The Heart of Serving through Leadership

Schlegel Villages has set this week in mid-May aside to recognize the outstanding contributions of more than 5,000 caregivers who, through their dedication, kindness and skill, make the villages a true home for the residents. It seems fitting during this time to recognize two groups of these caregivers who have gone the extra length to improve their ability to serve residents and team members in the villages by completing the Leadership in Long-term Care and Retirement Living course through Conestoga College.  

Grads from the 7th Schlegel Villages cohort to take part
in Conestoga College's Leadership in Long-term Care
and Retirement Living Course.

This is no mere certificate course with a couple of online seminars and a multiple choice quiz at the end; completion requires a huge amount of extra effort over the course of several weeks all completed outside of typical working hours. Team members chosen to take the course have already demonstrated leadership qualities in one way or another, and they’ve been handpicked to build on those natural tendencies in order to strengthen the villages they serve.

The end of both days at the annual Schlegel Villages Leadership Retreat in April were reserved for recognition of the 7th and 8th cohorts to complete this course, and there was a lot of pride in the room as nearly 50 people accepted their recognition with broad smiles and humble gratitude.

“As good organizations do, we recognized a group of immensely talented people who have a heart for serving through leadership, who’ve proven themselves to be natural leaders in their current roles and whose potential as an organization we wanted to further develop,” said president and CEO Jamie Schlegel. “It’s relatively easy to build buildings; it’s much more difficult to fill those buildings with purpose-driven, mission-led, values-aligned team members starting with leadership.”

To reiterate just how crucial it is to find and develop the right team members, Jamie outlined where the organization sits in terms of growth. Within the next five years, he said, four retirement expansions currently underway will be complete while two more will have started. On top of that, six new or expanded long-term care homes will be under construction.

“That’s a lot of growth,” Jamie said, “and as challenging as it is to find land and acquire it . . . and as challenging as it is to design to the Schlegel standard and to construct efficiently and effectively our beautiful villages, the most challenging bit and the part that I lose sleep over is the people piece.”

The leaders recognized this year and the cohorts who came before and will come after represent the future of the organization, and their dedication to the service of others continues to pave the path to a new culture of aging in our communities. As caregivers, they all inspire a sense of pride within a proud organization.