Boss vs Leader


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 It’s a common experience across all industries, and one that has become outdated.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 Best at Bringing Us Good People


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.


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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4 Essential Career Planning Tips: Industry Stability Drives Upward Mobility


My car is fourteen, and sometimes I can’t tell if the funny noises are coming from under the hood or the radio.  Buying an unfamiliar one seems scary.  After all, it got me from point A to point B for many years and only recently has had issues.  With the wrong new car, I’m stuck.  In the same way, starting a new career can be scary, but staying in one that isn’t working can feel like you’re stuck.

At Brookdale, we have years of company longevity under our belt like my car but with a future accelerating at full speed.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, there Americans 65+ will be about 72.1 million people by 2030, doubling from year 2000.  This doesn’t just make senior living a stable place to work; it makes it an evolving industry, gaining momentum in its variety and innovation. Not to toot our own horns here, but Brookdale—four times that of our next leading competitor–simply leads the way in this industry, allowing associates to create their own career roadmap.  Whether it’s moving locations within one of our 1,800+ communities and several corporate offices or networking with one of our 80,000+ associates, you’re never stuck at Brookdale.

So, how can you take the steering wheel and drive when the industry is good for the long hall?

Practice strategic patience

“Sometimes you have to wait until things play out while not losing your drive,” says Jared Klein, Brookdale’s Manager of Talent Management.  Part of finding out what you want to do is finding out what you do not like to do.”

*A general rule of thumb:  stay in your current role for at least a year if you are looking for a promotion within your department and stay in that role two years if you are looking for a promotion into another department.

Be a go-getter.  Really.

To stand out more, be excited to learn from those who are more familiar with the industry, volunteer for projects, be open to change and take classes.  Brookdale offers tuition reimbursement programs, and there’s a plethora of free online classes and webinars.  Show you’re passionate, learning as much as you can.

Build rapport with leaders.

“Be assertive, not aggressive,” stresses Meredith Graham, Director of Talent Management.  “It could be too early to ask for a promotion, but it’s never too early to build rapport without any agenda among leaders.”

Develop a plan.

“Everyone owns their own career.  Partner with your supervisor to create a plan, and put it in writing,” says Graham.  “What’s scheduled gets done.”


Now that you know the engine works and the steering wheel is in your hands, there is just one question left.  Where will you drive?

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