Beth Watson is a native Rhode Islander who comes to us with more than two decades of fundraising experience. Beth graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and has continued her education at various other institutions including Merrimack College, Emerson College, and Harvard University. Upon graduation, she secured a position at USA Today. She spent six years there bettering her writing, presenting, advertising, and sales skills. It was at this job that she was inspired to pursue career opportunities in the non-profit sector.

In 1988 Beth accepted the role of Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Providence Public Library. Over the next 12 years, Beth advanced the library’s visibility and assisted in her first fundraising project. Together with the Director of Development and Board, Beth helped organize a $2 million capital campaign.

In 2001 Beth took a step back from full-time work to care for her father who had been diagnosed with ALS. During this time, she began working to help launch Rhode Island’s only children’s bereavement center called Friends Way. She considers this project “one of her most significant contributions.”

In 2005 she returned to work full-time as the Director of Development and Communications for Children’s Friend and Services, then as the Director of Institutional Advancement for Redwood Library, and most recently as Director of Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Mercy, a group of Roman Catholic women committed to serving and advocating for those in need.

Throughout her professional life, Beth has employed a four-tiered philosophy: communication, expectations, accessibility, and accountability. Both her professional and personal experience have shaped her into someone who is deeply committed to helping others, and she feels “honored to continue to articulate a faith-based vision and mission for Plymouth Harbor and its donors, bracing them for future, sustainable growth for generations to come.”

Beth has two children. Her son is a boat-builder, and her daughter recently graduated and is now a Physician’s Assistant with plans to specialize in Women’s health and surgery. One of her favorite quotes is from the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” In her free time, Beth enjoys gardening, yoga, and paddle boarding. Please join us in welcoming Beth aboard our team!

A new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care has been chosen, and she is no stranger to Plymouth Harbor. Congratulations, Brandi Burgess!

With a degree in Sociology and Psychology from the College of William and Mary, Brandi started working at Plymouth Harbor in 1999 as an activities coordinator. She also helped manage the social services in the Smith Care Center. When the SCC was opened up to the community, Brandi moved into the role of Admissions and Marketing Coordinator and helped Plymouth Harbor earn a reputation for being not only a great retirement community, but also an excellent skilled nursing and rehab center. She worked as Plymouth Harbor’s social worker and the Positive Approach® to Care educator before being asked to step into the role of Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care.

“Over the last five months, Brandi has lead by example and worked effectively with residents, family members, staff, and contractors to help our Seaside Assisted Living and Starr Memory Care Residence complete a successful first full year of operation,” said Joe Devore, Senior Vice President of Health Services.

Now, after completing her Assisted Living Facility regulatory training and earning her license, she officially takes on her role of Administrator of Assisted Living, the Seaside and the Starr Memory Care Residences.

“As we began our search for an Administrator for Assisted Living and Memory Care, we profiled a professional who had all of the credentials required, coupled with the strong organizational, leadership, and interpersonal skills necessary to administer our Positive Approach® to Care philosophy,” said Harry Hobson, CEO. “We identified Brandi early on as THAT person and so much more. We know Brandi’s heart aligns with our Plymouth Harbor mission, and we are so pleased to see Brandi move into this important leadership position.”

“I am grateful for the support of my husband, Warren, who takes such good care of our family while I have taken on more responsibilities here,” Brandi said. “I am proud and blessed to be a part of what I believe will be the premier Assisted Living and Memory Care home in the Southeast.”

On January 30, Plymouth Harbor will be seeing snow for the first time since 2015, but not the cold, white kind that falls from the sky. Teepa Snow, a leading educator on dementia, will be on campus to teach residents, staff, board members, and community partners about dementia and her Positive Approach™ to Care.

As an occupational therapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience in the field of dementia, Teepa has become an advocate for those with dementia. She has made it her mission to help people better understand what it is like to live with the challenges that accompany the condition and to change the way people think about it.

In 2005, she founded her own company, the Positive Approach™ to Care, to teach people how to effectively and compassionately work with those living with neurocognitive degeneration. The Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) uses the GEMS® States model for brain change, Teepa’s own creation that focuses on retained abilities instead of those that are lost. “Rewiring our own perceptions, attitudes, communication strategies, actions, and responses provides the shift that promotes change for others around us,” says Teepa on her website. Through the PAC and using the GEMS® States model, she now educates family and professional care providers across the world, but mainly in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

“Snow Day,” as we like to call her visit, will span from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., allowing Teepa time with all members of our Plymouth Harbor community so that we can all learn how to better care for those with dementia. Teepa will have specific sessions dedicated to each of our constituents, beginning with staff, caregivers, and area partners, then residents and Harbor Club members, and finally our board members.

This year, we have combined “Snow Day” with our annual Doyle Trust Lecture, and she will serve as the annual event’s keynote speaker. “We are very proud to bring Teepa here for the inaugural Doyle Trust Lecture,” says Becky Pazkowski, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy. “The Doyles were residents here and I’d imagine would be very pleased to know that care for all kinds of conditions, including dementia, has expanded over the years. With their legacy, we are able to offer an even broader educational opportunity.”

Teepa has visited Plymouth Harbor once before in March of 2015, before the Northwest Garden Building was built, for our first “Snow Day.” This time around, in addition to speaking to our residents and staff, Teepa will tour the Starr Memory Care Residence. We are excited to show her the supportive, state-of-the-art environment created for our residents thanks to the careful thought and ingenuity of the Plymouth Harbor team and THW, the architectural and design firm. We are so proud of our residence, and this will serve as a rare occasion for us to show Teepa how the design of the space and the program has been influenced by her own positive approach.

