Hospice leader Kalinowski announces retirement
After more than two decades at the helm of Hospice of the Piedmont, Leslie Kalinowski has announced plans to retire.
“I’m of an age that it’s probably time for me to retire,” said the 62-year-old Kalinowski, the president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization for 22 years. “I have grandchildren that don’t live in this area, and I want to be able to spend more time with them. My husband (Jim) and I want to do some traveling, too.”
Kalinowski’s successor, Trent Cockerham, begins work today, but Kalinowski will remain on the job for the next few weeks to assist with the transition of leadership.
Kalinowski took over Hospice of the Piedmont in November 1990 and has overseen major changes in the organization, including the relocation to its current location in 1995 and the opening of an inpatient facility, Hospice Home at High Point, in 2007.
“We certainly appreciate the outstanding commitment and vision Leslie has brought to Hospice and end-of-life care for the past 22 years, not just in the greater High Point area, but with important contributions on the state level as well,” said Margaret Thompson, chairwoman of the agency’s board of directors.
“She’s been such a strong leader for us. The respect of the community that our organization has is mainly due to her leadership.”
According to Thompson, the board spent several months searching for Kalinowski’s successor, sifting through more than 50 resumés and interviewing several candidates before choosing Cockerham.
“Trent is very bright, articulate, he has a lot of connections, and he has a strong background in longterm care,” Thompson said. “He’s also a strategic thinker. We think he’ll do a really good job for us.”
Cockerham has worked for Triad Medical Services — a Yadkinville-based company that provides longterm care services for seniors — for the past 15 years, serving as its chief operating officer since 2000. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and received a master’s degree in business administration from Pfeiffer University.
Kalinowski said leading Hospice has been a dream job for her.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with such amazing, compassionate and skilled people over the years, so 22 years has gone by pretty quickly,” she said. “It’s with mixed emotions that I’m leaving this job, but Hospice is going to be in great hands. The staff is so solid here. Trent’s walking into a great situation, and I’m looking forward to hearing the wonderful things that are going to happen.”
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