The 2016 Shining Stars are employees who improve the quality of life at Gardant communities.
They put residents first and embrace the company values of love and compassion. Gardant Management Solutions shines brighter because of their commitment to ensuring the men and women who live at our communities are treated with the dignity they deserve.
This year’s Shining Star winners are:
1st Place: Amanda Elliott, Cambridge House of Swansea
2nd Place: Ann Matravers, Heritage Woods of Batavia
3rd Place: Rosa Salazar, Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook
Read the nominations below to learn more about why these stars were nominated.
1st Place – Cambridge House of Swansea
There are many employees who make a difference in the residents’ lives, but Amanda Elliott stands out above all the rest as the brightest shining star.
Amanda began her career with Cambridge House of Swansea as a dietary aide almost three years ago. She was a fast learner, and residents liked her right away. They were drawn to her unique sense of humor.
This summer, Amanda was asked to cook part time. The dietary manager saw something in her and decided to invest in extra training for Amanda. She not only stepped into the position, but again, quickly proved herself and was promoted to full-time cook.
While we were experiencing a staffing shortage in the dietary department, Amanda was the first to pick up shifts and do what was necessary to get the job done without being asked. Her coworkers responded well to her being in a leadership position, making it an easy transition for everyone.
When the dietary manager considered canceling a trip to visit her children, Amanda volunteered to cover several shifts and recruited other staff members to do the same. Amanda also mentors new staff – even in other departments, further showing how invested she is to making the community shine bright!
In addition to being a Shining Star among our staff, our Shining Star also shows kindness to residents. Amanda lost her mother to breast cancer earlier this year. She managed to handle that tragedy and still give us her all. She is a mother to two young boys, and after working many hours here each week, Amanda finds time to help a resident who does not have any family. She comes in on her own time to help this resident go shopping and organize things in her apartment. The resident, who refers to Amanda as her daughter, says that Amanda is her angel and she doesn’t know what she would do without her.
We had another resident who was leaving for surgery and rehab. Amanda came in (on her day off with another staff member) to eat lunch with him and let him know she would be thinking about him the next day. Just last week, a resident had food spilled on her jacket. Amanda took the jacket home to wash it and remove the stain. She didn’t say a word, and she certainly didn’t have to volunteer to do it. She just did. She is never looking for thanks or to be rewarded.
Cambridge House is full of employees who could be recognized for their work and dedication. Over time, the leadership team at the community has watched Amanda learn and grow as a person and employee, standing out as a star. She is a valuable member of their team. Although she would say that what she does is no big deal, it is a big deal to everyone at Cambridge House. Amanda shows her devotion and dedication every day, and the staff says it is a blessing to have her there to brighten the days of those around her.
2nd Place – Heritage Woods of Batavia
Ann is an excellent CNA who consistently goes above and beyond her everyday duties. She has been part of the Heritage Woods team for two years, and from the beginning, she has been enthusiastic and responsive to the needs of residents and the community.
On her off days, she picks vegetables from her garden, and you can often see Ann bringing in fresh zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers or kale for residents. She is also a good seamstress and will take home clothing that needs to be mended. This fall, she brought in four huge boxes of pumpkin spice creamers for residents to enjoy with their coffee.
She routinely volunteers to go on outings with our activity department, including a recent trip to the Kane County Cougars baseball game. Ann doesn’t just go along for the trips, she actively engages with residents, jokes with them and helps out with the task of getting on and off the bus or whatever is needed. She has a kind heart, and the residents enjoy her company. She, in turn, genuinely cares for them.
Besides helping out with resident care, Ann is quick to assist other departments. Recently, she helped serve food in the dining room to assist the dietary department and in cleaning apartments for housekeeping. She has volunteered to be an “ambassador” by recording blood pressure readings during monthly Senior Services luncheons. The nursing department also depends on Ann. She is helpful with orientation for new certified nursing staff. She does odd jobs to make the day go smoother for the nurses, such as filing, transporting residents to and from the office, running errands and working late to cover shifts.
Ann deserves to recognized as a shining star. She is in tune with the needs of everyone she comes in contact with. She does things without being asked, often times spends her own money and does not ask for anything in return. On top of everything she does at the community, she also works as a lifeguard at a Girl Scout Camp and does volunteer work through her church. Ann is truly an asset to Heritage Woods and the community.
3rd Place – Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook
Rosa Salazar has been a member of the housekeeping staff at Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook since 2012. She exemplifies teamwork with a capital “T”, and although she is a part-time employee, she receives just as many compliments as a staff member who is at the community every day.
Armed with a “can-do” attitude, you will always see Rosa greeting residents, family members, vendors and the staff with a beaming smile and a big hello, calling everyone by name. It makes residents and their family members feel special when she takes the time to get to know them.
It is a pleasure to cross paths with Rosa because she makes everyone feel right at home. Rosa has taken the time to learn something special or unique about each resident. It may be where they were born, their lifestyle or a specific way they want their pillows placed on their beds. She never complains when she has to adjust the blinds three times, or move slippers a little this way or that, nor will she search for the negative in people.
Any time a manager or coworker has an issue or needs a little extra help, Rosa is glad to assist. She shows self-initiative and sets an excellent example for her peers. Rosa can also be seen among the building helping others, willingly teaming up on housekeeping projects and directing new employees with patience and understanding.
You can tell Rosa has a wonderful rapport with the residents because they are very comfortable asking her for help, especially if it is something out of the ordinary. When new residents move in, Rosa is always there to make sure they are settled in and answer any questions they may have on those first few days as they get used to their new home. It is so reassuring for new residents to have a supportive housekeeper ready to help them get settled in and organized.
Rosa is dedicated and determined to be at work every day, even riding her bicycle to work sometimes in the winter to make sure she is on time. Rosa is hardworking and willing to go the extra mile to make the community shine. Rosa has stopped in the middle of her routine schedule when an apartment needed to be cleaned in 30 minutes for a last-minute tour. She pitched in to help the marketing director get the apartment ready to ensure the community made a good first impression on their guests. Without missing a beat, Rosa then returned back to the common areas of the building to present the spotless community, this future resident’s new home, with pride. Rosa has been known to return dishes to the kitchen from manager’s offices and resident apartments, washing them without anyone asking. She waters flowers throughout the community and feeds birds while residents are at the hospital or in rehab. Rosa is nonjudgmental and looks for the good in all, which makes her a pleasure to work with and makes every interaction with her a lovely experience.