HopeWest CEO Christy Whitney Borchard retires | Western Colorado

Christy Whitney Borchard’s very first place of work in Grand Junction was in the bedroom of a modest property.

The dwelling and dining rooms had been employed as conferences rooms, the billing and methods administrator worked out of the laundry area and the employees stored treats on a sign-up in the toilet just off the learn bedroom.

Borchard experienced a major title — president and chief executive officer for a recently shaped hospice care nonprofit in Grand Junction — but she felt her business was invisible in 1993 as it labored out of the Veterans Affairs Medical Middle administrator’s previous home.

She was established to improve that notion for herself and for the neighborhood.

“You normally have to look even bigger than you are,” reported Borchard, imagining about the early times and the suggestions she gleaned from avidly looking at business articles and publications. “We had been invisible, so we had to do things to have a existence in the local community.”

The nonprofit experienced only a handful of sufferers in 1993, but Borchard’s compact employees experienced the most effective stationery and business cards she could order and they began organizing events to get seen.

A calendar year later on, they have been serving about 45 individuals.

Just about 30 decades later, the nonprofit now recognized as HopeWest has served far more than 29,000 hospice sufferers and people.

On any offered day, HopeWest’s hospice census by yourself figures about 450 individuals throughout western Colorado. More clients get palliative care by way of HopeWest, and even a lot more shoppers are involved in its grief help packages for little ones to adults, elder and transitional treatment courses and a lot more.

HopeWest is much from invisible, and following virtually 30 many years at its helm, Borchard is enthusiastically launching herself into yet yet another new endeavor: retirement.

Modifying Life

Through HopeWest’s Black Tie and Boots Gala on Saturday, Borchard handed the nonprofit’s management reins as very well as a piece of her possess collage artwork to Cassie Mitchell, whose very first official working day as the new president and CEO was June 1.

“I have so considerably energy,” mentioned Borchard, 70, just about a week soon after Mitchell’s arrival. “I like to do the job, it’s not tough, but I’m way too outdated to work this tough!”

For her, HopeWest has been about building a nonprofit that modifications people’s lives as they age, supplying care, compassion and comfort as people today and households face dying.

Funds must not drive treatment, she mentioned.

“All of the items (products and services) we offer price $1,500 for every household much more than what we been given from Medicare,” she claimed relating to hospice treatment.

For-revenue hospices can not do that, and “I never think we’re in the very same business as other hospices,” she reported.

Borchard also is happy of how HopeWest has been able to reply to hospice desires not only in the Grand Valley, but in Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties, section of Garfield County and in Meeker.

It took place far more immediately than she predicted in the ’90s. She received a get in touch with from a clinic administrator in Montrose wanting HopeWest to open up there.

“I have to put this man off,” she believed to herself. “I advised him I would be delighted to do it, but he would have to increase $100,000.”

“Oh, that’s no trouble,” he claimed. Six months afterwards, he identified as to say he had the funds.

Then the identical thing transpired in Delta.

People in western Colorado wanted neighborhood-based hospice, they have supported it monetarily and HopeWest has responded, she explained.


“Christy is a power to be reckoned with,” mentioned Sal Schaefer, who was 1 of the first associates of HopeWest’s founding board of administrators that hired Borchard. That board was made up of associates from Hilltop Community Resources, St. Mary’s Clinical Center, Rocky Mountain Wellbeing Strategies, Group Medical center and the VA Health-related Centre. Schaefer was then a senior manager at Hilltop, later on turning into CEO.

Hospice is a significant business, a challenging business and, as with any business depending on the federal governing administration for resources, “you’re working a difficult business,” Schaefer stated. “Christy has finished a masterful job.”

Borchard is very brilliant, intense and “all things I admire in a girl,” Schaefer stated.

Nevertheless, when Schaefer was chair of Hope-West’s board of directors and attempted to run a meeting, she never succeeded.

“I’m a very solid character. … There was no way in the entire world I could operate a meeting all over Christy,” Schaefer reported. “She just had so considerably to say.”

“Christy is so proficient and so capable, it was difficult to be in a home with her,” Schaefer explained.

Borchard also does not have a issue with individuals disagreeing with her.

At just one stage, Borchard desired to know what Schaefer considered about setting up a thrift shop that would help Hope-West’s programs.

