Danica McGuire said her title has changed but her purpose has not.
McGuire was named the new executive director for Ventana by Buckner in late May, the first high-rise Life Care Continuing Care senior living community in Dallas. McGuire had been the associate executive director.
Ventana’s previous executive director, Chuck Childress, is now the director of operations for Buckner Retirement Services, the faith-based, nonprofit senior living provider that operates Ventana.
“Ventana is a completely unique senior living community, not just in Dallas but in the country, and I am honored to step into the role of executive director,” McGuire said in a release. “I want Ventana members to know that while I am proud of how our community has grown during its first year and a half, I will not be complacent. We will exceed your expectations and redefine hospitality through the experiences, services and culture we provide you.”
“Danica has already established herself as an integral part of Ventana’s leadership team,” said Buckner Retirement Services Vice President and COO Brian Robbins. “Danica has a servant’s heart and empathetic nature. Those traits combined with her ‘get-it-done’ personality quickly earned the trust of members and associates, and it’s why we know the community is in great hands.”
McGuire said she intends to elevate hospitality through experiences, service and culture. The work continues to evolve, she said, and that is part of the challenge of doing it well.
“So many things have changed during my time working in the senior living industry. One example that comes to mind is when I started working in a skilled nursing care area, we were able to work directly with traditional Medicare,” she told Dallas Express. “Through the years, managed care companies have jumped on board. This alone changed the focus of short-term rehab, from being about what people really needed to get better to how quickly can we transition them home.
“At Ventana, we are focusing on healing and the needs of the senior, and we are remaining creative in order to provide true quality care to aging seniors. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to constantly learn from others that have dedicated their careers to this field of health care, as it is truly ever-evolving.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges, she said.
“In the world of long-term care, we are already restricted. COVID added to these existing restrictions, forcing individuals in this industry to truly think outside of the box,” she said. “I am beyond thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization, like Buckner Retirement Services, and to have the opportunity to lead our Dallas community, Ventana by Buckner. We never wavered from the focus of providing quality care to those we serve, while taking care of our associates as well.”
Her favorite part of the job is working with people from all walks of life, she said. What is the most difficult?
“The same thing that I love most is also the most challenging,” she said. “Working with people from all walks of life means you have to remain flexible and empathetic, as needs change based on the person.
What do residents want and need?
“I believe what members at Ventana want most are time and good communication,” she said.
McGuire said the faith-based mission of Buckner and Ventana is a perfect fit for her.
She began her career as a social work intern and discovered working with and helping seniors was a passion for her. She rose to become an assisted living director, activity director, marketing director and assistant administrator. McGuire was hired as administrator with the Bivins Foundation in her native Amarillo in 2010.
“I have worked in senior living throughout my entire career,” she said. “And I have been beyond fortunate to work for companies that are passionate about senior living. The Lord exposed me to atmospheres that I completely bought into, and I believe when you become fully invested the way I have, this work becomes more than a job. It becomes a mission and is a part of you.”
Ventana includes adjacent 12-story towers housing 189 independent apartment homes, including one-, two- and three-bedroom options and ranging from 950 to 2,000 square feet. There is underground parking, spacious common areas, modern wellness and fitness centers, heated indoor pool, salon and spa, movie theater, rooftop garden, multiple patios and more.
Care options include assisted living, nursing care, memory care and a rehabilitation component.
Buckner Retirement Services Inc. is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas.
Its aim is to enhance the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. It is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 350,000 people each year in Texas and six countries worldwide.
McGuire, 38, earned a Bachelor of Arts in social work/sociology from West Texas A&M University and a master of science degree in long-term care, senior housing and aging services from University of North Texas. She obtained her nursing facility administrators license in 2011.
McGuire and her husband, Dr. Justin McGuire, live in Midlothian with their daughters Gracyn, Finleigh and Curri and three dogs. They enjoy camping, fishing, skiing, and anything involving water.