Housekeeper Job Leads to Executive Director Position

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Four years after joining Brookdale as a housekeeper Ashley Woodcox was offered the position of executive director, the top job at an assisted living community in Marion, IN. Her career advancement story is just one example of the opportunities associates find at Brookdale, a company that supports employee growth, rewards hard work and looks to promote from within. Ashley’s transition from cleaning rooms to calling the shots at a Brookdale community illustrates how a good first impression, strong relationships and dedication can lead to the fulfillment of career goals.

While studying healthcare administration at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ashley developed an interest in senior living. Veering away from the hospital industry was a career move that separated her from many classmates.

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Ashley Woodcox

“I felt like if I went into the hospital field I’d be in a cubicle pushing papers for years and years and years,” she said.

Ashley started taking classes to become a certified nursing assistant in the summer of 2010, and decided to seek a position at a local nursing home. She applied at all of the Bloomington area’s senior living centers and visited several in person to see if they had any openings. The last place she checked out was Brookdale Bloomington.

“I rang the bell and a nurse came to the door,” Ashley said. “She looked at me and said, ‘Oh hey, it’s you.’ I felt like she knew me, but we’d never met. I told her I was looking for a job and she went on and on about how the residents are awesome and she had actually taken a pay-cut to work here because she loved the place so much. From then on I was set on working at Brookdale. It was the only place I wanted to work.”

Ashley took a job as a housekeeper and, after getting her license, she began working as a CNA. Brookdale offered her a flexible schedule, allowing her to pursue a degree while picking up shifts on weekends or days when she didn’t have classes. She eventually worked up the courage to ask Cheryl Sarver, the executive director at the time, if she could do an internship.

“I knew at that point that I wanted to do what she did,” Ashley said. “I walked up to the front area five or six times then finally went over to her and asked her how people become an administrator and told her I really wanted to do an internship there. She didn’t hesitate. She said, ‘Yes, I’m a preceptor.’”

That internship helped Ashley develop an understanding of what it would take to become an executive director and allowed her to build a relationship with Cheryl Sarver, who eventually became a guiding force along her career path. After graduating, Ashley became a sales manager, then a marketing director at another company before being given the chance to become an executive director with Brookdale.

Cheryl, who is currently a district director of operations, says she and other Brookdale leaders are always looking for associates with drive, ambition and determination. Five out of the 12 executive directors that Cheryl oversees were promoted to their positions. Cheryl said she knew Ashely had leadership potential from the moment she was hired.

“I knew that she was an individual with the passion and the drive to succeed in this business,” Cheryl said. “She had her future pretty much thought out and that impressed me. She was using her initial job as a ladder to take her career where she wanted it to go.”

While she relishes her job as executive director, especially the relationships she has with residents and their families, Ashley said she’s open to further advancement. Brookdale is a company where Ashley, and anyone with the drive to succeed, can reach new career heights.

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Boss vs Leader

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We don’t typically circulate internal documents, but this one is too good to keep inside Brookdale’s walls. It illustrates an ongoing cultural shift towards a leadership model that empowers, supports and encourages employees. It was handed out during a recent meeting with top executives, who are focused on developing our associates and opening doors of opportunity within the company. Entitled “Don’t be a Boss, Be a Leader,” this document outlines the actions our supervisors are asked to take and the standard which they are judged against.

If you’ve spent any significant time in the workforce you’ve likely run into a boss. You know, someone who seems highly talented at barking out orders, making sure everyone knows he or she is in charge and demands work comes before family. It’s a common experience across all industries, and one that has become outdated. This style of leadership is well suited in the military, but in a company built on compassion and improving lives it just doesn’t work.

“If you dont’ have a heart and aren’t giving more than your taking you aren’t a servant leader,” said Bill Gargiulo, VP of Talent Development at Brookdale. “That really is at the center of who we are as a company.”

We find it refreshing that Brookdale took the time to create this document and that our leadership team is encouraging supervisors to become servant leaders. We invite you to take a look at how Brookdale managers are encouraged to lead by example, listen to the associates they supervise and ensure they have the tools they need to succeed. Whether you’re thinking about joining our team or not, consider what kind of person you want to work for, and if you want to be a boss or a leader.

(Click on the image below to open the full pdf.)

