River City Six – Stephanie Grade

Meet Stephanie Grade, general manager at Ovation Heartwood Preserve (ovationbyavamere.com).

Tell us a little about your business.

Ovation is an amazing upscale senior living community that is rich in amenities and driven by a hospitality model located in the Heartwood Preserve.

How did you get started in the business?

It was a desire to align my professional life with my passion for making a difference in the lives of others. After a fantastic career in hospitality, I wanted the majority of my actions and time to make a lasting impact for those I serve. Serving our seniors is an amazing way to honor my values and give back.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Driving change in established cultures where expectations have not been realized or fully communicated.

What has been your most important achievement professionally?

Starting the first Project Search site in Omaha in Partnership with the Papillion-La Vista School District. It was the first time I truly understood how it felt to have my work have a greater meaning. I loved working with people that have unique abilities and helping them to expand their horizons professionally.

Tell us a little about your family.

I was born and raised in Nebraska with most of my family still living in the general area. I have a wonderful husband, Shane, who I have been with for nearly 20 years; a beautiful daughter, Elaina, who is six and the queen of our home; and Lola, our 10-year-old English Bulldog. My daughter calls Lola her sister. We are a close family and spend most of our time together when not working.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?

Becoming a mother. It gave me a new perspective on the meaning and value of how I spend my time and how I wanted my daughter to view the world and me. It was the key factor in driving my desire to align my personal and professional values.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

I love to see live performances—everything from a moving musical to a great game of baseball with my family.

Who inspires you?

My mom. She always reached for greater things while showing kindness at every turn. She encouraged and required her children to think of how they were going to do even greater things and challenged us when she felt we were straying from who we were intended to be.

What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist see the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?


If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Teleportation. It would open up the world to you and be amazingly efficient.

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?

Baking. My husband encouraged me to open a bakery for a few years, but I wouldn’t because I’m afraid I’d lose the joy I receive from it.

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?

Child psychologist.

What is your favorite TV show?

The Handmaid’s Tale.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?

Princess Diana.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?

(402) 999-7900; stephanie.grade@ovationbyavamere.com; ovationbyavamere.com.