Brenda J. Bacon, President/CEO, Brandywine Living was named Women of Excellence for Business Excellence by SJ Magazine.
Where some people see obstacles, Brenda Bacon only sees opportunities.
“If there was a door closed, I kicked it open,” says Bacon. “I’ve always been a big believer that you can do amazing things to change people’s lives when you take control of the agenda, plan and creativity.”
When Bacon founded Brandywine Living more than two decades ago, she harnessed that energy and created a business that would transform families and the entire senior living industry. Today, the company is more than 2,500 people strong, with 29 communities in six states.
“I wanted to build a company where I could surround myself with smart, compassionate, driven people. We raised $65 million of private equity money,” says Bacon.
“My eye is always on what I ultimately want to get to, and I get a great deal of pleasure out of new ideas. It’s not a job for me – it’s a passion and a calling.”
That business acumen has earned Bacon a seat on a number of high-profile boards of directors, including FTI Consulting, Argentum, Rowan University and Hilton Grand Vacations.
In the 1990s, Bacon served as the chief of management and planning under Gov. Jim Florio, where she used her role to champion healthcare and welfare reform in New Jersey. She was then tapped to join the Department of Health and Human Services transition team for then-incoming President Bill Clinton, where her reform at the state level became the model for future national reform.
“I desperately believe that access to quality education and healthcare is the key to the quality of one’s life,” says Bacon. “They define every person’s ability to take advantage of opportunities.”