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OT and Yoga, An Amazing Alliance

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Katie Schroeder-Smith, MOT, OTR/L has practiced occupational therapy for over 13 years after studying psychology at UNC Chapel Hill and receiving her Masters in OT at Nova Southeastern University. Katie is certified in sensory integration (SIPT) and has received advanced training in pediatric and therapeutic yoga, handwriting, and Therapeutic Listening. She has diverse experience with all ages from infants to adults in home-based, school-based, and clinic-based settings, as well as hospital and nursing homes. Katie sees patients for Baker Rehab Group as an independent contractor, which allows her to work for a number of different providers in a variety of settings.  Her contribution to the BRG OT network has been invaluable.


What do occupational therapy (OT) and yoga have in common?


First of all, to define occupational therapy, it is helpful to know that the “occupation” part actually comes from the verb: to occupy oneself, purposefully, meaningfully, and driven by ones own motivation and goals.  Dysfunction, occupationally speaking, could occur in any aspect of one’s purposeful life.


There’s physical dysfunction (perhaps a person is limited by chronic back pain, arthritis, a heart condition or a broken bone) and psychological dysfunction (depression, anxiety, dementia, autism, ADHD).


Dysfunction may even occur at a deeper level, where a person has lost motivation and goal oriented activity, or has perhaps been enabled by learned helplessness or perceived inability.  Dysfunction may result from a mismatch between a person and his/her environment.  Think of an elderly individual with severe arthritis and osteoporosis who lives in a 3-story row home with narrow doorways, or how about a child with ADHD who lives in a disorganized house without family support who frequently loses his homework.


Dysfunction can present itself in activities of daily living—think again of the arthritic woman who can no longer dress herself or carry things up and down the stairs, or the child with ADHD who cannot sequence his morning routine. It can present in work related tasks– the woman who has poor balance in standing to cook a meal for her family, the child who struggles to sit still or write a sentence in school; or in leisure tasks- the woman who cannot perform her favorite hobbies of needlepoint and gardening, the child who has difficulty participating in organized sports.


However, as the American Association of Occupational Therapy (AOTA, points out, OTs ask a client “what matters to you?” rather than “what’s the matter with you?”


When a person is not well for whatever reason, he/she often experiences a disintegration of body, mind and spirit, and what matters to that individual is not always readily apparent to even that person. The individual who suffered a stroke must now learn to function inside a body where he can only control one arm and one leg, struggling with basic skills such as rolling over in bed, using the toilet and brushing his teeth. Ask that person what matters to him now, and it’s not yet golf or returning to work; it’s simply walking, talking, and eating.


Yoga can be defined simply as “unity”. Unity of body, mind and spirit. As an OT, I can’t help but extrapolate that to unity of person and environment, unity of person and task, unity of person and person.  Yoga is a discipline, traditionally based in eastern philosophy. Occupational therapy, using principles, strategies and poses from this ancient holistic perspective, merges beautifully with the foundations on which the profession of occupational therapy was built. Looking at a person holistically, the OT with a yoga perspective will consider the following 5 tenets of yoga: relaxation, exercise, breathing, eating and positive thinking.


Relaxation, noticeably important in cases of anxiety or stress, is also very significant to recovering from a physical injury.  I haven’t met a person with an orthopedic injury who doesn’t tense up or compensate with other muscles. Yoga can help develop body awareness and coping strategies to relax the muscles that don’t need to work, and focus on working the ones that need it. Yoga can also help a child or adult with self-regulation, or learning how to find that calm alert state for optimal attention, focus, and social skills.


Exercise is perhaps the most obvious similarity between yoga and OT as a rehabilitation profession.  What is special to yoga however is even the most basic poses require the use of core muscles, those abdominal and spinal muscles that provide stability and alignment for all of life’s activities and movements. Yoga, as a form of exercise, can also be easily adapted to all ages, from infancy to the oldest of adults, and can be graded to the individual’s needs and abilities.


Perhaps one of the most significant contributions of yoga is its focus on breathing.  Learning proper breathing methods is critical to those with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, of course, but it is also crucial for both relaxation and exercise to properly occur.  Focusing on the breath allows one to be in the present moment, engaging in an occupation of choice.  Breathing techniques are also one of the most effective strategies for self calming, an area that many kids on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities struggle with.


Eating, as a vital activity of daily living is an area that OT traditionally focuses on with regard to independence, adaptation, meal preparation, or oral motor skills/ swallowing.  Using a holistic yoga perspective, which foods a person eats and how they regulate their eating patterns also becomes important.