“I told her it was the worst damn idea I experienced at any time heard,” said Schaefer, who experienced tried jogging a thrift retailer with Hilltop. “Fortunately, she didn’t pay back any attention to me.”

Heirlooms for Hospice, an upscale retail store, opened in Grand Junction in 2000. Its achievements resulted in Heirlooms areas in Delta and Montrose.

Borchard’s potential to raise income sets her aside, claimed Bob Wilson, who also was a member of the founding board as the chief money officer for Rocky Mountain Wellness Strategies.

The Black Tie and Boots Gala was Borchard’s strategy. The to start with just one was in 1996.

“That grew to become a large deal in town,” Wilson said. “It was so excellent.”

But it’s not just occasions or merchants that have drawn the group to guidance HopeWest.

“The tradition she has produced in town (with regard to hospice and palliative care) are why men and women donate to hospice, as much as I can tell,” he claimed.

“At my age, you browse the obituaries to make absolutely sure mine’s not there,” he joked, and then noted that normally obituaries check with for contributions to be given to HopeWest in the memory of a beloved one particular.

When it’s 1 of his associates or friends, “if that’s in that obituary, I
do it,” he mentioned.

HopeWest’s workers is amazing, “but nothing at all comes about with no leadership and she has provided that leadership all these several years. Her footwear are likely to be pretty challenging to fill,” Wilson said. “To pull off what she pulled off is just remarkable.”

Nevertheless, the commence of Borchard’s job in hospice and palliative treatment and what has ongoing to guideline her was observing have to have and discomfort, and from time to time within just her possess loved ones.

When she was a medical center nurse in the ’70s, her mom-in-regulation was dying of cancer and grew to become 1 of her individual people.

From deficiency of suffering administration and grief care to the demanding visitation rules and not comfortable institutional placing, Borchard understood a little something improved experienced to be probable.

She afterwards went into hospice treatment, a career that took her to the top of Hospice of Northern Virginia in Arlington, Virginia, in advance of she came to Grand Junction.

One particular of the points that attracted her to Grand Junction was “the assumed that I could begin anything from scratch,” she reported.

After a long time fixing factors that had been damaged at other hospices, she was attracted to the plan of currently being at the start of some thing new and “maybe I would not break anything. Of system, that was not legitimate,” Borchard claimed with a chortle. “You correct your possess faults more than and in excess of once more.”

But she also built an firm that served the total man or woman and entire households.

When a beloved teacher died at a community center college attended by both of those her daughter and the child of a single of her personnel customers, she suddenly observed a want for grief treatment for kids and teens.

Immediately after asking for economical help from a area household, Borchard was in a position to hire a female who had run a bereavement software for children in Florida and not long ago relocated to the location.

That was the begin of HopeWest Young ones.

“I consider I am compelled to fix items,” she said.

Completely ready TO Transfer ON

Borchard planned to retire just before now.

But HopeWest’s new Rate program — System of All Inclusive Treatment for the Aged — wanted management, and then the pandemic strike and she believed, “Oh, Jiminy Christmas.”

She stayed put, but the pandemic has been “quite carrying,” she mentioned.

The Pace method launched earlier this yr, the hottest in a extended record of initiatives and plans Borchard oversaw.

The Ferris Hospice Treatment Center, which opened in 2008 off 12th Street is a far cry from the administrator’s former home at the VA. It has due to the fact been joined by the Montrose Middle for Hope and the Bacon Center for Residing Your Finest on Compass Drive.

The diversity of her do the job has stored her going, she mentioned.

While there was loss of life and sadness, there also was “everything from math to functions,” she claimed. “I’m an extrovert. The additional men and women I see in a day, the superior.”

She is leaving a bit of her coronary heart behind with her retirement, she admitted.

A heart like the one Borchard designed as the logo for HopeWest was part of the artwork she gave to Mitchell at the gala.

“I really don’t mind helping on things that might be necessary, a challenge in this article and there,” Borchard reported about HopeWest. “I notify people that if I seriously did not want to retire, I would not have.”

At the recommendation of her husband, she started out a consulting business named The Spero Group. “Spero indicates hope in Latin,” she reported.

And even in advance of her retirement grew to become official on Saturday, she had persons inquiring her to do some consulting, she stated.

“I’m not likely to work pretty a great deal,” she mentioned, a smile in her voice. “I really do not approach on performing pretty really hard.”