Skill. Dedication. Compassion.
The people who come to work at The Kenney love their jobs, and it shows where it counts the most – in our day to day interaction with our residents. More than just a job, working here means being a member of a community we care deeply about. We’re here to serve your every need with skill, dedication and compassion. It’s not unusual to find staff members who’ve been here for decades. That kind of continuity and commitment can be rare… but not at The Kenney. Read more about our leadership team and long-time staff members below.
Our caring and experienced leadership team helps make The Kenney what it is – a special and vibrant place that feels like family. With their skill and dedication, they work hard to make sure The Kenney lives up to our founders’ mission of “life enhancement for the senior community.” The leadership team supervises a staff of more than 165 employees, some of whom can measure their tenure in decades. Five people have been here more than 25 years. Now that’s commitment!
Director of Human Resources
Dawn Finlayson does her best to ensure that The Kenney’s 180 employees like coming to work each day.
“It’s not hard,” she says. “The people who work here are people who are doing the job they love. They have a passion for caring for seniors.”
Director of human resources since 2008, Dawn is in charge of HR “A to Z,” including recruiting and hiring, training and development, benefits and compensation, policies and procedures, and employee and labor relations.
“No two days are the same,” she says. “I love it.”
Dawn started out in banking, but switched to human resources six years ago after some soul searching and having her first child.
She joined The Kenney on Halloween day 2005 as a human resources assistant. “The first time I met everybody, they were in costume,” she says with a laugh. “I was not.”
Dawn, who grew up in West Seattle, quickly became part of The Kenney family. “I like to say that I come to work with 180 grandmas and grandpas every day,” she says.
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Director of Finance
Bart developed his love for working with people when he served as a Resident Director at several college campus residence halls as he made his way through college, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Accounting from Montana State University and a Master’s of Business Administration degree at Oregon State University. “I loved being part of a housing community and using my talents to make a contribution”, he says. After working in not-for-profit financial leadership for seven years and starting his own consulting business for not-for-profits, The Kenney is very fortunate to have Bart on board as Director of Finance. “After working for my own business, I realized I missed the non-for-profit mission and working as a part of a team to make a difference, he states. “I’m interested in “social entrepreneurship”-a blend of providing not-for-profit services with for-profit sustainability.
Bart describes The Kenney as being all about people-including residents, staff and volunteers. “Every day I ask myself, would I want my Mom and Dad to live at The Kenney? I devote each day to keep the answer a resounding YES! At work I have 180 moms and dads living within a 100 yards of my office door-this drives me to do my best work each and every day.”
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Director of Social Services
After graduating with a degree in psychology and education Robert worked several years as a school teacher and behavior specialist. He also volunteered at night with the King County Crisis Line. “Realizing I enjoyed time listening and empathizing with others I decided to attend graduate school for social work”, he says. After earning a Master’s degree in Social Work, Robert worked as an investigator for protective services and then a social worker in the ER at Harborview before joining The Kenney in 2011. When asked what brought him to The Kenney, Robert explains, “I had a very positive experience visiting my grandmother for ten years in a senior living community in Portland. Those visits and the respect I gained for the staff there had a profound impact on me being drawn to working in the senior living industry. When coming to work every day I believe that my expertise, education and social work make me a compassionate and empathetic advocate for seniors.”
Robert’s role at The Kenney allows him to interact with residents and their family members every day. “The Kenney is special because this is home to everyone here”, he describes. “There are strong family bonds maintained here. I enjoy conversations and reminiscing with residents every day. The residents share a wealth of experience and tradition.”
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Director of Wellness and Life Enrichment
In her 14 years of working with seniors, Serena Smith has found that the residents give her a very positive outlook on life, “seniors have taught me more about life and making every day meaningful to myself and those around me.” Serena comes to The Kenney after developing the Wellness and Life Enrichment program at Franke Tobey Jones in Tacoma. “Our calendar had 39 classes per week with 500 participants attending multiple classes on a regular basis. Attendees included residents and the surrounding community”
Serena is adding to The Kenney Life Enrichment and Wellness program classes that help with strength, balance, and flexibility. She also looks forward to bringing in more speakers to discuss senior related health issues. When asked what makes The Kenney special, Serena replies, “At The Kenney, residents come before anything else and it shows. I was instantly brought into a very large family atmosphere that I have grown to love dearly.”
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