Editor’s note: McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living are profiling the McKnight’s 2022 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 5 through Aug. 10. For additional McKnight’s Women of Distinction content, visit this page.

2022 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award winner Patricia G. Will, founder and CEO of Houston-based Belmont Village Senior Living, recently took the time to answer several important questions.

What are words that you live by?

“Mistakes make the best stories.” This is a more exciting version of “failures make the best teachers,” because when you can laugh at your mistakes, they’re teaching you a lesson — you can appreciate how far you have come along the way.

When I was raising early funding for Belmont Village, I took a plane to another city and forgot the materials I brought with me on the plane. I had to “wing” the fundraising pitch without any backing materials, and I still secured the funding! That was a learning experience “on the fly” that started from a silly mistake, but it all turned out well.

What has been the biggest surprise in your career?

You often hear older generations say millennials are “this” or “that” in a negative context, but their ideas and innovations are exciting. Over the past few years, Belmont’s own “millennial energy” has been the driving force for innovative ideas, such as our annual “Bright Ideas” competition, which solicits ideas from anyone in any role across the company. Winning ideas have led to advancements in all areas of our business, from improving technology to training programs to dementia education for families.

What advice do you have for people considering a career in or related to long-term care?

I cannot think of a sector with a greater demand curve over the next 30 years. Likewise, it’s really special to have a career where you can do well by doing good.

Who has mentored you over the course of your career?

Probably my greatest mentor was my mom. From the time I was young, she taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be — as long as I pursued it with dedication and persistence. 

When did you know that senior living was the right career for you?

It became clear when there was a personal and professional alignment established, meaning my experience and background in real estate development coincided with my mother-in-law developing Alzheimer’s. I searched and searched, and I didn’t find anything that would provide the kind of place that I would want to live in that also provided the kind of thoughtful programming, lifestyle and care tailored to her needs. I wanted to establish that kind of place with the advent of Belmont Village — the kind of place that until then, did not exist.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments?

Truth be told, I’d have to say first, my 40+ year marriage, my incredible sons, and now, at last, my grand-babies. I have worked throughout, and they have always provided the balance I needed to get through professional challenges.

Belmont Village is a dream come true, but it never would have happened without the support and nurturance of my family.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors include OnShift and PharMerica, and the Bronze sponsor is Reliant Rehabilitation. Table sponsors included Dreamscape, Gojo/Purell and Sound Physicians.

Visit these web pages to see lists of the 2022 honorees: Rising StarsVeteran VIPs , Hall of HonorLifetime Achievement Award and Spirit Awards.