A Lifetime of Friendship: Our Executive Director’s Journey Home

colorful flowers in flowerbed in front of a building

[Updated: January 11, 2022 | Published: August 22, 2018]

Rita Doherty didn’t become Friendship Village of Dublin’s executive director by accident. As a Dublin native, she grew up just a short walk from the campus and has always wanted to work for the community.

In fact, Rita’s first visit to Friendship Village of Dublin was when she was only four years old. Her grandfather would pick her up, and they’d spend the afternoon visiting his friends in the community.

“I have fond memories of eating endless ice cream in the dining room,” she said. “When I look back, I realize spending so much time with my grandparents at a young age really shaped the rest of my life — their wisdom and sense of fun was unmatched.”

As a student at Riverside Elementary, she also spent afternoons making crafts with colored construction paper and delivering them to residents in the health center. Several of her close friends even started their working careers in the Friendship Village of Dublin dining room.

“Another vivid memory was watching Friendship Village of Dublin in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” she said. “I remember waving at residents and knowing I wanted to give back to the community because it was such a big part of my childhood.”

After high school, Rita went on to get her bachelor’s degree in health services and long-term care administration from Ohio University. After graduating, she went to work for LifeCare Services (LCS), a senior living communities management company, and spent the next decade learning the ropes.

“Working at LCS gave me the opportunity to hone my leadership skills while working at communities across the country,” she explained. “But when I heard the executive director position at Friendship Village of Dublin opened, I knew I had to apply.”

A month later, she had an interview for her dream job — just a few miles from where she grew up.

“The first question I asked during my interview was if they still participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. When they said they didn’t, I told them that was about to change.”

Soon after, Rita learned her childhood dream came true: she got the job. To move back to Columbus, she purchased her grandparent’s old house — solidifying the sense that she was returning home.

“Several close family friends remain in the Dublin area, so it almost feels like I never left,” she said. “I really believe in Friendship Village of Dublin and the lifestyle it offers. It lives up to its name.”

Rita has made it her goal to continue the long tradition of responsible management that helps everyone at Friendship Village of Dublin find their life in perfect balance.

“I always thought it would be nice to work here but never dreamed it would be a reality,” she said. “When you’re doing what you love it doesn’t feel like work — it feels like home.”

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