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The Difference Making Culture at Brookdale Communities

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We’re constantly amazed, notice I didn’t say surprised, by the ways our associates make a difference in the lives of the seniors they care for. There’s Rogerio, who got an otherwise quiet resident to sing with him. There’s Emily, who puts smiles on the faces of dementia care residents every morning by asking them to fill in the punchline of jokes. And there’s Shane, a bus driver who keeps his passengers entertained during rides with stories and jazz music.

While Brookdale is focused on the single mission of enriching the lives of our residents, we know there are many ways this can be achieved. We place great value on having a diverse team of people united by a passion to serve. There are literally thousands of opportunities for you to make a difference at Brookdale.

[Find the right position for you on the Brookdale Careers Job Search Page.]

You can see for yourself. Just take a look at these videos to see what Brookdale associates have to say about their jobs and the difference they are making.

 

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The Best at Bringing Us Good People

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We’ve been doing pretty well at finding good people, but we could be better. During the last 12 months Brookdale associates have referred more than 4,585 people through the Good People Program that were eventually hired.

Nearly 4,000 associates have made referrals. While we think everyone who’s referred a friend or family member to Brookdale deserves recognition, there are a few associates who’ve been nothing short of great at bringing us good people. We just had to share their stories.

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Genny Saint Juste
Business Office Coordinator, Brookdale West Palm Beach

Genny leads the pack when it comes to referring good people to Brookdale. She recruited eight associates in just eight months. She’s been with Brookdale since May of 2015 and has made a great impact. Well done Genny. She said referring people to Brookdale has been a way for her to pay forward the kindness of others, when she was looking for a more rewarding career.

“I needed a job and someone helped me, so I figure the best thing I can do is help someone else,” Genny said. “I explain to them how nice working with the managers here is and how wonderful the seniors are. It’s also easy to get a promotion at Brookdale and the experience you gain is life changing.”

When it comes to finding people to refer to Brookdale Genny looks for people in her neighborhood who she knows have a caring disposition. Once they are hired she checks in with them during their orientation period, letting them know she’s available to answer any questions they have.

Ashley Bassue
Receptionist, Horizon Bay Altamonte Spgs, FL

Having worked for Brookdale as a care aide, lead med tech and now a receptionist, Ashley Bassue has gotten to know our company’s culture. She’s referred several people to Brookdale, five of which were ultimately hired. Ashley’s best marketing tool is a bit more obvious than you’d think. Simply wearing her Brookdale ID badge has started many conversations that led to opportunities.

“It actually started as an accident,” Ashley explains. “I just forgot to take my badge off, and I was walking by and someone stopped me and asked if I worked for Brookdale.”

Since that first “accident” Ashley has made a point of keeping her badge on while she picks up groceries after work, or walks through her neighborhood. She’s find that people see it and become interested in who she works for and what she does there. When she finds someone who she feels would be a good fit she asks them to apply for a job.

“A lot of times you can tell within the first minutes of talking  to someone where their head is at,” Ashley said. “From there I’ll develop more of a relationship with them and can see if they are someone I should refer.”

Brandon Appling
Resident Care Associate, Brookdale Genesee Vally, Flint, MI

With Brookdale for more than two years, Brandon Appling has developed strong relationships with many residents. He enjoys hearing their stories and helping them with daily activities. He takes great pride in the work that he does, so when it comes to referring people to his supervisors he wants to make sure he’s picking the right ones.

“I’ve got to know they have a good work history,” Brandon said. “I have to know they are hard workers, even if they’ve fallen on bad times. Anyone that wants to work should be able to, but I’ve got to know them and know they are not going to mess up my name.”

Appling has referred four people to Brookdale who ended up accepting job offers. Two of those people are family members, his daughter-in-law and his sister. He’s also referred good friends.

Here’s a few tips from these stellar associates for anyone interested in recruiting good people to Brookdale.

 

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How Nurses Deal with Loss

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By David Sanchez, Brookdale Hospice Care Coordinator

One of the most common challenges nurses struggle with in their work is experiencing death in the workplace. Often, this experience brings the very real experience of grief, a strong sense of loss for the patient. Unfortunately this grief is often disenfranchised or unacknowledged. The nurse may find themselves having to bottle up the loss and push forward, usually that same day. As the losses come, we stack those traumas until we inevitably experience burnout or compassion fatigue. Recognizing the significance of death in the workplace and taking steps to process the losses can strengthen a nurse’s coping abilities and can help continue to make the work meaningful not draining.nurses (1)

Compassion comes from the Latin word “to co-suffer” and is an apt reminder that when we care for others, we can feel great pain ourselves. When we make a connection with a patient and their family we will experience loss when the patient dies. The common symptoms of grief: loss of focus, heightened emotions, fatigue, distraction, etc. can affect the life of a nurse at work and at home. Compassion fatigue occurs when we are emotionally tired but continue to do demanding physical and emotional care. It’s similar to being “in the red” and instead of stopping to re-charge our batteries, we simply chug along. Even though it’s been identified as a real experience for decades, it’s often been considered simply “the cost of care”.

The way that a nurse can support herself through the traumatization of multiple losses in the workplace is to find positive ways to express the grief. Grief needs to be expressed since the alternate approach, bottling the feelings, leads to compassion fatigue. Grief is expressed in whatever way speaks to the strength of the nurse. Sometimes nurses write a letter to patient, getting out in words their feelings of connection. Some nurses plant a garden to symbolize the people served or meet with co-workers to toast someone significant or bring in a pot luck of their favorite foods. Creating a ritual to express the grief and to celebrate the person who impacted their life helps deal with the long term effects of caregiving when death occurs.

Self-care is the other necessary component of dealing with grief and avoiding compassion fatigue. Nurses are givers by nature and learning how to take care of yourself is a critical skill. Re-charging our batteries keeps us strong as caregivers and can be done as a small, daily activity. The music we take time to listen to in our car, the treat we give ourselves at the end of the day, the breathing exercises we do as we remove our badge are all ways we can take a minute here and there to re-charge. Even taking 10 minutes to stop and drink a coffee instead of drinking as we go can make a huge difference in our mood. Self-care should be fun and energizing and individualized to the nurse.

Recognizing grief, committing time for self care, and finding support from peers can help all nurses navigate a death in the workplace so that they can continue the meaningful work of care.

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Former Hospital Nurse Bonds to Senior Living

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Like many nurses who’ve joined Brookdale, Whitni Allen was looking to leave behind the stress of the hospital environment and toll of being on her feet for 12-hour shifts. Allen, the health and wellness director at Brookdale Texarkana, found that a career in assisted living came with an even better benefit, the opportunity to create close bonds with the residents she cares for.

“In a long-term setting you get to know your residents and really create a relationship with them,” Allen said. “You get to know their families too. Where in the hospital setting the turnover could be daily.” nurses (1)

Allen’s role as a health and wellness director is a depature from more traditional nurse work, which centers on hand-on care. She uses her nurse experience to manage and make strategic decisions about the community’s direction and culture. The choice to leave the hospital scene and take a leadership position is one that Allen feels good about for a number of reasons.

“The 12-hour shifts and having to be on your feet all day is what drove me away from the hospital,” Allen said. “No one can do that forever. Plus the money is better in long-term care than it is in the hospital.”

Allen leads 10 resident care associates who provide direct care, conducts health assessments, oversees medication management and helps hire and train new team members. Building relationships is a key aspect of her job.

“I talk to residents’ families all the time,” she said. “Not only do I let them know if there is a change in their loved one’s health status, I will call when positive things happen. When a resident begins to blossom here, make new friends, get involved in new activities, I let their families know.”

Most important to Allen is creating bonds with the seniors. “When I arrive in the morning, I go into the dining room where they are having breakfast and help pass out coffee so I can say hello to everyone and see how they are. If a resident isn’t there, I check to see if they are all right. Sometimes what someone needs is a hug to let them know they are loved.”

She has suggested to other nurses that they consider working at Brookdale. “This company is concerned about its associates and does what’s needed to help us succeed. Brookdale really makes us feel appreciated.”

Search for opportunities to make a difference on our job search page.

 

 

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Nurse Finds A Sense of Purpose at Brookdale

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When many people look at person living with dementia all they see is the disease. Rebecca Gawlik, a nurse at Brookdale Belle Meade’s Clare Bridge caring program in Nashville, TN, wants to change that. While Gawlik’s daily responsibilities include administering medications and helping residents take part in art, exercise and memory programs she’s made it a mission to show others that dementia patients have something to give. nurses (1)

“They deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, to live their life with dignity,” Gawlik said. “People don’t always understand that someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is still a person. They don’t see that the person used to be a pilot or a television host or a veterinaria. All they see is the disease.”