Lastly, positive thinking seems like a no- brainer, for any professional looking to help and heal others.  Through the principle of non-judgment and use of strategies such as meditation and positive affirmations, yoga is a wonderful adjunct to OT as a client deals with frustration and patiently works towards his/her goals.


OTs use occupation as both and ends and a means. Simply stated, not only is the person working on a goal in one or more areas of his occupation (I.e. Putting a shirt on independently) but as a means of achieving that goal.


One of my favorite quotes about OT comes from a renowned OT, Mary Reilly: “Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health.”


There is more to occupations than activities, purpose, and meaning.  Occupations affect our health. What we choose to do, or not do, to occupy our time, profoundly influences our health. Occupations change and evolve over our lifetime, and are most definitely influenced by illnesses, traumatic events, or injuries that occur along the way.


My father was always an avid skier until he had a bad fall and broke his leg. Physically he could have returned easily to the sport after recovering, but his motivation to engage in this was severely changed by his traumatic experience. Luckily, he found other healthy occupations to replace this one.


Yoga can be a healthy, doable replacement for occupations that were unhealthy, impractical, or no longer enjoyable. Yoga can also be a therapeutic means in which to reach another occupational goal, for example improving posture to be able to sit upright to feed oneself, or to optimize focus in the classroom.  Last but not least, yoga can be a lifestyle change, in which it is integrated into daily life routines to positively influence health, decrease stress, and improve performance of occupations throughout the life span.


I did not even mention all of the research pointing to the benefits of yoga for health, various medical conditions, and in school age children, to name a few. Look for another post in the near future!

What They Don’t Teach You In OT School

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Theresa Davis is an independent contractor who provides occupational therapy services for BRG clients, as well as through other providers in Maryland.  Theresa has spent the majority of her career working the older client.  She has such great insight into the benefit of occupational therapy in the home health setting.

After working in various settings for 20 plus years as an Occupational Therapist, the one thing I have learned is the importance of being patient, caring and loving with our elderly residents.

There is so much we can teach our patients about being stronger, improving their endurance, increasing their hand dexterity, dressing themselves with less assistance, learning to walk better to use their bathrooms, etc… However there is so much they can teach us as well.

They teach us to listen better, to be empathetic and understand all the troubles they are having. This in turn allows us to find the best ways to motivate them.  The most important thing to most of them is that we care and that we are there to “listen” to them. As therapists, we sometimes undervalue our role and the importance of “touch” for this population. For many of them, they have been placed in a facility against their choosing in which their families either can’t or don’t come to see them, leaving them to feel both empty and abandoned.  I have to come to realize over the last several years the vast importance of empathy, hugs, smiles, asking how their day is going, and just providing the acknowledgement that I care about them and am invested in their well being. Even the residents that are not being seen by therapy services in a senior living setting still benefit from the acknowledgement and caring attitudes we give them.  We have several residents that come into our clinic just to be around us and talk.

Additionally, we need to help bridge the gap between the overworked caregivers- who may not understand the disease process of the cognitively impaired- and the residents who need so much more than basic care.  This population needs additional love, touch and empathy, even when their minds and bodies are failing them.  They can still understand a smile, a hug, and positive body language.  So, sometimes when we feel frustrated because the physical progress may not be as aggressive as we would like, we need to remember the positive impact we are having on our residents in other ways to improve their well being.

Washington Times: Frederick Commission Sees Need For Senior Park

Posted in The Baker Beacon

The Washington Times has featured our #simple4seniors project! Check it out:

Frederick commission sees need for senior park

 By JEN FIFIELD – Associated Press – Sunday, December 14, 2014

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) – Mike Long’s 98-year-old grandfather does not get much exercise.

Long, of Frederick, said he tries to get his grandfather to go on walks, but his grandfather will only go with his caretaker.

Often, the only walking his grandfather does in a day is in a hallway in their house, which he has counted is 27 steps long.

If there were a place they could go that is safe yet engaging, Long said he assumes his grandfather would be much more active.

Long, along with other members of the city of Frederick’s Parks and Recreation Commission, gave their support Dec. 9 for a new kind of park in the city that would provide mental and physical health activities for seniors.

Sue Paul, chief operating officer of Baker Rehab Group and an occupational therapist who specializes in dementia, is spearheading the effort to bring this type of park to Frederick…

Continue Reading…

Show your support for a senior park in Frederick by sending supportive emails to Frederick Mayor Randy McClement  – Click here to email him. Follow our progress on The Baker BeaconThe BRG Facebook page or searching #simple4seniors.

