Immanuel is a diverse organization serving the housing and health needs of older adults for over 125 years. Eric Gurley is Immanuel’s President & CEO.
How did you get started in the business? – I started in the business as an accountant for a large senior system in New Jersey, and over the years I rose to be the Chief Financial Officer of that system. In 2009, I joined Immanuel as President and Chief Executive Officer.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The biggest challenge that I have faced dealt with changing markets within senior care. Fluctuations in real estate values have presented challenges for older adults in making lifestyle choices for their retirement. Structuring the organization to meet the needs of seniors, both physical and financial, has been the greatest ongoing challenge.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Leading Immanuel through its ‘discernment’ process regarding ongoing sponsorship of Alegent Creighton Health. The outcome of Immanuel’s decision has changed the landscape of healthcare in Omaha. Additionally, it has assured that a greater number of people will be able to participate in new health models throughout the region.
Tell me a little about your family. – My wife Donna and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary in August. Together we have a wonderful little 8 year old that we adopted from China at the age of nine months. She is truly the light of our lives and is thriving here in Omaha. We also share our home with Donna’s 93 year old father, who joined us when we relocated to the area. The joys and challenges of multi-generational living provide a unique perspective on meeting the needs of older people as well as vast benefits in sharing of heritage with our daughter.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Outside of being married and adopting our daughter, assuming the leadership role at Immanuel was one of the most significant turning points in my life. I am not a nomadic person, so picking up our lives on the east coast and relocating to Omaha was both exciting and traumatic. Not since going to college had I been in an environment where everyone was a stranger. This was quickly overcome with the friendliness and welcome that people from Omaha extend.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I do not get a lot of time to spend with my family during the week, so time off is a great time to reconnect. Additionally, my wife could use a little ‘alone’ time, so I enjoy taking my daughter off for adventures.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I am a private pilot and have an airplane at the Millard airport. Together my daughter and I launch off to explore the Midwest. Our favorite destinations include Kansas City, Branson, and Dallas.
What are you the most proud of? – My family.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? – “Forever Young” by Joan Baez. I think that this song is a reminder of not losing your aspiration in life.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – I am a very capable handyman. I enjoy working with my hands; especially carpentry work. My father taught me to be self-reliant, and I am never afraid to learn a new trade.