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.
“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.Share this: