Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Women in Business 2021: Karen Donorfio, Apple Rehab Corporate

Karen Donorfio Employer: Apple Rehab Corporate Title: Vice President of Operations See all Women in Business 2021 honorees
More Information

Karen Donorfio is the vice president of operations for Apple Rehab, overseeing all departments for 23 skilled nursing facilities in Connecticut and Rhode Island. She started in skilled nursing facilities as a receptionist and then bookkeeper at Jefferson House after completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut’s School of Business. Donorfio continued her studies, earning her licensed Nursing Home Administrator certificate in 2004. She began at Apple Rehab as the administrator of Apple Rehab Farmington Valley in 2012, moving into a corporate role in 2013. With a total 3000 employees, Donorfio enjoys meeting staff of different backgrounds and uses their perspectives to help create a culture to support the highest quality of care.

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

I have built a strong team of corporate directors at Apple over the last five years, enabling us to work together under the most stressful year. The trauma, difficulty and challenges related to COVID has caused healthcare workers to feel helpless to heroic, and vice versa. This amazing team of corporate leaders is always available to uplift one another and respect the fact that sometimes it is your day to be “down.”

What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

The big goal is always to enable all my staff to give the best care they can to the satisfaction of the residents and the staff. This goal will never change. However, how I drove that goal during the pandemic is very different from how I am driving it today.

What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

I was never one to want to understand politics. I couldn’t see how person-centered care should be affected by the people in elected positions that didn’t have hands-on work. I was completely wrong about that! You have to have policymakers and you have to have people who are influencing the policy makers. If you don’t want to be knowledgeable about politics, then you don’t want to be part of the solution.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

In healthcare, the thing we do best is pivot. Being a leader in healthcare, particularly in nursing homes, simply means we have to ensure everyone follows every new direction. During this pandemic, whenever you expressed the need to do something new or something different, you did it with tons of energy and positivity.

What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over?

It is my vision to create the best culture that we can for all residents by uplifting the staff and partnering with all entities. We must understand the perspective of residents, the families, the health department, the public, CMS, advocacy groups, all healthcare providers, etc. Together we can make all nursing homes places where residents experience excellence in care in a way that binds residents with the staff, for the satisfaction of both.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF