Debra (Hinkel) DiNapoli ’73 is CEO of Senior Planning Services (SPS), which marked its 30th anniversary with the acquisition of Ventura-based Meditech Services. SPS serves people and families in the Santa Barbara area in need of elder care.
Senior Planning Services was launched by Suzanne McNeely, a social worker in Santa Barbara who had seen a real need for it among local seniors. In its early years, SPS specialized in senior care management, contracting with other agencies to supply the caretakers — including from an agency that was run by DiNapoli. Eventually, McNeely and DiNapoli decided to pool their resources, with DiNapoli joining the SPS team about 20 years ago. She began as a consultant, rising over the years to be director of business development, general manager and, in 2014, chief operating officer. When McNeely passed away in 2015, DiNapoli, who majored in design and applied arts at UCLA, took the reins. Now the company’s chief executive operating officer, DiNapoli honors McNeely’s work every day and feels more dutybound than ever to provide her company’s services.
“This is a very needed business,” she said. “We have thousands of people turning 65 every day. We’ve helped thousands of clients and families get through this aging process with as much dignity as possible. This is what we are here to do.”
With the acquisition of Meditech, SPS has about doubled in size. It’s also added a new care aspect, staffing hospitals in Ventura, and it can now pull caregivers from Ventura County into Santa Barbara, which DiNapoli noted “has a limited pool of caregivers.”
“This also has made us a much larger company, which just helps us to grow more quickly, with that economy of scale,” she said, “and our services are now available from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria.”
“In general, this expands our reach in terms of everything we do,” she said. “It’s a very complex healthcare system that we have to deal with, and I feel that we are really helping people make their way through this maze — and now we can help more people.”