• Jessica Prucha

What is brand storytelling?

Brand storytelling is targeted messaging that fosters the formation of authentic connections. This content focuses on a business’s values and provides the audience with a greater understanding of the business. Brand storytelling helps companies articulate their purpose. Ultimately, brand storytelling helps organizations build deeper relationships through an emphasis on stories and values.

Why is it important for companies to tell their story?

It is important for companies to tell their story because this allows readers or listeners to assess if their values align. When companies share the deeper meaning behind why they started or what drives them, others gain insight to the company’s genuine intentions behind what they do. When individuals at a company tell their stories, they also remind themselves of their “why.” Sharing a company’s “why” has the potential to reignite passion, excitement, and foster purpose-driven thinking.

Why is it important to tell brand stories from the senior living industry?

There are many untold stories about the senior living industry and the high-quality care provided to the nation’s vulnerable seniors. I chose to tell my story with the hope that other young professionals might look to the senior living industry as a fulfilling and rewarding career option. While pursuing my degree in journalism, I was drawn to study Gerontology because of the close relationships I shared with my grandparents. I also was fortunate enough to have a business writing internship with Achieve Accreditation which introduced me to the many undiscovered stories in the senior living industry. I am excited to partner with Achieve Accreditation and contribute to their performance improvement mission within the senior living industry. I am grateful for this opportunity and feel passionately about telling Achieve Accreditation’s story.

Jessica Prucha, BAJ is the Brand Storyteller at Achieve Accreditation. Achieve Accreditation has helped skilled nursing providers and assisted living organizations to

obtain and maintain their Joint Commission Accreditation

for over 30 years.

The Achieve Accreditation Story: An interview with Kathleen O’Connor, MA President & Founder of Achieve Accreditation by Jessica Prucha, BAJ Achieve Accreditation Brand Storyteller.

Jessica Prucha: What inspired you to launch Achieve Accreditation?

Kathleen O’Connor: The inspiration for Achieve Accreditation actually started as a seed in my brain, planted by an undergraduate professor over 35 years ago. I was assigned the task to research a company that I might want to work for after graduation. I stumbled upon The Joint Commission in my research, and I was inspired to learn more. Once I discovered an organization that had an entire mission dedicated to continuous quality improvement, I was hooked. This research project eventually led to a career at The Joint Commission lasting almost a decade, where I was fortunate enough to assist in the development of The Joint Commission standards and survey process, train Joint Commission surveyors, and lecture nationally on accreditation as a representative of The Joint Commission. I will also be forever thankful for the great support provided to me by The Joint Commission in obtaining my master’s degree in Gerontology. My next big career calling came in the form of an initial internal whisper and then a louder voice within me that I could not ignore. I had a great urge to bring the best practices learned during my tenure at The Joint Commission to grow performance improvement initiatives in the senior living industry. This journey eventually led me to launch Achieve Accreditation. Many people say that one good teacher can really change your life, in my case that was certainly true. My professor ended up greatly influencing the entire trajectory of my career path by simply pointing me in the right direction.

Jessica Prucha: What have been the surprises and new trends that you have witnessed specific to Joint Commission Nursing Care Accreditation in the last three decades?

Kathleen O’Connor: The rapid growth of skilled nursing providers seeking accreditation has been a welcomed surprise. The increasing number of third-party payors recognizing accreditation, as well as states aligning Medicaid reimbursement incentives with accreditation, is definitely trending up. This trend benefits both providers and residents when quality is upheld to be both recognized and celebrated.

Jessica Prucha: What are some of the memories that stand out most in your mind over the last 30 years in the field of Joint Commission Accreditation?

Kathleen O’Connor: I have thousands of memories of Joint Commission surveys and the difficult but worthwhile preparation work involved. It has been an extremely rewarding aspect of my career to be in a constant learning environment when working with colleagues and client partners. This keeps the work super fresh. The strong colleague relationships and friendships that I have developed are certainly icing on the cake of an over 30-year career in accreditation. There is a funny memory that has stuck with many of our client partners over the decades and is often brought up when reminiscing with colleagues. Specifically, when my daughter Claire was young, she and I volunteered throughout the month of March for many years. We brought our two Shih Tzus, Shamrock and Finnegan, who were dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day season, to visit both residents and staff on weekends. I am always amazed how many people still talk about this memory on a regular basis. It really drives home the point that it is the “little things” in life that people actually remember the most.

Jessica Prucha: What excites you the most when you look toward Achieve Accreditation’s future?

Kathleen O’Connor: I am excited for the great privilege to be a part of our client partners’ continual performance improvement journeys. I am thrilled to share my career life with the incredibly professional, supportive, and collaborative Achieve Accreditation team. I am overjoyed to be once again helping assisted living providers obtain accreditation. We are super energized as a team to continue to grow our Achieve Accreditation brand nationally and to be a part of the senior living industry’s performance improvement journey on a wider scale.

Jessica Prucha, BAJ is the Brand Storyteller at Achieve Accreditation. Achieve Accreditation has helped skilled nursing providers and assisted living organizations to

obtain and maintain their Joint Commission Accreditation

for over 30 years.

  • Kathleen O'Connor

The global pandemic has required us all to re-evaluate our personal and professional lives with a new perspective. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our world, leaving in its wake: death, permanent disability, loss of livelihoods, a worldwide mental health crisis, and too many tragedies to adequately capture in words. 

While we continue to face these ever-present challenges, we are reminded of how truly connected we are as a global community. While the virus spread rapidly across the globe, so did kindness and the resilience of the human spirit.

Employers are now presented with new opportunities to capitalize on including:

The Employee Experience: Employers can support employees as they navigate through difficult times. There can be a renewed employer willingness to listen to what matters most to employees and an openness to explore modifications to company practices so that employees may successfully emerge from the pandemic with solid physical and emotional health.

Flexibility: Employers can give employees the gift of time to balance their professional responsibilities and personal lives to help alleviate pandemic burnout as well as improve job satisfaction levels.

Prioritizing Employee Wellness: Employers who help employees manage their work-life balance will strengthen their partnerships with employees. Working together to come up with creative solutions to prevent and alleviate burnout will strengthen employees’ immune systems, improve their daily outlook, and equally as important, it will position employees for greater success in meeting clients’ needs.

Remote Workforce Opportunities: Employers have a real opportunity to think bigger. There is an opportunity to cast a wider net globally when searching for employee and business partner talent. Achieve Accreditation is excited to be launching several new staff business partnerships in the coming months across more states, in Mexico, and in England. The world somehow seems smaller thanks to the enhanced acceptance of technologies like Zoom. Other business technology advances also allow us to have virtual real time workspaces, enabling opportunities for collaboration with individuals across the globe to create more creative business solutions. This “wider net” thinking will allow us as a company to strengthen our efforts to be more purposeful in seeking out diversity and inclusion. Companies stand to learn and grow when the work environment fosters the creation of ideas and solutions from a variety of backgrounds.

Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The global pandemic certainly hits the mark for the worst of times. Employers owe it to themselves, their employees, and their clients to look for “pearls of opportunities” to establish positive changes and workplace stability, despite the uncertainty of these difficult times.

Kathleen O’Connor, MA is President & Founder of Achieve Accreditation. Achieve Accreditation has helped skilled nursing providers and assisted living organizations to obtain and maintain their Joint Commission Accreditation for over 30 years.