Leading By Example: Kate Ponto is more than just a director at an aging services community, but someone who teaches people every day

They say not all managers are great leaders.

For Kate Ponto, that could not be further from the truth. She is an excellent leader in and around the community at Acts Retirement Life Communities, and she just so happens to be a manager – Director of Rehabilitation to be exact.

Ponto has spent the last 18 years working in senior services and the last four at the Lima Estates branch of Acts, and in these four years her bosses and fellow team members have seen her grow into the manager and leader she is today, and it is easy to see why she was chosen for the LeadingAge PA 2022 Manager of the Year Distinguished Service Award.

Ponto just has a heart and a passion for the aging services field, and she makes a huge impact on the Acts community.

“I find the older generation inspiring as they have a lifetime full of wisdom and grit,” she said. “It brings me great joy to work with them as we learn from each other. I appreciate their perspective. I enjoy their jokes and advice to cherish the simplicities of life. Being able to incite energy, nurture agelessness and enable someone to thrive into their older years is a blessing.”

This mindset is one of the many great reasons why she is so deserving of this award.

Ponto works hard to ensure the wellbeing of all her residents, and she is constantly working on ways to bring out their optimism and sense of self-worth. She has such a positive outlook on life, and she wants the same for her residents.

“She has been able to increase residents’ rehabilitation success while increasing revenue, as well as building and managing an incredible team,” Executive Director Meghan McGeoy said. “Prior to Kate joining Lima Estates, we had contracted therapy services. Her experience, creativeness, enthusiasm and willingness to always have the residents strive for the least restrictive environment has contributed to the success of our in-house programs.”

Rehabilitation is something that is never easy to go through, but with someone like Ponto at the helm, it can become a whole lot easier. She is very hands-on with the residents and constantly works to ease the process for them, and this is noticed by everyone all around her.

“Kate is an incredible role model, and she goes above and beyond in the quality of care and services,” McGeoy said.

To Ponto, her residents are not merely customers in a sense, but instead they are individual people who each have different needs and mindsets, and being able to understand their struggles and their virtues is important. She shows true genuineness with each resident and she sees each one as a unique individual, and this helps make her the leader she is.

Ponto wants what is best for all her residents as well as all her coworkers, and she is never shy on offering advice. She has many skills in which she does not let go to waste, and she is always willing to bring out the skills each of her fellow team members possess.

“Kate Ponto has been a strong, committed leader and role model to the rehab department at Lima Estates,” physical therapist Karen Maher said. “She exhibits a strong commitment to not only the rehab team but the entire Lima community. She has been involved in all aspects of helping maintain our department, whether it is supporting our therapists by offering mentoring or just listening and offering advice or being a liaison between rehab and other departments.”

When you need an ear to listen, Ponto is there for you. When you need someone to support you and give you advice, Ponto is there for you. When you need a mentor and someone to look up to, Ponto is there for you.


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She is not only an excellent leader and manager but an amazing role model, and this is what sets her above the rest. Ponto brings out the best in everyone, and the Acts community is better off for having her around.

“Kate exhibits outstanding leadership skills through her guidance in our department and community programs,” fellow team member Katie Mullen said. “Not only has she trained five new staff members in less than a year, but the patience she demonstrates and enthusiasm in which she teaches and presents herself is contagious.”

What more can be said about Ponto than she is a natural born leader? She is appreciated by so many people around her, and she is a difference maker wherever she goes.

“Her heart and dedication to the residents is so strong, respected and admired by all,” McGeoy said. “We are very thankful that she shares so much of herself with us.”

And on top of it all, McGeoy said that Ponto has been serving as the Director of Rehab at Lima’s sister community as well. Talk about giving it your all!

She does not just talk the talk, but she walks the walk when it comes to wanting what is best for her residents and her community. She is a tireless worker who is willing to take on any challenge that presents itself, and words cannot express how thankful the Acts Retirement Life Communities are to have Ponto in their midst.

“Kate’s clinical and leadership skills make her an exemplary manager,” Occupational Therapist Donna Boyle said. “She exhibits the ability to simultaneously meet the needs of our residents, their families and all team members. Kate’s open mindedness, transparency and non-judgmental attitude place others at ease, which fosters an atmosphere of altruistic teamwork.”

“Kate Ponto brings an energy to Acts that is much needed, and she lights a fire in each of us to go above and beyond our job duties to serve our residents,” Mullen added. “Residents and staff alike respect and admire her character and consider it a true blessing that she is part of this community.”

It is clear Ponto is well-respected by everyone at Acts, and they could not imagine the community without her. She is loved and admired, and very much appreciated, and her fellow team members are thankful for the things they have learned from this great leader.

Congratulations, Manager of the Year. You deserve it!leading by example

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