A veteran of the financial services industry, John Couture found a new calling when he joined Lifespace Communities three years ago. As the vice president of information technology, he oversees information technology for the entire organization. John is a passionate leader with a strong devotion to seniors and his family.
You spent 25 years of your career in financial services. What inspired the switch to senior living?
I’ve always had a strong affinity for seniors. My dad was a geriatrician, and growing up I would accompany him during his rounds at the hospital and the nursing home. Naturally, I developed close friendships with the seniors I visited. As we shared stories and sang together, I grew to appreciate their wisdom and being in their company. When the opportunity to serve seniors at Lifespace came, it was the perfect union.
What’s your leadership philosophy as a department head?
I follow two leadership philosophies. The first is situational leadership, which means that I adapt my leadership style to whomever I’m mentoring. For example, I function as more of a sounding board when it comes to team members who have more experience in a particular area. I’m chiefly there to help them overcome any obstacles they face. As for team members who are just starting out, I tend to be more hands on and offer more guidance and direction.
The other philosophy is service leadership. I firmly believe that one of my key functions is to serve my team and provide them with the resources necessary to ensure their success and the organization’s success. This includes professional development and educational opportunities to sharpen their skill sets and providing stretch assignments to increase their experience. A successful team member is the backbone of a successful team and ultimately a successful organization.
What trait do you admire most in your field?
I’m drawn to emotional intelligence. Team members and leaders should, of course, have the fundamental technical skills necessary for their roles. However, being able to work within a team setting, share credit, accept responsibility, communicate and collaborate is crucial. You can teach someone how to code or be a network engineer, but these soft skills are harder to instill.
You’re clearly passionate about seniors and leadership. What else are you drawn to?
My family is my world. I have four kids, so most of my free time is spent with them. They’re all teenagers, so they keep me pretty busy. It’s always an adventure.
Adventure, huh? Is there anything specific that stands out?
Yes. My daughter Grace is a big Celine Dion fan, so for her birthday I surprised her with tickets to see a show in Vegas. Our last name, Couture, is French-Canadian, and my great-grandfather lived near Celine’s hometown in Quebec. My daughter sent in some fan mail before the show and spoke about this connection. Celine was so touched by this gesture that she invited us to meet her backstage. It was a dream come true for my daughter, and I’m glad I had the chance to be a part of it.
[In photo: (left to right) Grace Couture, Celine Dion and John Couture backstage at a recent concert in Las Vegas.]
<< Back to News