An Open Space & Place for Seniors

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Another fantastic editorial from the Frederick News Post on the SIMPLE Park for Frederick. The first commission meeting is next Tuesday, December 9!

Will you take 60 seconds to email Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation with your support? Email Roelkey Myers at

An Open Space & Place for Seniors

“A Frederick occupational therapist is set to pitch an idea to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, and we think they should listen.

As Frederick News-Post reporter Jen Fifield’s Tuesday story explored, Sue Paul is proposing that one of the city’s underutilized parks be transformed into space especially for area seniors.

The specific park Paul has proposed for the project has yet to be announced; we can think of several good candidates. Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Roelkey Myers worked with her to identify the best location.

We like this idea on several different levels. First, getting more use out of city parkland is a positive development. So is designing something especially for seniors’ mental and physical health… “

Continue Reading…

SIMPLE Park Concept Is Out of The Bag… Initial Feedback.

Posted in The Baker Beacon

By Sue Paul, OTR/L, COO

Although the senior park idea has rolled around impatiently inside my head for almost a year, it wasn’t necessarily easy to share. I have never stepped foot into local government before, and I had no idea what to expect once the idea went public.

Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people, with having little to no idea about the details of the project, seem to think that building an outdoor space for seniors makes sense.

The naysayers state:

  • “What’s wrong with seniors using the parks we already have?”
  • “The park is only usable part of the year.”
  • “What a waste of money.”
  • “Where are the parks for other disabled groups?”

Oh boy, where to begin?

The Big Picture

There is such a disconnect between our boxy, regimented beliefs in wellness and lifestyle that we forget that roaming the great outdoors is something our species was designed to do. The paradox is that while we have developed so many ways to ease the work requirement for survival, we have also painted ourselves into a corner of sickness, obesity, and immobility. While we have a solid handle on how to combat and prevent infectious diseases, lifestyle diseases are killing us off by the millions.

At this point, I could hop up onto my soapbox of chronic disease, fragmented healthcare, human-habitat disruption, polypharmacy, lousy nutrition, stress, and decreased socialization… and the hundreds of reasons why it’s cheaper to solve the problem of lifestyle diseases now than to kick it down the road, but I’ll save the pontificating for the pulpit.

Back to the Park

Evolutionarily speaking, it is ironic that we have to “build” natural spaces and make them accessible. But alas, we do.

Seniors and the “differently abled” will be more inclined to use the park system if the following amenities are available or, at the very least, considered:

  • Convenient parking- the point of going to the park is to exercise in it, not exercise before getting to it.
  • Bathrooms- because nature calls
  • Flat, smooth walking surfaces- for ease of movement for assistive devices and wheelchairs
  • Handrails, grab bars, non-slip surfaces- because no one wants to fall
  • Plenty of adapted seating- higher benches, arm rests, strategic locations
  • Easily engaged activities- premeasured distances, outdoor fitness equipment that is labeled and easy to use
  • Appropriate and beneficial equipment and activities- trust in the planners that the recommended structures and activities are not based on some ambiguous decision
  • Shelter and shade- from hot or inclement weather
  • Natural elements- because nature is good for the soul
  • Contained space- for the memory-impaired who need their freedom
  • Congregate space- for socialization

The infrastructure is just the beginning. Without participants, perhaps such a project would be a waste of money. But think about the future of our aging town- rising health care costs, fewer non-paid caregivers, and increasing isolation and depression. Then think about an investment in culture change, and a plan to lower the overall burden of an aging community. Endorsement for the park from a community who is able to see the bigger picture can lead to healthier citizens who can exercise actionable ideals.

It has got to start somewhere – With a physical, tangible space

Are we naïve enough to think that just because we build it, they will come? Heck no. But it has got to start somewhere visible and feasible- and be fueled by the pain and sacrifice of slicing skin into the game.

And as far as the park only being usable for part of year, you really don’t need to tell this Miami girl that the weather in Maryland is not always conducive or pleasant. But I will say this: y’all are one stoic and hardy breed. I have no doubt that most will exceed my threshold for cold weather tolerance.


Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context—a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”

- Eliel Saarinen

Show your support for a senior park in Frederick by sending supportive emails to the city’s deputy director of parks and recreation, Roelkey Myers  – Click here to email him. Follow our progress on The Baker BeaconThe BRG Facebook page or searching #simple4seniors.

