Posts filed under ‘Featured Employees’
I recently spent two full days with him inspecting 143 apartments at Maryland Park. Mike knew the name of every resident with who we came in contact and also their kids’ names, and for every resident he also had something to joke around with them about or ask them about. “Hi Mike!” was said by everyone we passed. He talked to everyone and it was obvious that they all love Mike! Everyone was warm with him, and I could tell that they all appreciate him – again, it was obvious! Mike genuinely treated everyone with respect, and he asked them about specific things he knew they were going through, whether it was related to their health or their kids, etc. Some of the residents who currently reside at Maryland Park have lived there since they were kids and Mike has watched them grow up, as he has been there for 15 years! We went into several apartments where the residents had no furniture. Mike would say to them, “Hey, if you guys are looking for furniture, the lady upstairs is leaving and she doesn’t want to take her sofa — do you want to take a look?” He is so thoughtful, and until now I did not know that Mike has such a huge heart!
He shows genuine concern for the residents who are in need. Also, while we were performing our inspections if he came across any work order he could quickly handle, he did. Or, if a resident mentioned to him that something needed fixing he made a mental note of it, and when we went back to the office he made sure to have a work order written so he could address it as soon as possible. Also, there were a couple of smoke detectors that were broken and couldn’t be repaired on-the-spot, so Mike told those residents he would be back by the end of the day and then made sure that he went back! Mike is conscientious about his work and is proud of the relationships he has with his residents – they are very important to him! Maryland Park can be a difficult property, and Mike is a great representative and a strong example of someone who truly cares about the residents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mike!
—Brenda Lunderby, portfolio director
In addition, Mike has also been nominated for this year’s MADACS Awards.
To all of you,
Thank you so much for the card you sent to us expressing your thoughts about my uncle Bill. They were warm and heartfelt, and our family appreciates them very much.
The card was a reflection of the type of care that Bill received from you over the last three plus years. I knew that Bill was in good hands while he was in your care, and it was obvious to me how much everyone at The Alton cared for him as a person, not just as a client or patient.
You ‘got’ his jokes, which shows that you were listening, which isn’t always the case in your industry.
We were lucky to find you, and Bill was lucky to have the privilege of living out the last few years of his life in the warm, friendly environment that is The Alton.
Thank you all so much!
We enjoyed reading this note from a family member of an Alton resident. We appreciate the time that they took to write the letter!
Company-wide, Caretakers from over 30 communities gathered this week at the corporate office to collaborate!
There were 30 Caretakers in attendance for training that focused on safety and efficiency. Those in attendance have over 100 years of Caretaking experience!
Topics discussed were the company-wide GreenTEAM goal to reduce waste by 10% in 2013, how to accurately record many of the various information logs that are required, and many procedural instructions and best practices.
Each person was asked why they enjoy working at StuartCo, the common themes were the love of the residents and property, convenient locations, and the appreciation of the flexibility in their schedules. They also love the fact that StuartCo provides training, efficiency and safety information on an ongoing basis.
All enjoyed the collaborating and are looking forward to the next training opportunity!
The following is an email message sent to Jennifer by a prospective resident who was very impressed by her:
I wanted to drop you a note and thank you for your terrific service and sincere interest in helping me as I searched for a new home. When you and I spoke over the phone, I was on my way to view another property – at which I ultimately decided to rent.
Based on your phone manner, professionalism and friendliness, I can tell you that had I spoken to you first, I would be a resident at Genesee today. This is no doubt small consolation at this point I’m sure. But, I felt it important for you to know that I truly admire your talents and am grateful for the experience. You are a credit to your employer, and they certainly benefit greatly with having you representing Genesee and StuartCo. I will cheerfully refer anyone I encounter to be in touch with you.
Sincerely,—(name removed for privacy)
Many thanks to this person for taking the time to let us know what a great experience they had at Genesee. And, although they didn’t choose Genesee because of previous commitments, we know they will be back to visit the team based on their exceptional first impression.
Very well done, Jennifer! Thank you for your commitment to beyond exceptional service.
