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Covenant Living President, CEO Cunliffe to Retire in 2024

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Covenant Living Communities and Services President and CEO Terri Cunliffe will retire next year in the spring, the senior living operator announced Thursday.

The Skokie, Illinois-based operator is currently in the early stages of finding a new leader, with the company hiring a search firm and forming a committee to find candidates

Her journey with Covenant started in 1987 as a training administrator at a Minneapolis-area community. She then moved to help open Covenant Living of Florida where she became the Healthcare Administrator for assisted living and skilled nursing at the community. In 1996, she was elevated to executive director before being promoted to Vice President of Health and Wellness and later Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer.

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She was promoted to CEO and President in 2015. In a statement in the news release, Cunliffe said she “never could have imagined” that her career in senior living would be what it is today.

“It has been a privilege and a source of personal and professional growth for me to work alongside so many dedicated leaders and employees while serving incredible residents,” Cunliffe said. “Covenant Living is well positioned for a leadership change; the excellent community leadership and central office leadership coupled with our financial strength provides the framework for continued success.”

Covenant Living operates 19 communities across 10 states. The company is also a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church that has been serving older adults since 1886. 

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In a 2022 interview with Senior Housing News, Cunliffe said the organization was focused on improving staffing issues.

“The big, big focus is investing in our employees, and I think many of our colleagues are doing the same,” Cunliffe said during an episode of the Transform podcast.

In a September 2020 interview with SHN, Cunliffe highlighted how the organization had realized $23 million in waste within five years that was done by moving marketing in-house and reinvesting in Covenant staff, systems and physical plant.

“We looked at it definitely as a cost savings, but what we didn’t realize is how helpful it is for us to be able to change our operation and progress it much, much quicker than having to constantly … outsource,” Cunliffe said.

Covenant Living Board of Directors Chairperson Janet Creaney said Cunliffe’s retirement “leaves the organization in a position to continue moving forward in the strategic path she helped to pave.”

“This organization is stronger than ever before thanks to Terri’s leadership as president and CEO in the last 10 years,” Creaney said.

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