The Rev. Wally Fleming joined the Heritage Ministries’ board of directors in 1992. At that time, the organization operated a sole retirement facility in Gerry and its governing body was made up of all men. “Here’s an organization that is heavily geared toward male leadership even though the majority of our residents are female,” Fleming, the board’s chair, remembered.
Twenty eight years later, the organization has grown both physically and spiritually, beyond both the walls of its original campus and its social makeup — marked especially by the appointment of Lisa Haglund as its president and chief executive officer. Haglund is the first woman in its 134 year history to hold the position and was appointed in April.
“That’s a huge milestone and speaks well to the future health of the organization,” Fleming said, noting that five of the board’s 11 members are also women. “It really is a significant milestone. Here’s an organization that has existed since 1886 and was very male dominated for more than its first 100 years — and now we’re here.”
Almost seven months since her initial appointment — at the infancy of the COVID-19 pandemic — Haglund admitted that she hasn’t even taken time to relish in the accomplishment.