Congratulations Bellringers Kathy Clarke, Betty Jo Talley, Tina Berg, LuAnn Wittrock, Cindy Jacobson, and Linda Horvath!
It all started back in July 2011 when The Wellington’s housing manager Heather Raduenz decided her newly formed activities team deserved recognition for transforming the program from acceptable to exceptional. Heather submitted an Employee of the Month nomination, as follows: I would like to nominate the entire activities team at The Wellington Senior Living for Employee of the Month. Even though all three employees have been here less than a year, we have seen some truly amazing transformations occur that should be recognized. Our activities director Kathy Clarke has a wonderful, sweet, and caring personality that brightens up the building. She works very hard to plan a variety of fun, engaging, and educational opportunities for our residents. Her positive attitude is infectious, and she strives to make every day the best it can be. She is a great leader and mentor to her two assistants Tina Berg and Betty Jo Talley. As Kathy says, “Betty Jo and Tina go above & beyond every day to make sure our residents are enjoying everything offered via our activities program. They not only put together and lead all group activities, but they also go beyond that and will go into apartments to do individual activities with residents who can’t participate with groups, they interact with residents when in between activities, and they do any ‘extra’ things residents ask of them. They are never too busy to help anyone out and will always put down whatever they are doing to assist. They communicate very well with each other so they can do their best to accommodate our residents, because they genuinely care for all of them. Every day they come with smiles on their faces and hugs to give out to our seniors, and they truly love what they do – it shows in everything they do here at The Wellington.” Kathy, Betty Jo, and Tina also supervise a number of volunteers who help with activities. Our residents appreciate the fact that they are asked to provide input regarding programming. Resident Council meetings are held monthly, and the team does their best to accommodate any activities recommendations. Kathy, Betty Jo, and Tina also assist with senior campus/ Shepard Park neighborhood events such as holiday parties, summer picnics, and National Night Out. The team makes sure our residents have plenty of meaningful and fun recreational opportunities. I firmly believe they are a huge part in preventing turnover here at The Wellington. Thank you!
Since that nomination in July 2011 things have only gotten better. According to Heather, over the past few months The Wellington’s activities team has been working hard to increase the number of activities available in the community’s Care Suites. The Care Suites’ residents typically require hands-on care, so it is harder for them to participate in regular programs. Heather states that Kathy recently developed a separate Care Suites activities calendar that offers a variety of recreational programs involving both her activities team and the Shepard Park Home Care home health aides. Some of the new programs include music therapy, art therapy, pet therapy with Peter the chinchilla and several hermit crabs, manicures, and aromatherapy. The value added to the quality of life for the Care Suite residents is immeasurable!
Heather also says that the activities team’s involvement in community service has expanded. They have helped to facilitate a Knitter’s Club that makes blankets for Children’s Hospital, have coordinated the assembly of shoeboxes full of toys and supplies for Operation Christmas Child, and have played a huge role in StuartCo’s annual charity fundraising week that benefits Simpson Housing Services. Many Wellington residents have commented on how much they appreciate feeling as though they can still actively contribute to charitable causes.
Ok, that’s The Wellington’s side of the story. Not to be outdone, The Alton Memory Care has its own side to the story. Housing manager Mike Lorenz starts off by describing his activities team with a few adjectives: Dedicated, exuberant, fun-loving, caring, committed, knowledgeable, energetic— and the list could be endless! Mike says his activities team members LuAnn Wittrock (coordinator) and Cindy Jacobson and Linda Horvath (assistants) all work very hard to exemplify The Alton’s mission, which is that everyone who lives at the community is an individual and that individual strengths are the main focus. At The Alton, Alzheimer’s Disease/dementia doesn’t define the residents; they are simply people who deserve to feel purposeful and live life to the fullest. Mike says that Mike says Linda joins LuAnn and Cindy on weekends to facilitate recreational events that include both the residents and their family members. The Alton’s team goal is to provide lots of fun for their residents, and LuAnn, Cindy and Linda make that happen!
