During the last 34 years, Janet Lorenzon built a legacy at Artman – a legacy rooted in her deep love of people. Her compassion, patience, and the authentic friendships she formed are a testament to her character. This month, Janet is retiring to spend more time with her family, travel and to pursue other ventures.
Her calling in senior living began while she was a student at Penn State. During the summers and holidays, she worked as an occupational therapy aide. After graduating with a degree in therapeutic recreation, she worked with several organizations providing care to older adults, including the Lutheran Home in Germantown where she first met Luanne Fisher, currently the President and CEO of Liberty Lutheran.
After taking time off to spend with her children when they were young, Janet decided to re-enter the workforce. Her first call was to Luanne, at that time executive director of Artman. Luanne was looking to hire a director of therapeutic recreation.
Janet recalled, “Those many years ago, when I reached out to Luanne, I did not know how fortunate the timing was. But it was timing that worked out so well for me.”
“Working with Luanne means you are part of a caring, quality organization,” she added. “People have always felt that when they walk through Artman. I’ve heard countless times ‘there is just something special about Artman. You can feel it when you walk in – it just feels like a good place’.”
What started as a part time position at Artman evolved into full time work where Janet oversaw student interns. Over the next 15 years, her leadership skills would successfully steer her through several roles, culminating as executive director starting in 2012.
As I reflect on my career, I feel especially proud when Artman won The Philadelphia Inquirer’s ‘Top Workplace in the Delaware Valley Award’ for midsized companies. I vividly remember receiving the phone call and the subsequent celebration we had with our staff and residents. Artman was featured in a special section and our philosophy of caring and compassion was highlighted. It was truly an honor.Janet Lorenzon
She reminisced, “I have made lifelong relationships with the amazing people who work (and have worked) here – friendships that I know will continue long after my retirement. The staff at Artman not only care for the residents we serve, we also care for one another. We try and live the motto ‘the most important customer is your co-worker’. I will miss that comradery and I will miss the residents.”
“As I reflect on my career,” Janet revealed, “I feel especially proud when Artman won The Philadelphia Inquirer’s ‘Top Workplace in the Delaware Valley Award’ for midsized companies. I vividly remember receiving the phone call and the subsequent celebration we had with our staff and residents. Artman was featured in a special section and our philosophy of caring and compassion was highlighted. It was truly an honor.”
Janet was known for hiring great people and giving them what they needed to succeed. She was a role model for how to be a team player. It’s no wonder that the Artman team she’s built is one of the strongest in senior care.
Her staff concurs. “Janet was a true, professional leader,” shared Mary Gorman who’s worked with her for 27 years. “She has always been fair and honest, and willing to jump in to help whenever and wherever she was needed – even when that meant driving the Bobcat to remove snow. We all admire her collaborative leadership style.”
Lasting Achievements: The Liberty Way
One of Janet’s greatest achievements was leading Artman through a philosophical and cultural shift in resident care called the Liberty Way. She believed that this change would enrich the lives of residents and preserve their dignity.
“I have always believed in the importance of a person-centered approach to care and the importance of resident choice,” Janet said. “I have heard people say that they’d rather die than move into a nursing home. We worked hard at Artman to change that image. We wanted to move away from the medical model to cultivate a warm and welcoming place that feels like home.”
When COVID-19 hit, Janet was a warrior, fighting for residents, families and staff. When state regulations required Artman to temporarily halt visitations, she and her team did everything that they could to keep residents engaged and connected to loved ones.
“Many times I have left my office to sit with our residents, and sitting with them helps remind me why I chose this path,” Janet recalled. “During our pandemic staffing challenges, I had the opportunity to again provide hands-on care by feeding residents who needed assistance, cooking breakfast and washing dishes. It was a gift to be able to serve.”
Dana O’Donnell will replace Janet as executive director at Artman. “Janet has been my mentor, supporter and my friend,” she shared. “I have big shoes to fill in my role and can only hope to achieve the results that Janet has. Janet will be missed and it is an honor to continue her legacy at Artman.”
In her parting words at her retirement celebration, Janet concluded, “The thought of retiring is very bittersweet. I do love Artman and Liberty. I love our staff and residents. I’ve enjoyed a fulfilling career and I feel proud of what we accomplished, the friends I made and hope will continue. I wish you all the very best!”
Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Janet! Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to Artman and to Liberty Lutheran.