needed service, while also taking the opportunity to
refer seniors to the Maristone Web site for links and
more information on the topics she has covered.
“We’re really, really about community involvement,”
Shayne landed the opportunity at Channel 4 by
turning down an invitation to advertise. She instead
proposed producing a short segment on senior-related
issues, and the station took her up on the idea. It helped that
Shayne had prior experience in entertainment and is comfortable
in front of a camera, and that the station was seeking ways to build
an audience among seniors. Soon the one-time gig turned into a
longer partnership, and recently moved to the 6 o’clock news.
Once the time slot changed to 6 o’clock, Maristone’s phone
started ringing “like crazy,” says Shayne, and so the company’s
back-door marketing has started to pay off. “People feel like you
genuinely care, and they call you,” says Shayne. “We haven’t even
opened but we got our first two reservations from ‘On Modern
Winner: castle country Assisted Living
castle Rock, cO
strategic Planning Process
Once upon a time, Castle Country Assisted Living was struggling
ED800_ALE_May-Jun09:Assist Liv Exec 3/25/09 1: 21 PM Page 1
in the Colorado market that it served. Two years later,
the small nonprofit operator went from a zero cash
reserve to having $500,000 in the bank. Census rose
from 76 percent in 2006 to 100 percent last summer,
with a waiting list for all three communities. Most
importantly, its leaders, employees, and residents
now share a clear vision of what Castle is all about, and
of where it is headed—thanks to a map measuring four
by eight feet, and the creative strategic planning process that
brought it about.
Unlike some strategy sessions, in which hours of facilitated
brainstorming can lead to a document written after the fact and
stored in a file, Castle relied on an outside-the-box facilitator to
draw out the board of directors’ vision for the company and inscribe it on the wall. The board’s vision literally took shape before
members’ eyes in a way that has kept the elements of their business plan clear, focused, and sorted into their proper places. Elements range from practical to-do lists for improving operations
and visibility, to inspirational drawings and motivational phrases
that get at the more intangible goals of defining culture.
“This was not your everyday boring strategic planning,” says
Barbara dice, executive director. “You aren’t looking at a Power-Point presentation. You aren’t writing notes. You can be totally
engaged. You’re watching your ideas come alive.”
Once the board members’ ideas were thus posted, the mural
was laminated to serve double-duty as a historical reference and
as an inspiration for ongoing planning, work development, and
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