Journey towards Constructing Exquisite and Satisfying Lifestyles for Elderly Individuals!
As time passes and we grow older, we come to realize that the longing for a fulfilling and comfortable life never fades away. This truth is especially meaningful for our elderly population, who have experienced life’s ups and downs and carry stories within them like beautifully written calligraphy.
Imagine a place where every day feels like a vacation, where the worries of household chores and maintenance fade into obscurity, and where the focus shifts to savoring life’s most precious moments. This is precisely what the marriage of senior living and hospitality brings to the table, or, should we say, to the comfortable lounge of your future home.
With over two decades of experience as a CEO in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors, Marc Hildebrand has seamlessly transitioned into an entirely new domain: elderly care. His journey is not just a career shift; it’s a mission to transform the concept of senior living.
Having led renowned organizations like Hapag-Lloyd, TUI, American Express, and Accor, Marc’s leadership journey has been marked by dynamic and profitable growth. His secret sauce? Building highly motivated, high-performance teams that consistently push their limits to achieve excellence and deliver tangible results.
In 2012, Marc embarked on a new adventure, venturing into the healthcare sector for elderly care and living. His vision was clear—to infuse the service culture and quality of life from the hospitality sector into senior living. The goal? To create genuine homes for older individuals, enriching their lives with beauty, contentment, and variety even in their golden years.
But what sets him apart is not just his remarkable business acumen; it’s his multifaceted leadership style. He’s an authentic, strategic, pragmatic, and proactive leader who isn’t afraid to get hands-on. His decisiveness, empathy, and resilience have seen him through crises, making him a trustworthy figure in both national and multinational settings.
Marc is not just a leader; he’s a communicator, influencer, motivator, negotiator, networker, and team player at all levels. He’s a doer, a presenter, and a representative of change in the elderly care sector.
Under his guidance, the SCHÖNES LEBEN Group has become a beacon of hope for the elderly, proving that quality of life knows no age. His journey is a testament to how a visionary leader can redefine an industry and bring warmth and hospitality to the lives of those in their golden years.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
After his first five years in the healthcare sector, Marc set out to bring a new level of quality, service, and customer orientation to an industry that is often driven by systems and regulations. He noticed that many people, particularly those of a certain age, were hesitant to move into traditional nursing homes due to fear and a desire to avoid them. As a result, people were staying at home longer than necessary, despite their homes becoming impractical for various reasons. The biggest issue he identified was the loneliness that came with this situation, which not only affected people emotionally but also posed serious risks to their health and wellbeing.
With the vision of creating places where people would want to live, he founded Schönes Leben Gruppe, the Beautiful Life Group. The group focuses on providing luxurious modern living environments with a range of private apartments for individuals seeking privacy as well as beautifully designed common areas for socializing and enjoying various amenities such as restaurants, club lounges, fitness, and wellness facilities. The goal is to offer an experience that surpasses traditional nursing homes, providing a 4-5-star hotel level of comfort and access to care services as needed.
Since its inception in 2017, Schönes Leben Gruppe has grown significantly. With the recent opening of its 95th location and the welcoming of its 8,000th employee, the group is thriving. From being the strongest and biggest real estate developer, there are currently over 30 additional locations under construction, demonstrating the high demand for their services. Looking ahead, the group has plans to expand internationally in the coming years, aiming to bring its unique approach to a wider audience.
In the pursuit of organizational success, one key aspect stands out: the creation of a motivated, high-performing team that consistently strives for excellence and delivers remarkable results. This principle has been a guiding force throughout Marc’s illustrious career as CEO in various industries. He firmly believes in bringing together the most exceptional talents, inspiring them with a compelling vision, and empowering them to take bold actions that challenge established norms. By providing the necessary space and support, he is able to foster an environment where innovation thrives and where positive feedback is a catalyst for winning the hearts of customers.
In the role of a leader, one is confronted with challenging choices on a daily basis, particularly when overseeing the operations of a rapidly expanding company where swiftness and audacious decision-making are crucial. Marc emphasizes the importance of team involvement in thoroughly assessing and comprehending the risks associated with each decision. Thus, decision-making becomes an integral aspect of their everyday responsibilities, necessitating the careful weighing of risks and opportunities, as well as the pros and cons, before reaching a conclusion. The key lies in maintaining clarity and transparency regarding the rationale behind the chosen course of action. Once this is achieved, progress can be made.
