SenbridGe Next welcomed Vlad Volodarski as its first CEO guest for one of two Breakfast with the Boss events to kick start the new year. After guests had a chance to network and help themselves to food (no fireside chat is complete without s’mores cookies and macarons!), the crowd settled in to ask questions of Chartwell’s current CFO and incoming CEO, Vlad Volodarski. Vlad spoke about his journey to Chartwell, the senior living industry, and the meaning of mentorship, through the open question and answer forum moderated by SenbridGe Next’s Karen Vadasz.
Vlad’s career path began in Ukraine as a mechanical engineer, before he turned to accounting and real estate. His passion for seniors’ housing went unrealized until he entered the industry and began seeing firsthand how inspiring the residents were. Vlad praises them as Chartwell’s biggest champions and ambassadors, and as being the reason behind his commitment to Wish of a Lifetime, a foundation dedicated to making the dreams of seniors come true.
The senior living industry’s biggest challenge, according to Vlad, is fighting to destigmatize living in a seniors’ residence as Quebec has managed to do. As for his personal mentors, Vlad credits his mother, a former prima ballerina and champion skating coach, as an image of determination, as well as current Chartwell CEO Brent Binions and Tom Rothfischer from his early KPMG days. For the portion of each day that Vlad isn’t thinking about work, he enjoys spending time with his family in Algonquin Park.
WHAT ATTENDEES HAD TO SAY
Vlad was very authentic. He was personable and the experiences he shared on his career, leadership and vision for Chartwell was inspiring.
What we do is very integrative, and also needs to be rooted in authenticity. He modelled these qualities. Vlad reminded me of the best CEO I have worked with, who was similarly modest, yet direct, honest and genuinely respectful, and invested his time in removing obstacles so people and teams could get things done.
Vlad was relaxed and spoke at a personal level. I liked his recommendation on how to progress in a career. Do not say no. Accept new assignments.