Heritage Ministries CEO Named as Top Executive

Lisa Haglund, Heritage Ministries President and CEO has been named to the Buffalo Business First’s Top C-Level Executives in Western New York for 2022. Published annually, Top C-Level Executive list is Buffalo Business First’s list of the most influential leaders in Western New York. Haglund is one of only 20 individuals to be named to the 2022 class.

Buffalo Business First shared that Haglund fulfilled many of the criteria that define a top C-level executive. “Top C-level executives are innovators within their company – trailblazers who effectively navigate the complexities of their field, role models for their staff and among their peers, standard-setters within their industry, and leaders in our community.”

Since assuming the role of President and CEO in April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (as the first female CEO in the company’s history), Haglund has worked to build a new culture within the organization that places their core mission of caring for seniors and employee value and appreciation at the top of the list.

With 10 senior-living communities in four states, Heritage Ministries operates skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living sites serving 2,500 residents. To meet the needs of residents, Heritage employs 1,500 full- and part-time employees including dietary and housekeeping staff, social workers, maintenance, aides, nurses, and more.

“Caring for seniors, and providing a life of love and comfort is at the very heart of what we do. It’s who we are – what we live and breathe. Our seniors, our greatest generation, have raised us and now it is time for us to show them our appreciation,” Haglund stated.

“Heritage is blessed to be led by Lisa,” shared Heritage Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Whitten. “Her passion for our mission, our residents, and our employees reflects in each decision and action she has made as we have navigated through some of the most challenging times in history for the healthcare industry. It is not uncommon to see her in our communities rolling up her sleeves to help wherever she is needed. She is truly dedicated to a path of servant leadership in all that she does, and that leadership, by example of respect, dedication, and care, has transformed who we are as an organization.”

Improving retention rates has been a vital focus as Haglund has led Heritage through the pandemic – two years ago, when she was named CEO, the turnover rate was as high as 79%. Haglund said changes implemented over the last year including increased wages and benefits, employee incentives including generous vacation time, giveaways, and special recognition have shrunk that rate significantly.

Haglund has also worked to become a champion for seniors throughout New York State as a member of the Board of Directors of LeadingAgeNY, the only statewide organization representing the entire continuum of not-for-profit, mission-driven, and public continuing care, including senior housing, nursing home, adult care facility, continuing care retirement community, assisted living, home care, adult day care, and community services providers. LeadingAge New York represents over 400 organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. On behalf of the members, the association works to advance policies, promote practices, and conduct research that supports, enables, and empowers people to live fully as they age.

“As an industry, we have faced ever-changing regulations and challenges surrounding COVID-19. I am committed to supporting, honoring, and advocating for our employees and residents across our communities every day, and am thankful for the opportunity through LeadingAgeNY to be a voice for those we both serve and employ,” she added.

Prior to joining Heritage, Haglund was employed by Northwest Bank, a multi-billion dollar corporation, for over twenty years. She excelled in various roles, allowing her to manage a portfolio of over $48 million, while creating a team that influenced revenue and expense and risk management, streamlined processes, and created cross functional support across the organization. Haglund attended Alfred State College as well as the Pennsylvania Bankers Association Advanced School of Banking at Penn State. She has also been an active member of her community throughout the years, with involvement ranging from Chautauqua Leadership Network, PTA, St. Susan Center, Family Services, and the Bemus Point United Methodist Church. Haglund resides with her husband, Jason, and their four children, in Bemus Point, NY. They are members of the Bemus Point United Methodist Church.

Click here to meet Buffalo Business First’s 2022’s C-Level Executives Award winners.