Untold Importance of Nurses
Marc believes that the healthcare industry is incredibly operational and hands-on. With numerous critical customer interactions occurring every moment, decisions made in this field can directly impact the lives of patients. Marc emphasizes that everyone, including top management, should have a thorough understanding of all processes and details involved in the daily work of nurses. This foundation is essential for any improvements in processes, systems, organization, and the industry as a whole. Without considering the day-to-day experiences of nurses, theoretical plans, key performance indicators (KPIs), and strategies will have no practical value.
Navigating and Succeeding
Marc reflects on the unprecedented challenge the healthcare sector faced during the three-year COVID crisis. From elderly care to assisted living and intensive care units, the industry encountered the greatest crisis in history. Overcoming this daunting period required constant communication, clear instructions, proactive thinking, and being readily available as a visible CEO for all staff members. Marc expresses immense pride in the 8,000 employees who actively participated and anticipated challenges, enabling them to navigate through the continuous crisis successfully.
Extraordinary Diversity and Unity
After spending more than 20 intense years in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, working in various continents, countries, cultures, and languages, Marc developed a global perspective. However, he was now seeking an opportunity to focus on a single country. What he hadn’t anticipated was the international makeup of each healthcare facility, clinic, and nursing home. The Schönes Leben Gruppe has employees from 138 different nationalities, making it one of the most diverse and multicultural work environments in the world. Leading a team of 8,000 individuals, Marc takes great pride and feels honored to work alongside such a diverse group, all united by their shared passion for assisting elderly and handicapped individuals and providing exceptional service.
Fostering a Family-like Workplace
The Schönes Leben Gruppe has successfully cultivated a sense of camaraderie and warmth reminiscent of a tight-knit family. Despite their rapid growth, they have prioritized maintaining a personal touch, creating an environment where colleagues are not only familiar with each other but genuinely desire to be part of this close-knit community. In an era where genuine connections are becoming increasingly rare, team members at Schönes Leben Gruppe highly value this exceptional atmosphere and are willing to go the extra mile as the company has expanded from a small team to a workforce of nearly 10,000 in just five years.
Navigating Challenges and Persuading Stakeholders
With the rapid expansion of Schönes Leben Gruppe, Marc finds himself constantly engaging in discussions and persuading stakeholders. It is apparent that not everything has gone smoothly during the past three years of the COVID crisis. Consequently, it necessitates extensive persuasion to maintain investment and acceptance of initial losses in new ideas and concepts, particularly when results are falling behind the projected plan and expectations.
A New Approach to Senior Living
Schönes Leben Gruppe is the trendsetter and innovation driver in their industry. They provide a unique combination of high-quality living environments, exceptional food and beverage options, and the creation of communities, all at a hotel standard. Additionally, they offer wellness and care services as needed. This is what millions of people have been searching for but have never found: a home that anticipates their desires and avoids the hospital-like or traditional nursing home atmosphere.
A Passionate Advocate
When addressing public forums, larger audiences, or politicians, Marc consistently acts as an ambassador for the mission and offerings of Schönes Leben Gruppe. He strives to convey the underlying concept of creating an environment and providing services that enhance the quality of life for individuals once they reach a certain age and stage in life. Marc recognizes that discussing the topic of aging, which often goes unspoken but affects every family, elicits a profound response from people. By addressing this universal concern, he engages his audience, encourages them to reflect upon the implications for themselves and their loved ones, and sparks a desire to find the best possible solution. The overwhelming feedback received from customers, relatives, and others further emphasizes the importance of effective communication that resonates with people at the deepest level, addressing their greatest concerns and worries head-on.
- Employer of the future – 2023
- TOP operator – 2023
- Most family-friendly employers – 2023
- Fairest & Strongest Brands – 2023
- Company of the Year – 2023
- Best training companies – 2023
- Largest operator – 2023
- TOP company – 2023
- Role model in diversity and inclusion- 2022
- Largest nursing home operator – 2022
- Trendsetter in the Germany economy – 2021
- Best companies for women – 2021
Marc enthusiastically said, ”Every single one of them makes us very proud and shows that my vision has become reality—as an innovative company and as an attractive employer.”