Reed Vander Slik was named the new President of Glacier Hills in March, succeeding Ray Rabidoux who retired after 18 extraordinary years at the helm. Reed has traveled widely for both work and pleasure and his experiences across the globe have strengthened his love for meeting new people. Warm and outgoing, Reed’s leadership style is based on his personal belief that regardless of circumstances, “people are people, and while I appreciate our differences, I look for the ways we are all alike, finding connection in the values we have in common.”
Now that he’s been on board for a few months, we sat down to talk with Reed about his first impressions and early experiences on campus.
I’ve been in the senior living field for many years so of course I knew Glacier Hills by reputation, and I’d always heard good things. I knew Ray through LeadingAge Michigan and had met other staff at conferences. These connections reinforced my feeling that Glacier Hills was special in the world of senior communities. I saw a lot of wisdom in becoming part of Trinity Health Senior Communities (THSC) and I admired the forethought and vision involved in that decision. Glacier Hills is essentially the flagship within THSC and there’s certainly a lot of management talent on this campus. But there’s a real benefit in this partnership that allows the senior living properties to learn from and inspire each other. For me it comes down to people, and I came to be part of this exciting team.
I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised by how fast I felt accepted here; it happened more quickly than I anticipated. The Glacier Hills community and even the neighborhood where we live have been very welcoming. I knew I had big shoes to fill, but the residents have been very friendly and eager to meet with me. The amount of activity on this campus is higher than I expected, in fact it’s the most engaged campus I’ve been on. Even the exercise classes are full!
My wife, Mary, and I are true summer enthusiasts. Golfing, cycling, camping, tennis, and hiking are all things we enjoy. My family and I love to travel and we’ve been to Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia as well as trips within the US and Canada. I enjoy reading and always have three categories of books by my bedside: fiction, history, and organizational leadership. My sons Jake, 28, and Harrison, 23, are huge sports fans, and Harrison and I are on a mission to see every ballpark in the country. So far we’ve made it to eight of the 30. My daughter Abigail is 24 years old and shares my love of learning and the outdoors.
I’m eager to cultivate a real family focus on this campus for both residents and staff, and while it’s early days, our team is looking at that very carefully. Also, it’s not too soon to begin thinking about a strategic vision in time for Glacier Hills’ 50th anniversary, about six years from now. Demand for senior living services will increase in the coming years. I’m a major planner, so I am excited to begin the planning process and gear up to meet that demand.