Homegrown talents directing The Colonnade, La Loma Village
By Shanna Hogan
The two newest leaders at La Loma Village and The Colonnade enjoy getting out from behind their desks to connect with residents and staff. You might see them playing table tennis or bocce ball or dining with residents. Or, you’ll catch them meeting formally and informally with employees or just walking the campus grounds. These are just a few of the ways that Dan Liguori and Kari Curry keep in touch with their communities.
Late last year, Dan was promoted from the assistant controller of Sun Health Senior Living to executive director at The Colonnade. And in March, Kari transitioned from her position as the life enrichment director and assisted living manager to executive director at La Loma Village. Here’s how they rose through the company to become its newest leaders.
Dan carved out a successful career in corporate accounting in his native Ohio before moving to Arizona in 2005 in search of a warmer climate. He was hired as director of financial services for La Loma Village, a position he held for eight years. He also helped out as the community’s interim executive director for a short period in 2011.
In 2015, Dan was promoted to the assistant controller for Sun Health Senior Living, which gave him more familiarity with all three communities. When the Colonnade’s executive director announced in 2017 that she was retiring, Dan offered to fill in as the interim executive director.
“I came here in June 2017 just to help out and made it very clear that I was not interested in the executive director job,” Dan says. “However, after a couple of months the residents, staff, everybody seemed to like me being here. So I just decided to throw my hat into the ring.”
In fact, many residents sang Dan’s praises to Sharon Grambow, interim president and CEO of Sun Health, who was in charge of hiring.
“Residents started emailing me and asking, ‘Can Dan be our permanent executive director?’” Sharon says. “He had terrific relationships with residents and staff.”
With his experience in accounting and a laser focus on customer service, Dan has thrived in his new role. He says he’s thrilled with the job, often arriving early, staying late and working weekends.
“I really look forward to coming to work. It’s different every day, and that’s what’s appealing to me,” Dan says. “I enjoy being around residents and employees.”
When Kari was hired in 2006 as the life enrichment director for the La Loma campus, Sharon had an inkling she was a natural leader.
“Early on we began offering Kari the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities and challenges that would help her grow,” Sharon says. “Kari took on the challenges and exceeded our expectations.”
One of those challenges was becoming the manager of La Loma’s assisted-living residence, which required extra training. Kari jumped that hurdle while continuing as the director of life enrichment.
In 2016, she completed an administer-in-training program making her a licensed nursing care administrator. The former executive director Susan Davis mentored Kari for several years, teaching her the nuances of the position.
Part of Kari’s job will involve growing La Loma Village. She says she’s looking forward to the new responsibilities and the opportunity to strengthen her connections with the residents.
“The most rewarding part of the job is the people,” she says. “We have so many amazing residents with so many different backgrounds and life experiences. You can learn so much from just spending time with them.”
While Sun Health often promotes employees internally, the company conducted a comprehensive search for the executive director positions. Although there was strong competition, Sharon says Kari and Dan stood out.
“The residents in both communities are thrilled with the decision,” Sharon says. “And I’m thrilled that they accepted the challenge.”