- Story by Darcy Nybo Photography by Don Denton
Micky Fleming, President and CEO of Cherish Living Group, created a community at Cherish at Central Park. She did so because she loves helping others.
“Our goal is to create liveable communities for successful aging,” Fleming said. “We take into account all aspects of our residents including mind, body and spirit. The people who come here value independence, dignity and quality of life. It’s our daily goal to ensure that happens.”
Fleming got her start in business as a bookkeeper for a lumber company. Once the books were balanced, she’d head outside, hop on a forklift and tidy up the yard. Then she asked if she could tackle the RFPs that came in. She did and the company won the bid. After that her boss let her set up a sales office in in Port McNeill. She was loading a truck with a forklift in the snow one day and dumped the entire load on the ground. It was then she realized she wanted to get more into the business side of things and started the CGA program.
In 1982 she met her husband and in 1983 they moved to Calgary. “The first job that got me recognition was with a computer company that had 11 offices across Canada. The promotions started when I fixed their inventory system.” Fleming moved up the ranks to Chief Accountant, then Controller and then CFO.
By the fall of 1989 Fleming and her husband moved back to the West Shore. She started a business which morphed into an accounting company which her sister, Dana Adams (also a CPA) now runs.
Fleming spent several years analysing company needs and helping them grow. She ended up with a real estate based company where she learned how to do land development. Markets changed and Fleming changed with them.
In the early 2000s the Langford Legion asked her what they could do with their property that would generate income. “I did a presentation for senior’s housing and three weeks later they accepted. The community came together, and we built a highly successful residence that, while under our management, boasted a long wait list and very happy customers.”
Some years ago Fleming met with the Elders of the Redeemer Lutheran Church. “They approached me about senior’s housing and the hopes of their congregation in a somewhat unique situation. After much research in the USA, Fleming was able to develop a viable business plan that met the criteria of the congregation and the financiers.”
In 2012 Fleming and Adams signed the contract with Redeemer and in 2016 they purchased the land.
“It took four years to raise the capital and our first resident moved into Cherish at Central Park in November 2017. We are pet friendly and have about 130 people living here now. We wanted an intergenerational residence and got that. The Lutheran Church is inside our building. They own their space and we own ours.”
Fleming takes the responsibility of making a difference very seriously. “At Cherish we help people maintain their independence as they age. We get to know everyone who lives here and they get to know each other. We give the people here a voice. We listen as a group. The people who live here get things done. They raise funds for great causes. The self-confidence and sense of purpose that comes with that is very real. Creating this Cherish community is what I was meant to do.”
When she’s not working, Fleming likes to unwind in nature. “I love being out on the water and I love the woods. I love flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees.”
When asked what advice she would give to others starting out in business, she had this to say: “Take responsibility for what you do and where you go in life. You can’t let your history be an anchor. Anything you put your mind to is possible if you are willing to work for it.”
Daily Uniform: Mostly business casual unless I’m working in the garden and I wear jeans.
Favourite pair of shoes: Day to day, I love my black slip-ons with a small heel. My absolute favourite are handmade art nouveau Fluevog’s with 6” heels.
Must Wear: My wedding rings. The nuggets in them come from my dad’s claim in the Yukon.
Favourite watch: Bulova ladies sports watch.
Style Icons: Grace Kelly and Judy Dench.
Favourite Scent: L’Instant de Guerlain. It’s a nice soft floral scent.
Favourite Piece of Jewellery: A Tahitian pearl earring and necklace set. A single pearl with a diamond above it.
Necessary beauty item: Comfort Zone Sublime Skin, Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Night Cream and Arbonne RE9 Advance Lifting and Contouring eye cream.