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Community service in every sense

Resident Pat Davis talks about her role on Riderwood’s board of directors

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April 17th, 2015
Riderwood resident Pat Davis
Riderwood resident Pat Davis

Pat Davis has always been active at Rid..., the Silver Spring, Md., Erickson Living community where she has lived since 2006. But she recently took her involvement to an even higher level. Pat was selected to serve as the sole resident on Riderwood’s board of directors.

“The primary responsibility [of the board] is fiduciary, and the real role of resident director is to communicate the concerns, priorities, and interests of residents—to be that spokesperson—and also to communicate from the board to residents so the residents understand what the board is doing and how they operate,” Pat says. “The resident director is really a link between residents and the board.”

An eclectic board

Riderwood’s board of directors consists of people from the surrounding community. Pat says many of the board members are professionals, like attorneys, CPAs, and people who have worked in the housing industry. 

One spot is reserved for a resident. To fill the most recent vacancy, the board selected from among six resident applicants and chose Pat for the job. Her term began in January. After her first year on the board, she will have the option to serve a three-year term.

For most of her career, Pat worked as a nurse, but her last job was working in a large church as the coordinator of senior ministry. This job entailed helping older adults make housing decisions. As a result, she says she became quite familiar with most of the retirement communities in the greater Washington, D.C., area.

“Being exposed to all of the communities, I became convinced that Erickson Living communities were the best,” Pat says. “One of the things I found to be a great advantage is the large size because that permits us to have all kinds of services that other communities don’t. 

“For example, some [communities] have a doctor who comes in and does office hours, but we have a fully staffed medical center. Then, in terms of amenities like classes, trips, fitness centers—we have all that, too.”

Taking a leadership role 

When Pat first moved to Riderwood, she was still working. After she retired, she turned her attention to becoming involved in the community. 

She was elected to Riderwood’s Resident Advisory Council, a committee of residents that acts as a liaison between management and residents. In that role, she says she was exposed to the board of directors, got to know many of her neighbors, and learned about the inner-workings of the community.

Pat also served on Riderwood’s philanthropy committee and co-chaired the staff appreciation committee, which raises money to provide cash bonuses to outstanding employees. 

Additionally, Pat became a familiar face on Riderwood’s campus as a result of her work for Riderwood TV, the community’s in-house television station. She worked on a news show and conducted interviews on air. 

Since joining the board, Pat has scaled back on her other commitments in order to focus on that important job, but she remains a member of the finance and long-range planning committee. 

Dedicated to keeping lines of communication open

In her first year as resident director, Pat says she hopes to educate residents about what the board does and how it works. To that end, she has already filmed an informative segment that aired on Riderwood TV. 

She says people expect the resident director to be highly involved in the community. She must stay informed about residents’ needs and concerns and communicate them back to the board. 

“I try to make myself as available as possible. One of the choices I’ve always made since I’ve been in leadership at Riderwood is that I don’t sit with people I know at dinner. I always sit with people I don’t know,” Pat says. “I enjoy it. I am a people person, and I like hearing from people and communicating their concerns.”

When she’s not busy lending her time and talents to Riderwood, Pat participates in a few activities just for fun. She is a member of Riderwood’s hand bell choir, belongs to a book club, and volunteers in a soup kitchen in Silver Spring. 

She has three children, two of whom live in Maryland, and six grandchildren who range in age from 9 to 29. Pat says she has traveled quite a bit in the past, but now she reserves most of her trips to visit family.

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