Welcoming a new leader

Published 7:05 am Wednesday, September 16, 2020

New St. John’s administrator to oversee campus at Luther Place


St. John’s Lutheran Community off of Minnesota Highway 13 in Albert Lea has a new leader at the helm.

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About a month ago, the organization hired Kelsey Diehl to serve as administrator.

Diehl, 22, said she grew up in a small town near Madison, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, earning her bachelor’s degree in health care administration in the spring.

She said she didn’t have a nursing background when she first went to college, but in her second semester of her freshman year she was introduced to the program.

She took the introductory course and really enjoyed it, and then two summers ago she completed an internship at a small facility where she is from.

“That’s where I originally fell in love with being in the nursing home and serving seniors,” she said.

That passion was solidified when she completed her practicum at Samaritan Bethany in Rochester. After the practicum was completed, she stayed on to help there for a while this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said her CEO there knew St. John’s Lutheran Community CEO Scot Spates, and she found out the two complexes were similar in many ways. Both are standalone not-for-profit facilities focused on resident-directed care, and both utilize a household model.

“You are here to care for them — this is their home,” Diehl said.

She said she looked into corporations but found her values better aligned with not-for-profit facilities.

“It felt like a really good fit,” Diehl said of St. John’s.

Both facilities also use many of the same vendors, which was helpful as well.

Diehl will oversee the St. John’s site off of Minnesota Highway 13, which she said has about 37 residents. Spates remains the administrator of the organization’s Fountain Lake campus and CEO of the entire organization. She said she likes that Spates is there to provide guidance for her, while also encouraging her to develop her own leadership.

She said she is glad to get back to a small town and looks forward to getting involved in the community.

She lives in Owatonna but commutes to work.

Outside of work, Diehl said she enjoys being outdoors and going for walks and enjoys reading books.