This past fall, John Porter was appointed associate executive director at Riderwood, the Erickson Senior Living community in Silver Spring, Riderwood announced in a press release earlier this month. Porter, who most recently served as director of dining at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Ashburn, Va., began his senior living career at Riderwood almost 15 years ago. In that time, he’s proven himself to be a dedicated and effective leader who excels at supporting both residents and staff. “We are excited to welcome him back to Riderwood, where he will serve the community at the highest level,” says Dee Dee Gray-Weaver, Riderwood’s executive director. “Our residents will benefit from his proven leadership, expertise in senior living, and unwavering desire to help.”
Believe it or not, Porter has longstanding professional and personal ties to Riderwood. His mother, Sharon Porter, has lived at the community since 2003. “It is a great honor and opportunity to return to Riderwood at this stage in my career,” says Porter. “I look forward to working directly with community members, including my mom.” A graduate of the University of Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, Porter spent his first years out of college working in the restaurant and mortgage industries. When his parents decided to move to Riderwood, the decision changed not only their lives, but his own as well.
“I visited my parents often,” Porter recalls. “I was so impressed with the community and the lifestyle it offered. Five years into their new life at Riderwood, I was considering a job change. Because I had dining and restaurant management experience, I applied for an assistant general manager position with Riderwood’s dining services team. I got the job–and have been enjoying a very rewarding career ever since.” Throughout the years, Porter’s hard work and dedication earned him a number of promotions. In 2017, while serving as Riderwood’s assistant director of dining, he was offered a promotion to become director of dining at Ashby Ponds.
“Working at Riderwood was a tremendous experience and it prepared me for my position at Ashby Ponds,” says Porter. “I learned that a key component of success is communication–earning the trust of residents by listening, responding, and making myself available. I also worked with wonderful staff members, all of whom worked toward the common goal of ensuring residents’ happiness.” For five years, Porter assisted with the development of Ashby Ponds. “The community truly flourished. It was such a critical time because we grew so quickly in size,” he says. “I worked with a great team at Ashby Ponds, which, I believe, prepared me for taking on this new role at Riderwood.” When Porter learned about the open associate executive director position at his “home” community, it seemed like the perfect fit.
“My mom was so excited,” he says, with a laugh. “She did all she could to not spread the word until it was announced officially. I’m really happy that I can make this next move in my career with her close by.” Porter, who assumed his new role in September, truly hit the ground running. “This is an exciting time at Riderwood, as we’re working toward completing renovations to Montgomery Station, opening a new restaurant, and creating an outdoor fitness area,” he says. “But my priority has been to get out in the community and spend time interacting with residents.” Porter was also delighted to reconnect with many of his former coworkers, all of whom are still thriving in their roles at Riderwood. “People who knew me five years ago are coming up to me and saying hello,” he says. “It’s refreshing to see the people I worked with and how they’re still happy, engaged, and giving back to residents.”
Porter’s new position at Riderwood also brings him closer to home. He lives with his wife Nancy and their two sons, George and James, in nearby Olney, Md. “Nancy and I got married the same year I started at Riderwood,” he says. “My career at Erickson Senior Living has paralleled my personal life, which is special to me.” When he’s not immersed in community life at Riderwood, Porter enjoys vacationing in Bethany Beach and spending time with extended family. As the New Year begins, Porter looks forward to leaving his mark on the Riderwood community once again.