Brandi Burgess, Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, is a certified PAC trainer and has worked hard to incorporate Teepa’s approach into the way Plymouth Harbor cares for its residents. “The tenets of her program are that if caregivers understand what is happening physically and cognitively to those with dementia, we can identify the levels of progression and remaining strengths in the moment,” Brandi said.

More information about Teepa and the Positive Approach™ to Care and the GEMS® States model for brain change can be found online at TeepaSnow.com.

It is with deep respect that we bid farewell to three Foundation board members who have served two terms each on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation Board is comprised of at least three resident trustees, three non-resident corporate board trustees, and three at-large trustees, plus the CEO and CFO.

Tom Towler (Resident Trustee)
Tom began on the Foundation board in 2013, serving two consecutive terms. We are grateful for his knowledge of Plymouth Harbor, the Sarasota Community, and of philanthropy.

Lee Byron (Non-Resident Trustee)
Lee served on the Foundation board beginning in 2013 and was appointed as a corporate board trustee at that time. Her long tenure as trustee at Plymouth Harbor has been extremely generous and valuable to our leadership. Now a Harbor Club member, we know we will continue to benefit from Lee’s involvement.

Cade Sibley (At-Large Trustee)
Cade began as an At-Large trustee in 2013 and became Chair of the Board in 2017. Completing her sixth year on the board and second as chair, we are extremely grateful for her leadership. She will begin her first term as a corporate board trustee in January.

We are excited to welcome the following three new members to our Foundation Board:

John D. (Jack) Kidd (Resident Trustee)
Jack and Jane Kidd became Plymouth Harbor residents in December of 2017. They moved to Longboat Key in 2004, having spent most of their family life in Jackson, Ohio. Jack and a partner bought Oak Hill Banks in 1970, which after much success was merged with WesBanco of Wheeling, West Virginia in 2007. He served on that board until 2011. Jack has most recently served two years as President of the Board of The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota (2014-2018). He also served the Bird Key Yacht Club Board of Governors, the Sanctuary Condo Board of Trustees, and the Waterclub Condo Board of Trustees, as well as countless boards in Ohio. He and Jane have three children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Robert (Bobby) Overall (At-Large Trustee)
Bobby Overall has become very familiar with Plymouth Harbor, as his parents, Bob and Mathilda Overall, lived here from 2001 until their recent deaths (2018 and 2016, respectively). Bobby was president and majority owner of Coastal Bridge Company, a 250-employee highway, bridge, and marine construction company in Louisiana, which he sold and retired from in 2013. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University. He is currently a director of Associated General Contractors of America and a past board member and past president of Louisiana Associated General Contractors. He has been involved on several volunteer boards including Junior Chamber of Commerce of Baton Rouge, Jefferson United Methodist of Baton Rouge, and Sarasota Yacht Club. He and his wife Cindy reside in Baton Rouge and have a second home docked at Sarasota Yacht Club.

Kathryn Angell Carr (Non-Resident Trustee)
Kathryn Angell Carr is a member of our corporate board, and is a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP where she is Board Certified in Real Estate Law. She has been involved in the representation of both purchasers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate, including several shopping centers, hotels, apartment complexes, restaurants, and office buildings. Kathryn also has experience in the leasing and financing of both residential and commercial projects, including securitized financing and bond financing. Kathryn received a BS degree in Political Science from Iowa State University and earned her law degree from the University of Florida. In addition to Plymouth Harbor’s, Kathryn previously served on several community Boards, including, but not limited to, The Argus Foundation and the Animal Rescue Coalition. She has three stepchildren and six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to 27.

We have all heard the phrase, “charity begins at home.” Never having known the origin of that phrase, I did what all educated people do nowadays – I googled it.

The phrase is a proverb meaning one’s first responsibility is for the needs of one’s own family and friends.

I have visited personally with over 250 of our residents here at Plymouth Harbor, and a very common description of the feeling here is “like family.” That typically includes neighbors and employees. It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular needs that residents support through the Foundation is Employee Assistance.

Employee Assistance includes support in several different areas: education, hardship, wellness, and training. Over the years, this fund has contributed to our ability to recruit and retain employees, keep skills sharp and current, identify and train emerging leaders, and improve the health and well-being of employees.

In the same spirit of “charity begins at home” is our newest established employee scholarship, the Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship. The donor (a resident who prefers to remain anonymous) shared her story about her single mother raising her, working sometimes several jobs to hold the family together. When it came time for this donor to go to college, her mother told her that she just couldn’t swing the tuition and that she would not be able to attend college. She was disappointed, but knew that learning a skill was important. So, she attended vocational school, learned an employable skill, and later went back to expand her education when she could afford it.

Knowing now that it must have broken her mother’s heart to have to tell her that she couldn’t afford tuition, she wishes to help others here at Plymouth Harbor, who may be in the same situation, in her mother’s name: Veronica Holak Barton.

The Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship that will be awarded annually, beginning in 2019, to a student interested in a vocational program, not necessitating a 4-year college degree. She has also stated preference for this scholarship to be made to one-parent families. Eventually, this scholarship will be endowed so that it will go on for years and years into the future.

Charity certainly does begin at home, sometimes years ago, sometimes now. And, most times, something very good can result.

-Becky Pazkowski