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Employee Spotlight: Elio Harmon

Recent News | February 6, 2024

A headshot of Elio Harmon, Director of Strategic Programs at National Church Residences.

National Church Residences is proud to serve tens of thousands of seniors every day – and we only plan to grow that number. Our goal is to serve more than 100,000 seniors by 2030, and part of that process involves forging strategic partnerships, acquiring businesses, and developing strategic projects. 

Fortunately, people like Elio Harmon are helping to make that growth possible. As Director of Strategic Programs, Elio is no stranger to scaling projects. He currently oversees outreach and marketing for SeniorSelect, a collaboration between National Church Residences and Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) after years of taking on new challenges. 

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

While Elio is actively focused on supporting seniors’ health and wellbeing, he never planned on working with older adults. His original focus was on finance and banking, but the financial crisis back in the late 2000s and some advice from a mentor prompted an unexpected turn into a new industry.

“There’s one industry in America that’s recession-proof and that’s healthcare,” Elio said. “My mentor at the time owned a home health agency, and that’s how I got into this world.”

Elio served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for his mentor’s agency, and the work he did there caught the attention of other entrepreneurial-minded individuals – including Matt Kehlmeier, National Church Residences’ Vice President, Community Relations. 

After some recruiting, Matt convinced Elio to join the organization as Director of Provider Relations. Elio was tasked with growing National Church Residence’s home health and hospice services. He did this by developing new referral sources and relationships with skilled nursing facilities, physician offices, and other strategic partners. After helping scale that aspect of the business, it was time for a new challenge.

Growing the SeniorSelect Center

By 2021, Elio’s knack for expanding programs within National Church Residences caught the attention of Jacob Swint, Vice President, Strategic Growth and Operations Support. National Church Residences was in growth mode and Jacob needed someone with an entrepreneurial bent and ability to navigate new projects. Elio was that person.

“The idea was that when we launched something, I was going to test pilot it and see if the project had legs,” Elio explained. “I would hopefully scale it and move onto the next project or have the option of leading the program for the long term.”

The priority project when Elio started his new position just so happened to be the SeniorSelect Center. Elio is focused on growing the SeniorSelect Center, a primary care practice for Medicare eligible individuals in the Northland area of Columbus. Unlike traditional practices that get paid regardless of whether people get better, SeniorSelect follows a value-based care model that relies on positive outcomes.

“America has a lot of seniors that deal with chronic conditions as they age, and that’s getting very expensive to care for,” Elio said. “Right now, a doctor could have a patient with multiple hospitalizations and recurring complications and only the senior would suffer from those consequences. At SeniorSelect, we’re incentivized to prevent those cascading events and help people get better.”

In addition to truly focusing on improving seniors’ wellbeing, SeniorSelect is a major boon for the Northland community. Northland is one of the most diverse areas in the city but lacked primary care options for seniors in the community. The SeniorSelect Center helped bridge that gap. Between the addition of Salem Village, a new affordable senior housing community, and the future prospects of SeniorSelect, Elio is excited to help even more seniors in Northland live happy, vibrant, socially engaged lives.

“Exponential Satisfaction”

There are a variety of reasons why people end up working with seniors, but one common answer is the satisfaction of supporting older adults. Elio may not have originally planned to spend his career in the senior healthcare space, but he quickly discovered how much he enjoyed working with older adults and the rewarding nature of his profession.

“The level of fulfillment that you get from helping people, it feels amplified when you’re helping an elder,” Elio said. “There’s exponential satisfaction helping people who are vulnerable and in need of help and you go home feeling good about your day. In our society, that’s a population that often gets forgotten.”

Elio has also come to appreciate his switch from banking to healthcare because of the importance of his work. According to him, there’s no bigger place to have an impact than in healthcare for seniors because people can effectively build the type of support they’ll be able to receive in their golden years.

“Let’s say that you’re working in construction,” Elio said. “You’re building houses that other people want. If you work in healthcare, whatever we build today is what we will experience tomorrow. It’s what we do at National Church Residences – we’re building the housing we’re going to live in and the healthcare we’re going to experience when we get older.”

That ability to shape the future is especially appealing for someone who likes building new opportunities, both inside and outside of work. When he’s not working at SeniorSelect, Elio still taps into his entrepreneurial side with 614Startups, a podcast where he interviews startup founders, investors, and ecosystem influences in the Columbus area. He also has aspirations that span across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Back in 1992, Elio’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Liberia, eventually settling in the Columbus area for better work opportunities. Someday, Elio would love to go back to Liberia and be a farmer, business owner, and philanthropist. Until then, Elio is happy to be husband, father, son to an aging parent – along with continuing his mission of growing SeniorSelect.

“What I discovered after I started at National Church Residences is that this is a culture where people want to build their career,” Elio said. “I would meet people who would say ‘I’ve been here for seven years,’ ‘I’ve been here 17 years,’ or ‘I’m retiring in two years.’ That made me feel like this is where I want to be long term, because it’s constantly reinforced that you’re valued, that your work matters, that you’re supported, and you make great friends with the people you work with.”

Looking for a job where you can make an impact in your community? View our senior living job opportunities and start your next career.

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.