Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care President and CEO Lynda Tanner (Oct. 29, 2015)

Paul Wellman

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care President and CEO Lynda Tanner (Oct. 29, 2015)

The S.B. Questionnaire: Lynda Tanner

Talking Optimism and Grandchildren with the Head of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care

One of the most rewarding things about doing this weekly column are all of the great people I’ve met over the past two years.

Case in point: a couple of weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of sitting down to lunch with Lynda Tanner, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care. As one of the most vibrant and enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, Lynda is truly energizing when she talks passionately about how fulfilling it is to lead this organization that provides empathetic care for those in need, altogether promoting a healthier Santa Barbara.

Since November is National Hospice and Family Caregivers month, it’s a good time for Lynda to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I always speak of the amazing group of philanthropic women who founded VNHC in Santa Barbara 107 years ago. They had the foresight to anticipate our society’s needs and they delivered care with such compassion. I often think that if they could come back today, they would be so proud of what they created and how, together, our community has sustained the great good they accomplished.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I don’t really have one word or phrase, though I do frequently say, “How can I help you?” because customer service is really important to me.

What is your current state of mind?

I feel optimistic, positive, and future-focused. There are a lot of challenges in this world, but I see opportunity everywhere. I’m a glass half-full person.

What is your greatest fear?

I worry about the health and well-being of my husband and family, and about having the ability to stay healthy myself. In my line of work, I see first-hand how important good health is to each and every one of us.

What is the most difficult project you’ve ever had?

I lobbied to pass legislation in California to allow VNHC to operate an 18-bed hospice end-of-life care home, Serenity House. Coordinating community support and working with politicians in Sacramento was challenging but invigorating. I jokingly tease that my next career will be as a lobbyist.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the people that I get to work with and support in our community. Our staff at VNHC are amazing and their compassion and caring is unmatched. Our patients keep me grounded and remind me of what is really important in life. Going to my job everyday continues to be incredibly rewarding because we make such a tremendous difference in our community.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I’m living it right now. Living and working in a community that I love, leading an organization that I love, and maintaining close relationships with my family and friends. Sometimes I feel the need to pinch myself.

Who do you most admire?

I most admire my boss, Sharon, from early in my career. She hired me into homecare and remains a valued and precious friend to this day. She has faced so many health challenges each and every year and yet she continues to carry on, helping so many others, and always with a smile on her face and in her heart. She doesn’t let it stop her. She is so resilient and I admire that.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Visiting my new granddaughter, Ryah. She is only eight months old and I have already flown to Texas five times to see her. Each time I return home to Santa Barbara, I start planning my next trip.

What is the quality you most like in people?

I appreciate people with a “can-do” attitude, who are appreciative and energetic.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

Pessimism, negativity, and a glass half-empty attitude.

What do you most value in friends?

I really value loyalty, honesty, and my friends’ unconditional acceptance of me as a person. I love spending time with friends and how even when you don’t see one another for a long time, you can just pick up where you left off. Priceless!

What is your most marked characteristic?

I’m good at influencing others and can be very persuasive. I have a lot of energy and that can be contagious. I love people.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be photographer. I think pictures can say so much and are a great way to preserve memories.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I had less of a sense of urgency about most things. I would like to slow down a bit and take time to sit on the beach and just enjoy my life. I always feel like there is so much to accomplish.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

No doubt about this one: my children. They are the joy of my life and now I have a beautiful granddaughter.

Where would you most like to live?

I love living in Solvang, where I have a beautiful view of the countryside. I do wish I lived just a bit closer to family, though.

What is your most treasured possession?


Who makes you laugh the most?

My granddaughter, Ryah. I get daily photos of her and they always make me smile.

What is your motto?

Never give up.

On what occasion do you lie?

When the truth would be hurtful.

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