The Origin Of The SIMPLE Park For Seniors

Posted in The Baker Beacon

By Sue Paul, OTR/L, COO

“We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.”  

-Frank A. Clark

Meet Jessica.  She is a 44-year-old mother of 2.  After her divorce, she and her boys moved in with her parents, Bill and Sandra.  Jessica works full time in a medical office Monday through Friday. 

At 83 years old, Bill has a host of orthopedic problems including an unstable knee that compromises his balance and standing tolerance.  He is fiercely independent and refuses to “take it easy” or give up any of his home management responsibilities including mowing the yard or washing the car.  Jessica has found Bill on the ground several times in the yard, and has asked him to stay indoors while she is at work.  Bill does not see the point in limiting his activities and thinks once he stops tinkering around the garage and yard, there will be no point in living.  He loves being outdoors.

Sandra has Alzheimer’s disease and is unable to do the tasks she used to do, like laundry, and the finances, and cooking dinner every night.  Sandra follows Bill around, even when he goes outside.  Sandra loves to walk, and has wandered off a few times through the neighborhood.  Bill, who doesn’t fully grasp the extent of his wife’s cognitive limitations, does not pay attention to his wife’s comings and goings.    

Jessica worries about what she will find each day when she returns from work.  Her mother’s sense of wellbeing seems to plummet each evening, when she paces and wrings her hands and repeats herself over and over.  Bill may be agitated as well, frustrated over his lack of physical strength and mobility, his wife’s odd behavior, and his confinement to the home.  But those findings, though challenging, are more acceptable than other scenarios she’s come home to:  Bill lying on the patio out back next to the watering can and Sandra no where in sight, having walked “to the bus stop to wait for her kids”.

Jessica tells me that she knows what her parents need.  They need socialization, and exercise, and to spend time outdoors.  We talk about options like adult day care or activities at the senior center, but there are financial challenges and resistance from her father that are seemingly insurmountable.  Jessica sometimes takes her mother to the mall after work to let her walk around and look at stuff.  But sometimes the mall is too crowded and over-stimulating, and leaves her mother more rattled after the experience.  Her father refuses to go even for the chance to get out and walk on level ground.  He says he hates shopping

“I am willing to take them places after work and on the weekends, but I really don’t know of a place that they will enjoy and that will accommodate their disabilities.”

I have been working as an occupational therapist in Frederick for over 15 years, and I have always been well aware of the lack of physical, usable, practical space for people who are trying to maintain or improve their health.  Although my passion has long been seniors and, perhaps even moreso, the cognitively impaired and their exhausted caregivers, I have always been aware of the lack of physical spaces where older adults can work on their own healthy objectives.

I meet Jessicas and Sandras and Bills every day.  I also meet frail older adults, people battling chronic disease, stressed out caregivers, recently hospitalized patients, orthopedically impaired, neurologically impaired, sensory impaired, mobility impaired, cognitively impaired, not-impaired-and-don’t-ever-want-to-be-impaired folks… Their ages vary from 40 to 60 to 80 to 100. I see these people every single day.  But do you know where I never see them?  In a public park.

That is because the park system caters to the healthy.  There are parks specially designed for skaters, joggers, baseball players, basketball players, tennis players, soccer players, toddlers, and dogs.  These public spaces, paid for with public funds, address the recreational and fitness goals of the healthy public.

I visualize a free and accessible outdoor space designed for all citizens.  And as Frederick ages, and the incidence of disease and disability increases, there will need to be shift in the decision-making process regarding the best use of park funds.

I don’t think there should come a time when a person ages out of the park system.  And a park for older adults shouldn’t evoke visions of an elderly man with a newspaper feeding pigeons from a park bench.

In my mind, a senior-focused park will encourage vitality, strength, wellness, and community.  It will address (from a therapeutic perspective) sensory integration, movement, proprioception, learning, and exercise (SIMPLE).  It will be a gathering place for people who want to take control over their circumstances, and commiserate on the challenges of aging and caregiving.

Although a senior park in Frederick would be unique to Maryland, the concept of senior-focused parks is not a brand new idea.  Parks with senior-friendly features already exist with impressive popularity in Europe and Asia, and are finally catching on in the United States.

I want to initiate a culture change in Frederick.  I want to provide opportunities for people to be accountable for their own health.  I want the infrastructure of the community to support and enable its citizens to have a better quality of life.

I want to put the words of Socrates to the test — ‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.’

