Dr. Mike Strouse has been GoodLife’s CEO for more than 35 years and along the way has relied on a diverse and capable team to help drive GoodLife’s operations and outreach initiatives. For the past decade, Mike has committed to developing talent through a unique mentoring program that has produced some of GoodLife’s current leaders, including our Executive Director of Kansas Services, our Chief Talent Officer, our Director of Financial Reporting & Budgets, and more. Specifically, GoodLife’s Executive Administrator (a role that reports to and is mentored by the CEO) is given the opportunity to uniquely develop and hone professional skills from the perspective of the leadership team, while also delivering administrative support to enhance our growth, outreach, and service development.
In March, Mindy Mihalchik was invited to serve as GoodLife’s new Executive Administrator and we couldn’t be more excited to see how her talents and passion will support GoodLife in the years to come.
Mindy, how long have you been with GoodLife, and how did you come to join the team?
I have had the honor to be with GoodLife for three and a half years. Just before I found GoodLife, I was living in Colorado and pregnant with my second child, but Kansas is my home and I was eager to move back to Lawrence! As I started my job search, my heart was taking me back to the I/DD world. I applied for the position as Douglas County Neighborhood Network Site Director on a Tuesday and by that evening Yolanda (GoodLife’s Chief Operations Officer) emailed me that the opportunity was closing on Friday, and invited me for an interview. I left Colorado on a Wednesday morning at 3:00 am to get in front of an approaching snow storm. My family thought I was a bit nuts, but I took a leap of faith. When I met Yolanda and the team, I fell in love. Then I got to meet some of the residents and they stole my heart. Yolanda offered me the position and our move back home began. I am now a lifer with GoodLife.
Tell us a bit about your previous work experience. What drew you from your previous passions to GoodLife?
I started working with individuals with disabilities as a house parent for 6 years during college. Then my practicum unexpectedly placed me in the aging world, which stole my heart. I previously had the pleasure of opening an independent living facility in Lawrence; I was also a social worker for a nursing home and served as the Director of Admissions at a continuum of care facility. Then my passion took me to the hospice world. It sounds strange to have a passion for hospice but being part of a resident’s (and their families lives) during such a pivotal time was unique and I cherished that opportunity.
Tell us a bit about your position now. What are you working on?
Right now I am mostly learning the ins and outs of GoodLife under the mentorship of Dr. Strouse. I am learning so much about the bigger picture and how GoodLife serves other providers across the nation. We are refining and expanding upon our current service models to further support our consulting branch, GoodLife U. I get the pleasure of serving as a point of contact for GoodLife U partners and providing exceptional service and support at every touchpoint. I am also lucky to be a part of the team that’s building a model for the Neighborhood Network that we can replicate in other states. Ultimately, my goal is to support Dr. Stouse and the leadership team in project management and progression of our strategic growth.
What is the most challenging part of pivoting to this new role?
I have been a licensed social worker for 12 years on the front line with residents and their families. This is the first time I took on a role where I do not see the residents and their families on a daily basis and I miss that a great deal.
What impact have GoodLife’s programs and initiatives had on your life and those in your family?
This hits close to home. During a year of change for me and my family, GoodLife wrapped around me and my kids. I was part of the Neighborhood Network, but I was also a Professional Family Teacher for an amazing resident. My kids to this day call him uncle. I will never forget the experiences I have had with Neighborhood Network and as a Professional Family Teacher. I have seen people’s lives change in both programs and across GoodLife. My kids beg to go hang out with the residents at the Neighborhood Network on a weekly basis. These residents impact our families and that is true community.
What is unique about working with GoodLife?
I have never worked for a company like GoodLife. Yes, everyone probably says that, but GoodLife is so unique. GoodLife is ahead of the game by a decade with how innovative it is. This company has one of the most supportive boards I have ever seen, incredible longevity of staff (like our CEO, CFO, and COO who have been here collectively for more than 100 years), amazing partnerships (including with the University of Kansas), incredibly strong teams at our sites who have converted programs into family units, and I can honestly say that the focus is always on the residents and what’s in their best interest. GoodLife came together like a unit during COVID to support everyone including staff, and GoodLife is always innovating with our technology that supports our staff and residents. Supporting staff and residents is critical to our mission at GoodLife!
Why are GoodLife’s outreach initiatives important?
Goodlife is 10 years ahead of the rest of the country!
We are so lucky to be part of GoodLife and now it’s time to share all the results of our research and years of hard work through GoodLife University. We all work hand-in-hand on this. We can help change the world one initiative at a time, just like we have done here in Kansas.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
Some exciting potential partnerships are coming down the pipeline that will forever change and support our company (and many others). I am excited for this chapter of GoodLife and it’s time to move on from the COVID chaos and back to our mission to make a meaningful difference. I am excited to help continue to refine our current models and build stronger relationships but also be on the right track to grow our vision and help other providers across the nation with GoodLife U.
What are you most excited about in your new position?
This is super easy! I get to be mentored by Dr. Mike Strouse. That is not something you get to say everyday. Everything happens for a reason and this was a huge opportunity to learn about every level of GoodLife from the ground up. Dr. Strouse said, “We are going to need trapeze artists, Mindy, but right now we are building the tent; how do you feel about helping us put the tent up?” This was simple for me, as I have a strong connection with GoodLife and its mission. I am honored to have the opportunity to be Mike’s Executive Administrator and I am blessed to get the opportunity to learn from the leadership team and better understand all the inner workings at GoodLife. It takes a village and everyone’s role is so important at GoodLife. I appreciate every single colleague here and am honored to be a part of GoodLife.
Our team is constantly growing and we are proud to be able to attract impressive talent to our GoodLife family! Visit our careers page to submit your application and join us in our important mission to make a meaningful difference! Also stay tuned for more information about GoodLife U’s growth plans in the coming months and be sure to subscribe to our monthly e-news so the updates come straight to your inbox.