Here are a few examples illustrating how LuAnn, Cindy, and Linda fulfill The Alton’s mission: When dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, families rarely hear good news from caregivers. However, LuAnn and Cindy have really concentrated on providing monthly updates to every family via phone call or personal visit to report on the successes, not failures, their loved one has had. Cindy has also been the driving force behind the “Alton Families” program, which allows residents’ families to correspond with their loved ones via email. Cindy photographs the residents having a good time enjoying life to the fullest and then sends these photos to their families, who in return send and share photos of grand kids and other family events.
According to Mike, LuAnn is the activities team’s “rock.” She ensures that the residents’ needed structure in their lives is provided via group activities that include exercise, art/painting classes, spiritual events, baking groups, and other regular programming. Mike says Linda joins LuAnn and Cindy on weekends to facilitate recreational events that include both the residents and their family members. These events include musicians and other entertainment.
Cindy and LuAnn have also purchased activities supplies for The Alton’s neighborhoods (housing sections) so residents can have fun even when the activities team is not here. They encourage all Alton and Shepard Park Home Care team members to understand it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure the best care for the residents and their families.Cindy was recently feeling really creative (or was suffering from cabin fever—or a combination of the two!) and organized “The Alton Superstars” resident volleyball team. On Thursday, March 21st they took on The Wellington’s resident team and defeated them! Rumor has it a rematch has been challenged.
Finally, Mike exclaims, “Can we say PARTY?!” He says LuAnn and Cindy know that hosting a good party requires organizing, planning
and, most important, ensuring that everyone has fun! That includes not only the residents but their family members and the staff as well.
LuAnn’s, Cindy’s, and Linda’s efforts have dramatically increased The Alton’s resident and customer satisfaction, as evidenced by all the wonderful compliments received from the families. A recent example, as submitted to Cindy via email by a resident’s family member: “Congratulations! You did it again. You created a wonderful evening for everyone at The Alton. To see all the residents enjoying themselves is a priceless memory I will cherish forever. To see my mom sing always brings joy to my heart, and to know she enjoyed herself and was able to do something different and fun means so very much to me. In a world where they could be having little quality of life compared to others, it means so much to see them dance, smile and make a memory, even if it is a short one. I have shared last night’s experience with others, and telling them how special an experience it was literally brings tears to my eyes. I sincerely can’t thank you all enough for the wonderful job you do. Your enthusiasm, energy and commitment to making their day are just wonderful.”
Ok, it is going to be tough to top that, but we’ll try. Here’s portfolio director Stacey Neameyer’s side to this story (Stacey oversees The Alton, The Wellington, and several other properties). “I don’t work with the activities teams on a daily basis, so I struggle to find the words to express my appreciation for them. But when I visit The Alton or The Wellington and I see what they do, it puts a huge smile on my face. They have literally brought ‘fun’ to our senior campus! They are all deeply vested in their roles and take tremendous pride in their work. Each of them has a heart of gold, and they are so passionate in what they do! I literally love to watch them all at work during an activity, event, or even just walking around communicating with their residents. The joy they bring to our residents’ faces (and the families visiting) is indescribable. You can see how touched they are by the attention these ladies give them. I cannot say thank you enough for all that they do on a daily basis.”
To conclude, president and CEO Lisa Moe shares her thoughts about our two exceptional activities teams. “These six wonderful women are the Jacks (or perhaps Jills) of all trades and are highly skilled professionals. At both communities they coordinate very hectic, diverse schedules that encompass all seven days of the week. The array of fun-filled activities they host range from a recent Luau celebrating The Alton’s 5th anniversary to an annual Mardi Gras Day parade—complete with the crowning of king & queen—to a variety of exercise classes, musical performances, social dances, and outings all around St. Paul. Kathy, Betty Jo, Tina, LuAnn, Cindy, and Linda are all filled with an energy, excitement and dedication to providing an active lifestyle for our senior campus residents. I can’t thank them enough for all the effort and time they commit.”
Can any of us really thank them enough? Probably not. Perhaps we should plan a party for them…or ask them to plan it, since it’s what they do exceptionally well.
The deadline is approaching for the Stuart H. Nolan Scholarship. We hope you’ll participate. Please note, the son or daughter of only current StuartCo employees are eligible to apply. We look forward to your submissions!
