Women’s History Month Spotlight: Martha Inman

Martha Inman has been the Assisted Living Activities Coordinator at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee for more than 27 years – and she’s loved all of it. She has been the bedrock of the Activities team for so long that she has created an entire philosophy around it. “The Activities team is called to go in two directions: To serve the residents when needed, and to be a peer and a friend when needed,” Martha says.

This month, while we honor Women’s History Month, it’s important to look at how our field has changed and the women who touch residents’ lives. In 2023, Martha was recognized for the many ways that she makes the residents’ lives engaging and enriching when she received the CEO Award from Chief Executive Officer Terry Rogers at our Annual Awards Banquet.

How do you feel that the landscape in your field has changed for women who are wanting to pursue a similar role/position?

Activities has always been a more female-centric part of the field of senior living. Today, however, we are seeing the opposite! We see more acceptance of men who want to seek these roles. We have to be enthusiastic and welcoming of them, too, when we get a wonderful man serving in the role.
We have also come a long way in finding people who put the experience of the residents first, and show each other respect and mutual understanding. As we have shifted away from a clinical emphasis to really emphasizing lifestyle, learning and engagement at any age and level of independence, we have had to build a stronger Activities team.

What do you think your field needs to be doing now to continue to advance women wanting to pursue a similar career?

I think we’re already doing what we need to do. Salaries have nearly tripled in my time in the field, which allows me to bring in those who are passionate – men or women – who have something to bring to the table, whether it’s crafts, or music or something else.

There have always been amazing women in leadership in our organization, and having a woman who can be your mentor is a real advantage for women entering the field today. I have been fortunate to have three mentors who are women leaders, Sandy Hugg, Shannon Sauls and Vicki Brown. Sandy taught me what our field is all about and to be a daring risk taker and to encourage me. Shannon came one year later, and as my supervisor, she was always encouraging and allowed me to try creative programming for our residents. Now I work directly for Vicki, and she is an amazing leader, as well as a former nurse and Director of Nursing (DON).

Westminster Oaks has over the years become a haven for many women who needed to get her place in the world, financially, and to move to a better place in their lives. We help our team members build strong lives and provide for their families. We advance women who want to come to the company and stay with the company, and we fulfill our Mission in doing so.

What advice would you offer to younger women who may be interested in pursuing a career in your given field?

Check your temperament and ask yourself if you want a true vocational mission or calling. It takes that to succeed in this job. You have to be in it for the thrill of seeing the impact that you make in enriching people’s lives, and bringing joy to their lives as the outcome of what you do. If not, it will simply be hard work and you will say that it is too much at times. I have a lot of faith in the Lord, and I think our work is a place where we can make sure people are here with joy and leaving with joy at the end of their lives.
Our job is to keep the residents enjoying the in-the-moment joy that fills their lives. They have moved to a point where the responsibilities, worries and fears are behind them. We re-enrich their lives with what we can bring them to remember, explore, create.

Can you share a memory of yours were you felt that the women that you were working with, stood together to overcome the challenges that are associated with being a woman in your given field?

We have been blessed that I’ve been here for 27 years, and had so many strong women in leadership, that we have not had that problem. Many of our senior leaders are women, many of our Resident Council leadership have come from Florida State or Florida A&M University and they are women, and they create a supportive environment and expect that environment everywhere. Westminster Oaks has always been a very supportive place for female team members, even if the field as a whole may not have always been supportive.

Honestly, I feel blessed to have had this experience.

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