Cassia in the News

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Sharon Wilson Honored in McKnight’s 2024 Hall of Honor

What characteristics make a great leader? 

Many would say kindness and compassion are at the heart of a strong leader. A leader’s dedication to treating everyone with respect and their belief in collaboration highlight their leadership qualities.

Some may suggest that great leaders stand out for their unwavering integrity. They also highlight their relentless pursuit of excellence, always seeking ways to improve through innovative methods.

Sharon Wilson, Cassia’s chief clinical and compliance officer, possesses these qualities and is indeed a remarkable leader.

We’re proud to celebrate Sharon’s recognition in the McKnight’s Women of Distinction 2024 Hall of Honor. This honor reflects Sharon’s compassionate leadership and steadfast dedication to service.

“All of us at Cassia are thrilled that Sharon Wilson has been selected for McKnight’s Women of Distinction Hall of Honor,” says Bob Dahl, president/CEO at Cassia.

“They recognize what we have known for many years: Sharon is an amazing leader in this field, she expects the highest standards of care and services for the people we serve and she has created a culture of ‘quality first’ in the Cassia organization. We celebrate with her this much deserved recognition.”

In 1980, after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology, Sharon embarked on a career in healthcare. She dedicated herself to faith-based missions and focused on aiding the underserved and at-risk populations.

Her journey began in New York City, where she provided support to the homeless and those struggling with mental illness.

By the mid-1980s, she decided to pursue becoming a licensed practical nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian School of Nursing. Following her graduation, she worked in a hospital and then as a floor nurse at Augustana Health Care Center, once again opting to serve those in need in an urban area.

Sharon’s career continued to advance at Augustana Care (now Cassia). She furthered her education with additional nursing/management degrees and moved into administration roles. These included roles such as infection control nurse, operations, director of quality improvement and chief clinical and compliance officer. 

Twenty years ago, as a champion of diversity and innovation, Sharon led efforts in the Philippines to promote an international nursing program.

In January 2024, Sharon traveled to Kenya alongside Cassia’s director of recruitment Sara Shore, representatives from LeadingAge MN and MN State Rep. Muhamud Noor. They worked to forge a partnership aimed at enabling Kenyan registered nurses to work in Minnesota’s senior living communities.

This initiative addressed the critical nursing shortage in the U.S. by exploring staffing solutions for the future. During her visit, the team engaged in discussions with Roseline Njogu, Principal Secretary, State Department for Diaspora Affairs, focusing on employment opportunities for nurses in Kenya.

In addition, Sharon oversees the clinical operations and compliance program for more than 40 communities at Cassia. These communities serve older adults in five states with quality independent and assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, adult day services, rehabilitation, hospice and home care services.

Sharon’s commitment to service and innovation continues to make a significant impact on the lives of older adults.

In addition to her leadership role at Cassia, Sharon has served on committees and task forces with LeadingAge MN and the Minnesota Department of Health. Her aim has been to improve care and services for older adults.

Cassia’s external awards committee said nominating her was an excellent opportunity to highlight Sharon’s exceptional contributions and leadership.

“Our awards committee worked hard to write the nomination letter, reaching far and wide for stories covering Sharon’s vast career. It was truly a labor of love. I think the Committee could sense how beautifully it was coming together, and that it was an award-winning nomination for a truly deserving leader in our industry,” says Aimee Robertson, I AM Cassia Director of Engagement and chair of the external awards committee.

“Sharon has spent her life serving those in need, and doing so with grace and excellence. She’s definitely one of the best clinical leaders in the business!” 

We are proud of Sharon’s induction into the McKnight’s Women of Distinction 2024 Hall of Honor. It not only celebrates her achievements; it honors her longtime dedication to service, leadership and innovation in healthcare.

Her story shows us how one person can greatly affect many lives with caring leadership and a drive for excellence.

We are encouraged to follow in Sharon’s footsteps, striving for excellence and innovation in our endeavors to make the world a better place.