As a newer employee of StuartCo at Carver Lake Townhomes who has experienced some changes in our office staff, I have to give a BIG thank you to an amazing fellow StuartCo team member who has gone above and beyond her job description. She has really shown what a true StuartCo employee should be. I look up to her as a great role model for the company. I thank her for coming to our rescue on more than one occasion in the past few months. Corrin Grimstad has been amazing source of help for us at Carver Lake Townhomes. Her knowledge and complete kindness in helping us in any way possible has made this incredible place to work. She is the ‘go to’ girl!
—Janet Schiltgen, assistant manager, Carver Lake Townhomes
I also nominate Corrine Grimstad for Employee of the Month. Corrine came to RiverPlace Apartments in La Crosse to do some training with me early this month, as I am a brand new Property Manager. She was so sweet and helpful, I can’t even begin to tell you! She answered all my questions with a smile, even though the list was a mile long. She went over all the of the StuartCo programs and even went over with me the entire screening, application and leasing process so that I could write it all down. Corrin is such a gem, she even sent me emails with more tips and procedures when she got home. She is a real asset to StuartCo and a true team player!
—Robin Minegar, property manager, RiverPlace
Your commitment to StuartCo along with your extensive experience that you share with others is second to none.
Many thanks to multiple StuartCo team members for taking the time to share their praise of Corrin. We are so glad you’re a part of the team!
Events pictured include Halloween Costume Party, Heritage Landing Twins Game Outing, Rooftop Deck Social Hour, and Fitness Classes to name a few of the common events.
I would like to nominate Shannan, who has been a great addition to our team this year. Since she started Shannan has really been our eyes and ears for us with the residents, finding out what they would like for events at our community. This year alone she has brought self-defense classes, Zumba classes, a pumpkin carving event, a monthly book club, and most recently Shannan worked with North Loop Wine & Spirits to coordinate a wine tasting, which was a HUGE Success. Those are just a few of the new things we have done in the past few months, in addition to our yoga classes and monthly happy hours. As if that wasn’t enough for her to do, Shannan always is eager and willing to help out whoever on the team needs assistance; she handles call-backs for the maintenance work orders, Yardi updates, market studies, assist with leasing, and most important she offers that first smiling face someone sees when walking into Heritage Landing! Thank you for ALL you do, Shannan!
—Jenny Noll, property manager
I would like to nominate Almaz for Employee of the Month. She usually works in the care suite and is very compassionate and caring. I once witnessed Almaz’s calm manner when she redirected a memory care resident who was being demanding and uncooperative. A resident’s family member once commented that she likes it when Almaz is working because she knows her mom will be well taken care of. Almaz has a very approachable manner and is very gracious with everyone. Almaz has many hidden talents, and she is from Africa and was a medic in her country’s army for 10 years. Also she speaks four languages fluently. I enjoy working with Almaz as she makes me aware of any urgent situations that arise. She is always upbeat and pleasant. I’m glad you’re here, Almaz. Thank you for all you do.
—Kay Distad, LPN
Thank you Kay for taking the time to let us know about the exceptional care at Shepard Park Home Care!
Since he transferred here in April 2011, Rick has been an amazing addition to The Wellington. Since joining StuartCo in 2004, Rick has moved around between many different properties and they have all been very different, each with their own unique set of challenges. I am always apprehensive when I hire new employees, wondering how they will get along in a busy property full of active seniors. The vast majority of our residents are here all day and have a lot of special needs and requests—not the typical work orders maintenance techs were used to at other properties. In order to be successful here, you need extreme patience, kindness, fairness, skills in a variety of trades and, above all—follow through. Rick possesses all of these qualities, and more. There are many notes from residents, family members and co-workers in his file—too many to list here, but the running theme is that he is great! As a housing manager I truly appreciate the daily communication with Rick. I always feel that we are on the same page about what is best for the residents and the building and that we work great as a team to achieve that. I can only hope that his days of transferring properties are behind him and Rick will stay here forever.
—Heather Raduenz, housing manager