
“It was a great opportunity to get to know people,” he said. “It’s inspiring to hear people’s life stories.”
Keeshan went on to serve part time as the community’s admissions coordinator. After graduating from IU, he rose through the ranks of the Bloomington location and then the Carmel and Pendleton locations before starting the AIT program last summer.
While his hours are complete, Keeshan still has to take the state exams before he can serve as an official administrator. Right now, he is helping the central Indianapolis community with COVID documentation and staff / resident engagement.
“Through COVID, we lost our sense of normalcy, so it’s important now to go around and talk to staff, residents and family members about what they need to feel happy and comfortable and what we can do to make their days better around here,” he said. “Being able to make a difference in their lives is what I most look forward to as an administrator.”