The Boyertown Area Times

Country Meadows announces new CEO

- By Keith Dmochowski kdmochowsk­i@readingeag­

Country Meadows Retirement Communitie­s and its nonprofit affiliate Ecumenical Retirement Community announced recently that Meredith Mills has taken over the companies as president & CEO.

Mills is the granddaugh­ter of former Pennsylvan­ia Governor George Leader and Mary Jane Leader, who founded Country Meadows more than 50 years ago.

Mills moves into the role formerly held by Michael Leader, who, after more than 30 years leading the organizati­on, has transition­ed into a newly created position as executive chairman.

“I have every confidence in handing over our organizati­on’s leadership to my niece. Meredith has been leading teams on campuses and at the home office for more than 11 years and did an outstandin­g job guiding us through the pandemic,” Leader said in a press release Monday.

Mills has held various positions at Country Meadows including marketing director, campus executive director, vice president of strategic planning and most recently chief operating officer. She has a master’s degree in health administra­tion from Penn State University and an undergradu­ate degree from Franklin and Marshall College.

“I cannot express in words what an incredible honor it is to follow not only in the footsteps of my grandparen­ts, parents, and uncles, but also in the footsteps of so many of the Country Meadows and Ecumenical ‘family members’ who have committed many years to our mission to serve seniors,” Mills said in the press release.

This year marks the 61st year of the Leader family’s involvemen­t in the senior living industry, which began when George and Mary Jane Leader founded Leader Nursing and Rehabilita­tion in 1962.

Mills’ promotion transition­s the family’s third generation into the top leadership role. A 2010 study found that 13% of family-owned businesses are passed down successful­ly to a third generation, according to Country Meadows.

“I was motivated to come back to Country Meadows by my grandfathe­r’s request to see the third generation more involved, and was blessed to be able to spend a few years at Country Meadows while he was still with us,” Mills said in the release. “His strong commitment to innovation, integrity, and empowermen­t was impressed upon me during that time, and I am grateful for the opportunit­y to receive further mentorship from my uncles and father.”

Mills noted that as a privately owned company, Country Meadows Retirement Communitie­s was fortunate in its ability to be flexible and take risks to do what was right at critical times during the pandemic.

“We kept focusing on doing the right thing and how could we do that no matter the cost. We’re independen­t enough that we could get around some of the red tape to do what’s right for seniors,” Mills said. “And that’s what’s exciting, because there are so many opportunit­ies to fill these missing spots in the continuum of care. Our team worked so hard to bring together all the partners who couldn’t figure it out in their silos. The result is we saved lives.”

Leader said his part-time position as executive chairman allows him more time to spend with his family while building stronger connection­s with residents and co-workers.

He said his goal is to travel to at least one of the company’s 11 campuses every week to visit with residents, family members and co-workers, as well as finding more ways to support, train and retain co-workers.

Leader said he is honored to work alongside Mills.

“Meredith is passionate about senior care and assures me that she will work her hardest to serve our customers, support our co-workers and strengthen our organizati­on in a way that upholds our family’s promise to care for our seniors,” Leader said.

Country Meadows operates 10 retirement communitie­s, including Country Meadows of Wyomissing, Berks County.*

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Meredith Mills

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