NEW ORLEANS, La. – Asbury Communities Chief Operating Officer Sue DaCamara was recognized on Oct. 30, 2017 as the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor Award by LeadingAge. This award annually recognizes an individual who has served with excellence in a career or volunteer position and is now making a difference in the leadership development of others.
For 35 years, Sue has served as a role model and mentor to many associates, both within the Asbury Communities system and through developing leaders within aging services. In announcing the award, LeadingAge stated that Sue “demonstrates the qualities of a resilient leader by ‘walking the talk,’ holding herself to high standards of accountability and challenging members of her teams to do the same. Because of her commitment to Asbury and all of those served by the organization, people know that participating on any team [Sue] leads requires a commitment to its purpose, and that the results will bring value to the organization.”
Sue has supported ongoing leadership development through Asbury’s Administrator-in-Training program, actively supporting LeadingAge’s National Larry Minnix Leadership Academy, and most recently through helping to launch the LeadingAge DC, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Academy. She was instrumental in putting the curriculum together for that initiative, as well as serving as one of three coaches for the 18 academy fellows in the program.
“Sue believes that leaders can’t just sit on the sidelines and provide instructions. Instead, she holds to a philosophy that leaders at all levels of organizations that serve the aging should lead not just within the organization, but within the field,” said Jill A. Schumann, president and CEO of LeadingAge Maryland. “Asbury may hire amazing people and allow them to grow, but on a greater scale, Sue is committed to leading the field, and she does it by creating a culture of engagement.”
Sue has mentored many professionals, both within Asbury and elsewhere, in their personal growth, resulting in additional responsibilities and promotions within and outside of the Asbury system, and increased leadership roles as part of their state LeadingAge affiliates.
“She’s a role model for me both personally and professionally,” said Debbie Hedges, associate executive director at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Md. “She was there in key places intentionally helping me to grow, and putting me in situations where without her, I might not have been naturally inclined, for example, to apply for the LeadingAge Leadership Academy. And through such situations, I have learned so much by interacting with other organizations around the country, travelling to places to help others in their own journey, or speaking from my experiences on behalf of those we serve.”
A licensed nursing home administrator, Sue joined Asbury Methodist Village 35 years ago as the Director of Therapeutic Recreation, and subsequently served as the Assistant Administrator and Administrator of Asbury Home, Administrator for Apartments and Villas, and Administrator of Health Related Services. While at Asbury Methodist Village, she was involved in the program planning and operational start-up of several expansion projects at the community. In 1995, she became the Executive Director of Asbury~Solomons Island, was instrumental in the community’s 1996 opening, and led its 2002 expansion. In 2003, she also assisted in the opening of Inverness Village in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was named Asbury’s Chief Operating Officer in 2014.
“I feel strongly that because of the mentoring relationship Sue established with me on my first day with Asbury more than 20 years ago, it has allowed me to be part of a team that shaped what our organization is today, while creating a mentoring and training culture throughout the organization,” said Asbury Communities President & CEO Doug Leidig. “As an executive director 20 years ago, Sue was a role model for leaders throughout the industry, and she continues to do so today as our COO. More importantly, her belief in learning and providing opportunities to develop leaders now extends across the industry.”
Asbury is an organization providing management and life-enhancing services for older adults. Asbury is ranked by The LeadingAge Ziegler 150 (LZ 150) as the 18th-largest not-for-profit multi-site senior living organization in the country.