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Ascension Living Names Executive Director of the Year

May 15, 2019

Kenneth (Ken) Kolich, executive director of Ascension Living-owned Resurrection Retirement Community in Chicago, Illinois, was honored with the senior living and care organization’s 2019 Executive Director Servant Leader Award. A panel of expert post-acute and senior living leaders reviewed all nominations and picked Ken as the top performing community executive director across the 54 locations of Ascension Living, part of Ascension.

Ascension Living’s newly created Executive Director Servant Leader Award recognizes a leader of a retirement community or skilled nursing facility who serves people’s greatest needs. The honor is given to a community leader who honors the non-profit, Catholic organization’s values and whose behaviors guide and inspire others while effectively managing to get great outcomes and for residents. 

“Ken is a values-inspired leader who is a respected member of our team and inspiration to many,” said Danny Stricker, chief operating officer, Ascension Living. “It is obvious that Ken is driven to lead by example and ensure that every one of his ‘resident family members’ feels his passion to provide them with supreme service every day.” 
In the numerous nominations received from community residents, family members and co-workers, Kolich was described as always available, extremely competent, and never too busy to listen to concerns or just to chat. 

“To say that his residents adore him would not be a stretch,” remarked David Karlin, market vice president of operations, Ascension Living. “Resurrection Retirement Community residents are extremely fond of the way Ken models compassion and expresses personal concern for their health and happiness.  He meets both residents and staff with patience and good humor and is clearly devoted to our mission. His leadership and compassion for others creates a caring environment that trickles down to all who work and live in his community.” 
While Kolich was recognized by many for his personal interactions and support, he was also honored for his superior work behind the scenes.  Due to his guidance, Resurrection Retirement Community continually receives stellar quality surveys results, has the highest associate engagement score in Ascension Living, and is contributing to the organization’s mission through amazing financial results. 

“Under Ken’s leadership, Presence Resurrection Retirement Community received several perfect assisted living annual surveys by the Illinois Department of Public Health,” said Debra Valkenberg, chief nursing officer, Ascension Living.

“One of the highest recognitions of quality service for a healthcare facility is to receive is a Deficiency-Free State Survey from the Department of Public Health. Ken always has his team ready to impress the surveyors during the unannounced annual on-site inspections. Because of the intensity of the survey process, a facility must truly excel to receive a deficiency-free State survey outcome. And, his team continuously excels.” 

Kolich has worked with older adults for over 30 years. He started his career in the senior living industry as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home. After obtaining his nursing home administrator license, Kolich worked in the skilled nursing facility setting for many years before transitioning to become a retirement community leader.  

“Ken exemplifies Ascension’s core values of service to the poor, reverence, integrity, wisdom, creativity and dedication,” Karlin said. “He is an inspiration to our team and I am privileged to call him a colleague.” 

About us 
Ascension Living, based in St. Louis and part of Ascension, is a mission-driven senior living provider deeply connected to our Catholic faith that cares for the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of all individuals we serve. Our Mission calls us to provide spiritually centered, holistic care to seniors, particularly those most in need. We offer a wide range of programs tailored to meet the unique needs of older adults. Regardless of everyone’s stage in life, our goal is to provide seniors with opportunities designed to make their lives joyful, enriching and satisfying. With communities in 11 states and the District of Columbia, our ministries are continually developing and adopting new best practices in care that enhance the experiences of our residents, program participants and patients. Learn more at 

Ascension operates more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 21 states and the District of Columbia, while providing a variety of services including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, facilities management, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization. 

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Ascension Living

12250 Weber Hill Road

St. Louis, MO 63127


Phone: 314-729-3500