During her two years with Brookdale Gawlik has gained a deeper understanding of dementia and sees that, with the right kind of care, life can continue to be meaningful for those living with the disease. Playing such an integral role in the lives of Brookdale residents, Gawlik has built relationships with them and their families. She says the best part of her job is making connections with her patients.

“When I leave every day, I feel like I have a purpose,” Gawlik said. “I feel I did my best and that I made a difference in someone’s day.”

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Brookdale Helps Nurses Pay off Student Loans

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What if you had $7,000 to put towards student loans?

That’s what Brookdale Senior Living is offering all nurses who are hired as health and wellness directors. It’s an initative we’ve launched to help maintain the high quality of health care our residents receive, while the nation faces a projected nurse shortfall. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that there will be a need for more than a million nurses by 2022. The new student loan reimbursement program is just one of the ways Brookdale takes care of its nurses. nurses (1)

Especially fulfilling are the relationships our nurses make with the seniors they care for. Nurses from typical hospital settings find the Brookdale offers an opportunity to build connections and be part of a family.

KimEstes“It’s different than a hospital setting, where patients are there temporarily,” said Kim Estes, R.N., senior vice president of clinical services at Brookdale. “Because our residents live at our communities you get to know them very well. They become a part of  your extended family. There is a tremendous feelign of satisfaction when you see the difference you and your team make for them.”

Nurses with an interest in leading others and a passion for seniors easily transition into the role of a health and wellness director, even if they don’t have management experience. Brookdale offers a 12-week orientation for health and wellness directors, which provides leadership skills and quickly initiates nurses into the assisted living industry, which is full of advancement opportunities. Estes began her career as an health and wellness director.

The new initiative will reimburse up to $7,000 of a newly hired Brookdale health and wellness director’s student loans, with $3,500 provided after one year of successful service with the company and another $3,500 provided after the second year of continued achievement. The program complements the educational reimbursement program already in place at Brookdale, which provides tuition assistance to current associates with 12 months of continuous service for successful completion of undergraduate and graduate courses, certifications, licensing and continuing education units who agree to remain with the company for one year following the reimbursement. Combined, the programs seek to attract nurses, encourage continuing education, and retain and reward nursing talent.

Search for open health and wellness director positions along with other nurse openings on Brookdale’s job search page.

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I search for a job?
How do I apply for a job?
How do I verify I’ve applied for a job?
What’s the status of a job I applied for?
When will I be contacted?
How can I update my information?
How can I submit a new resume?
How do I submit my signature on the full application?
Why is the application not going to the next page?
Why won’t my resume upload?
Top Tips: 
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Login Questions:
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How do I change my password?

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for or still need help? Email helpmeapply@brookdale.com.

Common Trouble Shooting and Technical Issues:

In many cases clearing your browser’s history and cached items will solve issues with our site, especially those involving trouble entering text or making changes to your profile.

How to clear your cache.

Your internet browser will keep a cache of images and information of sites you’ve visited to help them load faster on repeat visits. When sites change an outdated cache can cause problems and prevent you from being able to see new images. Clearing your cache is the best way to make sure your computer is interacting with our site correctly. Click on the name of your browser to find out how to clear your cache.

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How to update your web browser.

In some cases you won’t be able to apply for a job if your internet browser hasn’t been updated. An older version of a browser might not be able to interact with our site, which we strive to keep updated. Click on the name of the browser you’re using to find out how to get the latest update.

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Frequently asked questions when applying for a job at Brookdale Senior Living.

How to search for a job.

1 Start by going to our search page – www.brookdalecareers.com/jobs

2 Type in the name of the position you’re looking for under “Keywords.” For example: cook, server, nurse, resident care associate, executive director, sales manager.

3 Enter the city and state you want to work in or the zip code. Be sure to spell the city correctly and use the format City, ST.

4 Broaden or tighten your search with the zip code radius. To find all jobs located around a certain city set the radius at 50 miles or larger.

5 If you are willing to relocate leave the state and city blank to see what jobs are available across the nation.

How do I apply for a job?

1 Once you find a job that meets your skill set simply click “Apply Now” under the job description while viewing a list of jobs, or click on the “Apply to this Job” button when viewing a single job page.

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2 If this is the first time you’ve applied for a job at Brookdale you’ll need to create a login and profile, which requires a valid email address, password and some basic information.