Show your support for a senior park in Frederick by sending supportive emails to the city’s deputy director of parks and recreation, Roelkey Myers  – Click here to email him. Follow our progress on The Baker Beacon, The BRG Facebook page or searching #simple4seniors.

BRG Proposes Park for Senior Health for City of Frederick

Posted in The Baker Beacon

The benefits of a park in therapeutic setting for seniors are tremendous, but Frederick offers nothing like this…YET. We are partnering with the City of Frederick to try to bring a Senior park to Frederick! We will be chronicling the project here on the Baker Beacon.

What Can You do?

Flood Roelkey Myers inbox with supportive emails – Click here to email him.  Let’s do this!

Also check back here for updates on progress. The first commission meeting is Dec 9th! Also, in case you missed it, the project was featured in the Frederick News Post this week:

Park for senior health proposed for city of Frederick

By Jen Fifield

Sue Paul wants to show that playgrounds and parks aren’t just for children.

Paul, an occupational therapist and chief operating officer of Baker Rehab Group, hopes to partner with the city of Frederick to turn one of the city’s underutilized parks into a space especially for seniors.

It would have amenities for both older adults who want to keep their brains and bodies healthy, as well as caretakers or therapists looking for somewhere to take seniors with dementia.

Paul calls it the SIMPLE Park, as it will include features for Sensory Integration, Movement, Proprioception, Learning and Exercise.

For years, Paul said, she tried to think of how to provide this type of space on her own. Last spring, she turned to the city for help.

“(Seniors) have been paying into the park system for years, and there is nothing for them,” she said.

Continue Reading…

Spotlight on Excellence: Vennela Pulikanti, PT

Posted in Spotlight on Excellence, The Baker Beacon

If you are a resident, staff member, or family member of a resident at Sunrise Assisted Living in Montgomery Village, Maryland, then you already know what a great person she is.

For those of you who are not familiar with Vennela Pulikanti, allow us to enlighten you.

Vennela has been a physical therapist for over ten years, having a diverse background in pediatrics, sports medicine, acute care, skilled nursing, and geriatrics. She has specialized training in manual therapy.

But she is much more than a great clinician. As this month’s Spotlight on Excellence recipient, Vennela has earned recognition for many of the things she does above and beyond her role as physical therapist.

One of Vennela’s coworkers, Connie Mulloy, say it best: “She is extraordinary with the residents, but she’s also a remarkable asset at Sunrise Montgomery Village. She does so much more than just see clients. She come in on her days off just to see a resident. She helps in the building with anything and everything asked. I have even seen her helping clear tables at lunch while waiting for a resident. The staff love her. She’ll check out a wheelchair or walk a resident who asks for help. She does all of this cheerfully and sincerely.”

Vennela has a busy family life too. She has a husband named Kalyan, a daughter Shriya, and a son named Pranav.

“I enjoy being a home health therapist. As physical therapists, we make a very important connection between clients and community. Having a personal one on one time with client is very important for me. I also like flexibility that home health offers in terms of scheduling.”

Congratulations Vennela! You are a wonderful asset to Baker Rehab Group and you epitomize our Committed to Excellence motto. Thank you for all you do and for setting such a great example.

The Low Vision Low Down

Posted in The Baker Beacon

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

By Mary Schwartz, OTR/L

“We just can’t make your glasses any stronger.” To many individuals with low vision, this is a frequently heard statement from eye care professionals. It is estimated than one in four people over the age of 80 are affected by low vision. As the population ages and life expectancy increases, low vision has become the third leading cause of disability in older Americans. Most of us know someone whose life has been altered by severe vision loss. But few people know that there is something that can be done about it.

Low vision is defined as a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by eye glasses, medicine, or surgery that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities. The most common conditions are macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and vision loss from stroke.

People with severe vision loss have difficulty performing simple daily tasks that many of us take for granted. Reading medication bottles, writing checks, or setting the dials on the stove can be nearly impossible for someone with low vision, even with the use of corrective glasses.

While many of these conditions are irreversible, this does not have to mean a loss of independence or quality of life. If you are experiencing vision loss, the first step is to contact your eye care professional.  An ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat eye disease and may prescribe medications or surgery to address vision related conditions. An optometrist can diagnose eye disorders and prescribe glasses, low vision devices, or vision therapy. It is important to find an eye care professional that specializes in low vision. Your doctor may then recommend that you receive additional low vision training through a vision rehabilitation teacher or an occupational therapist.

