Meet Our Executive Director: Sheila Bogen

Meet Our Executive Director: Sheila Bogen

From left to right: Anne Marie “Raclyn” Cauinian, RN, Director of Nursing; Sheila Bogen, Executive Director; Liza Steinfeld, former Healthcare Administrator; and Efrat Dallal, Chief Marketing Officer.

Get to know our incredible Executive Director, Sheila Bogen

As a first-generation child of survivors, Sheila Bogen, Selfhelp’s Executive Director has a special connection to Selfhelp: “The mission of The Selfhelp Home immediately resonated deep within me,“ Sheila says.

Sheila’s mother was a refugee from Berlin and left with her family, her parents, and three other siblings in May 1939. They were lucky enough to get a distant relative in England to sign an affidavit for them to come to the country, settle, and make a life there. Sheila says, “My parents taught us something which I carried through my whole life. And that is to love every Jewish person.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to take care of our elders. Especially at Selfhelp. For me, it’s simple, I try my hardest to bring in the very best staff to give our residents the very best life. What people remember is how you made them feel, it’s the people that create the memory and our job, every single employee, is taking care of people.”

Sheila greets the management team every morning at 9:15 with a “stand-up” meeting, a concept she brought with her leadership several years ago. Now done on Zoom after the pandemic, “It’s a check in with each other every day and holds us all accountable.” Sheila leads with the motto “Treat every resident as if they are your grandparents or parents. Every decision you make should be preceded by…is this decision the best one for the residents?”

Meet Our Executive Director: Sheila Bogen
Meet Our Executive Director: Sheila Bogen

Sheila has a lifetime career in senior care, has owned her own nursing homes and grew up in the hospitality business. Growing up in England, her family owned a deluxe Kosher resort hotel; she understands the importance of providing excellent service and making people feel good.

Outside of Selfhelp, Sheila enjoys spending time with her family, her 4 children, her husband of 49 years and many grandchildren. “I met my husband, who’s a Chicagoan, in Israel. It was an old-fashioned shidduch, a boy-meets-girl-by-matchmaker-match.” Sheila describes her first meeting with her husband, “I found him ok at first, and by the third date, I knew I was going to marry him. Four days later, he proposed. We were married three months later in London, then settled in Chicago and every day has been wonderful together.”

Sheila says her biggest challenges right now are balancing time, and staffing. “There are frustrations in any job, and I am always running. I have a to-do list every morning, and there are very few days I get through the list. So that pressure, and there’s always pressure, and it keeps me on my toes. It’s like juggling balls in the air.” Sheila credits having a strong management team that gets her through the day. What’s important for Sheila is to let her staff know that she can’t do this alone, “No one person can do this. I have the support and the help of a talented and dependable team, and everyone that works here.”

Asked what the most important thing is to survive in an environment like this, she says “humor and attitude.”

Sheila’s would love to extend Selfhelp’s services into the community, renovate the lobby, fill the house with happy residents, and improve the benefits we offer employees to make Selfhelp a competitive place to work.

“There is more work to do here, the pandemic set us back a bit, but we can and will recover.” Some things she feels proud of accomplishing so far, being the first community in the nation to ever receive Joint Commission certification for Assisted Living. Selfhelp also maintains a consistent 5-star rating with CMS, and that is a testament to the staff, their diligence and professionalism.

Sheila has a future vision for the home to extend its services into the community with a goal of expanding the reach of Selfhelp beyond our four walls and doing so in a variety of ways to improve the lives in the Selfhelp community and expanding the impact of Selfhelp.

Moreover, sharing her opinions on the impact of home nursing services in today’s world, Sheila stated, “We have known for some time that as the Baby Boomers age, the demand for health care workers would be stretched to the max, but no one anticipated a worldwide virus that would throw every country into turmoil and affect so many ordinary everyday events and families.”

Sheila explains some of the most substantial impacts of the pandemic are staffing within health care areas, especially in the senior care field, which arises from low wages for every level of care.

Our challenges as an organization are not unique to Selfhelp. The Medicaid reimbursement for Long-Term Care residents is woefully underfunded. Every state has its own axe to grind, but the challenge is even more significant in Illinois, which ranks third from the bottom of the nation’s reimbursement.”

For Sheila, it is about creating a legacy for Selfhelp:

“I see this community living on, past all our time, me included. And I want to make sure that the ground roots, that were planted so beautifully by the survivors, live on.”
Meet Our Executive Director: Sheila Bogen

From left to right: Benna Kessler, Director of Resident Engagement at Selfhelp; Monika Moyrer, PhD, U.S. Program Director Action Reconciliation Service for Peace; Sheila Bogen, Executive Director at Selfhelp; Julia Boecker, Selfhelp’s 23rd German Intern from Action Reconciliation Service for Peace.