CreateProfile3 Once your profile is complete the system automatically applies you to the job you’ve selected. You’ll also be able to check the status of a job and make changes to your profile and/or resume.

4 If you already have a profile with Brookdale (even one that is a few years old) you’ll need to log in to our system. You’ll then automatically apply to the job you’ve choosen.

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How can I be sure that I’ve applied for a job?

1 You should receive an email confirming that you’ve applied for a job. It could take a few minutes for our system to send you this email.
2 You can also log in, then click “My Profile” and “View Jobs Applied.” This will show you a list of the jobs you’ve applied for as well as your status with that job.
3 If you did not receive an email, and don’t see the job under “View Jobs Applied” you have not applied for that job.

What is the status of the job I applied for?

1 Our system allows you to see the status of jobs you’ve applied for, showing you whether you’ve been submitted to a hiring manager or rejected.

2 Sign in by clicking on the “Sign In” button at http://www.brookdalecareers.com/jobs/.

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3 Log in by entering your email and password, then clicking on the “Login” button. You can also log in using Facebook or LinkedIn if that’s how you originally entered our system.

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4 Click on the “Jobs Applied” tab which will show you a listing of all jobs you’ve applied for.

5 The status will be displayed in the fourth column from the left.
(Jobs that have been closed or filled will not appear on your list.)

When will I be contacted about the position I’ve applied for?

You should receive an email a few minutes after applying for a job. Candidates how most closely match what we’re looking for will be contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager, typically within a few days after you’ve applied. You can check on the status of a job anytime following the directions above.

How can I update my information?

1 Starting at www.brookdalecareers.com/jobs, click on the “Sign In” tab then log in.

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2 Click on the “Edit Profile” tab.

3 This will bring up your profile and allow you to make changes. Be sure all fields marked with a red star are completed.

4 After making changes go to the bottom of the page and click “Submit.”

How can I submit a new resume?

1 Starting at www.brookdalecareers.com/jobs, click on the “Sign In” tab then log in.

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2 Click on the “Edit Profile” tab.

3 This will bring up your profile and allow you to make changes. Be sure all fields marked with a red star are completed.

4 Scroll down to the resume section of your profile.

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5 Choose the location of your resume and find it on your computer or device. Then click “Upload.”

6 Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “SUBMIT.” (Your resume will not be sent until you click “SUBMIT.”

How do I complete the employment application?

1 We only ask those candidates who most closely match what we’re looking for to complete our full employment application. A hiring manager or recruiter will ask you to fill this out.

2 Start by logging in with your email address and password. (We recommend gathering all of your employment history information before starting the application.)applogin

2 Click “Employment Application”

3 Be sure to complete all fields marked with a red *. These are required fields. The system should not let you go to the next page unless all required fields have been filled.

4 Sign the application after entering all of your information using the signature pad.

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5 Once you’ve signed the words “Signature OK” will appear below the box.

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6 To clear your signature and sign again hit the arrows. arrows

7. Once your signature appears the way you want it enter the date below and click “SUBMIT.”

8. Verify the application is completed by looking at the status on the page that shows up.

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Why is the application not going to the next page?

You must complete all required fields before moving to the next page of the application. After clicking “NEXT” you’ll see an message at the top of your screen notifying you if there is missing information of if you’ve not answered a question.

Why won’t my resume upload?

Our system will only accept Word (.docx), PDF or Text files.
Start by selecting where your resume is located – My Device, Dropbox or Microsoft Onedrive. (Our system does not currently support Google Drive.)
Next choose the file you want to upload. Dropbox and Microsoft Onedriver users will need to sign in to those accounts.
Please note that after selecting your resume the file name will NOT be displayed. Click Upload. Your resume will be uploaded once you complete the profile form and click “Submit” at the bottom of the page.
After completing your profile you can check to be sure your resume was uploaded, make changes or add a new resume by choosing “Edit Profile.”

*Note to mobile device users: You can only upload a resume using Dropbox or Microsoft Onedrive.

Login Questions

What’s my username?

Your username will be the email address you used to create a login and profile.

What’s my password?

1 Enter the email you used to log in.

2 Then click “Forgot my password.”

3 Your password will be emailed to you. (It may take several minutes.)

How can I change my password?

1 Enter the email you used to log in.

2 Click “Reset password.”

3 You will be asked to enter your current password and a new password.


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