In our last Q&A on the blog, we held a roundtable discussion with Icon’s customer success leaders about their approach to client partnerships.
This month, we spoke with Kelly Grieco, Icon’s new VP of Enterprise Accounts, to learn more about her industry experience and growth strategy in 2024.
Please share your path to a career in senior living.
When I graduated college, my plan was to become an attorney. During that time, I served on the Board of Directors for Hopeworks in Camden, New Jersey where I met the CEO of a local senior living group who eventually asked me to head up the organization’s foundation. It was my first exposure to working in the industry I now think of as my lifelong passion.
What do you enjoy the most about senior living?
There are many things to love. I am reminded daily of how generous and willing everyone is to support and elevate one another. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by professionals who are so dedicated and passionate!
What motivated, or inspired you to join Icon?
When I met Ryan and Michele, I was exploring a transition away from a successful career with a large contract therapy company. I was eager to apply my experience in former tech-related roles (as with ADP) and leverage my ability to network and connect in meaningful ways. My journey led me to Icon, and I experienced an almost instant synergy. My search was over; I fell in love with the Icon platform and the team, too.
The Icon team represents the same values that motivate and inspire me – honest communication, strategic problem-solving, and innovation – amidst an industry that serves the best interests of seniors.
What do you plan to accomplish in your new role at Icon?
I am confident that within the next 18 months, Icon will become the market leader in the senior living industry. It’s a bold statement, but my role will focus on communicating and connecting senior living operators and providers who are truly in need of an easy-to-use, customizable all-in-one platform with proven ROI and metrics.
What are some of your key considerations and strategies
Approximately 60% of senior living communities utilize some form of communication and technology software. 4 out of 10 communities are reluctant to adopt tech solutions and will likely maintain the status quo.
Senior living is very relationship-driven. If you approach an organization that has a strong relationship with an existing vendor, you need to make sure you can deliver more value and be reliable.
That requires a high level of accountability. You have to come in and be a true partner. You have to be authentic.
Nobody wants to be sold to. We have to position ourselves as educators, not salespeople.
What best practices can you share with senior living leaders?
Expect more from senior living technology systems! Ask: How does the platform save time, reduce redundancies, and take things off your plate? Will the technology truly integrate with other systems? Does the technology strengthen relationships with families and/or with staff? Make sure a robust implementation plan and customer service model is in place. Your software has to be intuitive, engaging, and efficient. It should come with cutting-edge AI capabilities. And it should support every aspect of senior living, from family engagement to staff retention.
What’s one thing more people in senior living need to talk about – or remember?
Senior living still faces a stigma from the start of the pandemic. The industry is great, but COVID-19 did some damage to the industry.
I think the adoption of technology can go a long way toward repairing that damage, especially among residents’ adult children. They want high-end technology for Mom and Dad. If an organization can offer that, they’ll have a leg up on other communities down the road.
I’ll give you a personal example to illustrate. My grandfather’s lifelong partner recently passed away after living with dementia. But before she passed, we vetted assisted living and memory care communities for her treatment. We ultimately picked the one that had the technology in place for my grandfather to communicate with the staff and with the community.
As we finalized our decision, I kept thinking: this technology is what every senior living community has to adopt. For us, technology was a clear advantage that helped us make a confident decision.
Do you think seniors are starting to expect more technology in senior living?
The short answer is yes – but not just technology.
I’m close with a CEO who operates senior living communities that are absolutely gorgeous inside. He knows that older adults don’t want to go in and see worn-down furniture; they want newer, updated finishes. Last time I talked to this CEO, he said: “Other senior living communities have to step up their game when it comes to aesthetics and technology. Otherwise, people aren’t going to move in.”
Senior living communities are a big transition, after all. If older adults are moving from their homes, you don’t want to take things away from them – you want to elevate their lives. And for adoption to happen seamlessly, you can’t be subpar with what you’re offering.
When you elevate your offerings and your technology – because it all goes together – you enhance your residents’ lives. I firmly believe that if you’re happy where you live, you’ll be healthier and live longer.
Finally, what’s your favorite part of the job so far?
My favorite part of the job thus far is the collaboration. Everyone communicates, and that’s opened up endless possibilities.
In just the few weeks I’ve been here, I’ve already attended my first conference as an Icon team member. And we have numerous meetings lined up with the C-suite because of it.
This whole experience is so different from the world I was in. Whether it’s the collaboration or the C-suite actually wanting to talk with us – it makes my job fun. Plus, when you get a “yes,” you kind of ride the wave – and I’m currently riding that wave.
The Key to Meeting Expectations: A Well-Oiled Tech Stack
As Kelly points out, older adults now expect intuitive, engaging, and efficient technology in their senior living communities. It should come with cutting-edge AI capabilities. And it should support every aspect of senior living, from family engagement to staff retention.Want to introduce that kind of technology to your senior living community? Let’s start a conversation.