The team members and leaders at the heart of Village life are the keepers of the Schlegel Villages culture; they live our values in the service of residents and they drive the organization’s mission forward every day.
For this culture to continue to evolve and spread, especially as Schlegel Villages expands into new cities across the province, it is imperative that natural leaders among the team members offering direct support to residents are given the opportunity to learn and grow from within.
“In every neighbourhood of every Village, we see these wonderful, committed team members giving the best of themselves to others,” says Christy Parsons, Vice President of People with Schlegel Villages. “To meet the challenges and demands of the present and the future in terms of staffing our Villages with the best people that align with our values and our culture, we need to nurture our leaders from within.”
It is this philosophy that drives the commitment of the organization to hire eight out of every 10 leaders from within, and there are some wonderful stories of growth opportunities to share.
Augustin’s Story of Growth
Augustin is the quintessential caregiver – a nurse with a calm demeanor that can put anyone he connects with at ease. This was evident in the first moments he began working as a charge nurse in Long-Term Care at The Village of Humber Heights; when an opportunity to help lead the clinical team at the Village of Erin Meadows as an assistant director of care opened up, Augustin was a logical name put forth. His path would then carry him to Sandalwood Park as Director of Care and Interim General Manager before he moved to Tansley Woods as Assistant General Manager.
Augustin’s natural focus on resident and team member well-being brought him to The Schlegel Villages Support Office where he could influence teams as a Clinical Specialist and in early 2021, he was offered the opportunity to serve the entire organization as Director of Clinical Services.
“When I’m looking at the list of values for our organization, the one that pops up the most is caring,” says Ripu Phull, Assistant General Manager at The Village of Tansley Woods who, in many ways, grew into her role under Augustin’s quiet mentorship. “Augustin does everything with his heart; those who work closely with him know that he cares about you, generally, as a person first. He’s invested in your growth as a person in life.”
Augustin believes the meaningful relationships he has built and nurtured over the years with residents, mentors, and fellow team members offer his greatest source of contentment.
“It adds to life,” he says of each relationship. “It adds to me as a person. I have been blessed to have done multiple roles at multiple locations and each village and each role has added to my experience and I feel that that is a great blessing.”
Luke’s Story of Growth
Luke began his journey with Schlegel Villages in recreation at The Village of Winston Park and he has since grown through many roles in different Villages, from Director of Recreation to Director of Environmental Services to General Manager.
“I’ve had five different Village transitions and seven different role transitions in a very compressed period of time and with that comes a lot of change,” Luke says. “It requires you to adapt quickly and I didn’t know going into those that I had the ability to get to know people quickly and focus on those relationships.”
It is the relationships among team members and residents that have always offered Luke his greatest rewards, and no matter what role he has held, those relationships have been foundational.
“I’m so proud to work for Schlegel Village because we are a values-based organization and that really guides us in everything that we do,” Luke says. “That’s unique when I think of a lot of organizations I’ve worked for in the past. This is a big part of my identity of who I am as a person, and I’m proud to talk about where I work and who I am.”
Chris-Anne’s Story of Growth
Chris-Anne has served the residents and team members of Schlegel Villages for more than 25 years in the Waterloo Region. She began as a newly graduated Registered Nurse in The Village of Winston Park and navigated many new opportunities there.
“I’m proud to work at Schlegel Villages because I feel part of a family,” Chris-Anne says. “I feel cared for I feel that I’ve been invested in, that I’ve had the opportunity to grow and learn to become a better person professionally and personally.”
She was honoured to be offered the position of General Manager at The Village at University Gates when it opened in 2015 and she has overseen the successful expansion there from Long-Term Care alone to a full continuum of care offering all levels of retirement services.
“When I think about Chris-Anne’s career with Schlegel Villages,” says Joanne Potts, Vice-President of Operations with Schlegel Villages, “it really comes down to a deep-seeded commitment and faith that the mission that we have and the work we are doing is making a difference in people’s lives.”
Terence’s Story of Growth
Hospitality is in Terence’s nature, and he was a logical fit for the service of residents when he joined the Village of Arbour Trails as a front-line team member in the kitchen and dining room in 2014. His attention to detail and his desire to learn and grow was quickly apparent and he led the opening of The Ruby in the Village of Erin Meadows in 2018, creating an authentic restaurant experience for residents and guests alike.
“My growth with Schlegel Villages as a front-line team member to a Director of Hospitality involved a lot of transformation,” says Terence, who moved into the director role at Erin Meadows in 2021.
“The philosophy of servant leadership has surprised me the most, because I have taken that philosophy and embedded it in my day-to-day service as a leader in the Village,” he says. “I do not walk in front of the team, I do not walk behind the team, but I walk beside the team making sure that I am supporting the team and that is why I find the Village atmosphere unique.
“I’m proud to work at Schlegel Villages because it has created an amazing environment where I feel loved, respected and accepted the way I am,” he says.
Dan’s Story of Growth
Dan’s background as a Kinesiologist has served him well throughout his journey with Schlegel Villages, helping him progress not only through the Village of Taunton Mills, where he has spent most of his career, but also through the central Schlegel Villages Support Office, where he focused on Health and Safety.
Dan has worked in several leadership roles at Taunton Mills, always eager to capitalize on any new opportunity to learn more about Village life.
“My journey is not something that’s been scripted or pre-planned,” Dan says. “I’ve moved into a number of different roles during my time here and I think the biggest part was to be flexible and have an open mind as these different roles became available.
“I’ve been proud to be in a number of different roles and to positively impact our residents,” he adds. “Seeing that positive impact on the residents has been meaningful for me along the way and has given me a sense of life purpose.”
Michelle’s Story of Growth
“I’m surprised with the direction that my career has taken over the years,” Michelle says. “It’s really neat that your career doesn’t have to be linear with Schlegel Villages; it doesn’t have to follow one specific path.”
Michelle first joined the organization as a Registered Nurse at The Village of Glendale Crossing and eventually chose to pursue a position as a Wellness Coordinator at The Village of Wentworth Heights. She wasn’t successful when she first applied, however, but months later, she was welcomed into the position in the Wentworth Heights Retirement Home, where she was a perfect fit.
“I always imagined that I would continue down a clinical path within the organization,” Michelle says, “but once I moved into retirement and I started learning more about the continuum model, I gained a deeper interest in continuum operations and today, I’m supporting in the capacity of the General Manager.”
She’s had the opportunity to see many other team members evolve into different roles and has been proud to learn from them as well as support them.
“Schlegel Villages is leading the way in culture change, in innovation and in quality of life for the seniors that live in our communities and that’s so amazing,” she says. “It’s an organization that truly lives up to its values and every day I’m just thankful to be part of such a caring community.”
Ted’s Story of Growth
As the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing with Schlegel Villages, Ted supports the growth of the organization across all Villages, but he began more than 20 years ago as recreation student, not sure he was even interested in working in a seniors’ environment. When he began at The Village of Winston Park, however, he was immediately drawn to the relationships he built with residents. Whether as team member, director or manager with the central Support Office, these relationships are what Ted thrives on, and he has channelled that passion into successful social campaigns, such as the successful #ElderWisdom events over several years.
“I’m proud to work at Schlegel Villages and take my own seat on the green bench to listen to the stories of our seniors, the wisdom that’s offered through our podcast, through the green bench program, or just in general at the Villages,” Ted says.
“Schlegel Villages is one large community, one large family across Ontario,” he adds. “I love when the organization as a whole comes together to learn during conferences to welcome resident and families to participate in those conferences.”