Why Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists are rehabilitation professionals who are uniquely trained to help clients achieve the highest level of independence despite disability or impairment. Many occupational therapists now have specialized training in low vision. A low vision occupational therapist (OT) can evaluate the home environment, provide treatment, and teach compensatory strategies so that the client can use their available vision.  Recommendations may be made for assistive devices that can enable the person to remain in the home and perform daily activities independently. Low Vision OTs can also provide information on the many services and organizations available in the community.  Because occupational therapy is a skilled rehabilitation service, these services are typically covered through Medicare and other third party payers.

Most seniors have a strong desire to remain independent in their own homes, even with declining vision. With the appropriate modifications, this is a viable option for many. Increasing lighting, contrast, and improving organizational strategies are a few simple things that may enable someone to remain independent at home. Training in orientation and mobility can allow individuals to remain active in the community as well.

When standard glasses are no longer an option, optical devices can provide the needed magnification so that an individual can continue reading. High powered magnifiers and electronic readers now are able to magnify print up to 20x the original size. Additional devices such as talking glucometers, color identifiers, and large button cell phones are also available to those with low vision.  If vision loss has impacted you, remember that you are not alone and there are many options available to improve your quality of life.

 “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” - Michael Jordan

10 Simple Low Vision Tips:

  1. Use full spectrum or natural daylight bulbs to reduce glare and imitate daylight
  2. Remember to light up stairs, pathways, and walkways
  3. Consider goose neck style lamps which are best for reading
  4. Use a black felt tip pen on white paper when writing
  5. Avoid too much pattern on placemats and tablecloths
  6. Label buttons on appliances with bright stickers/raised dots
  7. Label medication bottles with large bold letters on top
  8. Color code household documents and papers
  9. Ask you bank about large print checks
  10. Consider audio books when reading is no longer an option

Mary Schwartz, OTR/L is a low vision occupational therapist with Baker Rehab Group in Frederick, Maryland and sees clients both in the home and within many local assisted living facilities.

Celebrating an Embarrassment of Riches

Posted in The Baker Beacon

By Sue Paul, OTR, COO

Yesterday, John and I hosted a luncheon honoring 12 employees and contractors who have been working at BRG for more than five years. The purpose was simple and heartfelt; let us break bread with those who have shown commitment to this journey.

Our intention, though sincere, was about as utilitarian as an empty wooden bowl. It was the warm, fuzzy ingredients that flung across the table – the tender words, the thoughtful nods, the face-splitting smiles, and the knowing winks – that filled the bowl with meaning. What a deeply satisfying meal.

Reflecting on each person – their gifts and their talents, their families and their passions – I can’t believe they chose us. I can’t believe how lucky I am to know them and to be part of their lives. I am smarter because of them. I work harder because of them. I have more laughs than cries because of them. I feel safer knowing that if my world blew up tomorrow, every single one of them would help me glue it back together.

These 12 people have endured the organic growing pains of an adolescent company. They have weathered the impetuous whims of an unstable market. They have consistently responded with optimism instead of thinly veiled disappointment. They have adapted to poorly executed brilliance and leaned into the learning curves. With nuances that only enhance our collective vision, they believe in the same things I believe. “Amazed” is not strong enough a word.

And whether or not you believe that leaders are born or leaders are made, I know now that leadership comes easy when personal truths align. Being a successful leader is a matter of trust and authenticity. If you say to someone, “Take my hand and follow me”, you are taking his and hers as well. What starts as leadership softens into partnership, and before you know it, you are a tight-knit family holding hands through high water. Thank you, Terrific Twelve, for teaching me that.

To all the fine people at Baker Rehab Group, you are an embarrassment of riches. You are the finest cache of diamonds in this profession. You are strength and intelligence and skill and compassion and curiosity and capability and gumption. John and I are so thankful that you chose to bless our little company with your talents.

The Baker Rehab Group Team

Bottom (left to right): Traci Levine, Danielle Kinnamont, Tina Snyder, Tracey Cannon, Mary Schwartz, Barb Wilson, John Baker
Top (left to right): Sue Paul, Tom Westwood, Lisa Eyler, Greg Adams, Kristy Cleaver, Pat Dahlen

The Terrific Twelve

  • Tracey Cannon
  • Tom Westwood
  • Traci Levine
  • Danielle Kinnamont
  • Lisa Eyler
  • Kristy Cleaver
  • Tina Snyder
  • Mary Schwartz
  • Pat Dahlen
  • Theresa Davis
  • Greg Adams
  • Barb Wilson
  • In Memoriam: Lisa Baker

See you all (and others!) next year!

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