What happens when you ask the Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) Recruiting Team why they’re passionate about finding great people to join the PHS family? You find a treasure trove of inspiration! Each Central Recruiting Team member reflected on one word that summarizes their “why” and shared the story behind it.
Meghan Benson - “Passion”
“I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. I have always been a friendly person and knew that I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives, I just wasn’t sure how. I remember when I was about 5 years old, when someone first asked me, ‘what do you want to be when you are older?’ I said a bus driver! My answer changed to a daycare provider, to a therapist, to a neonatal nurse, after that, I was unsure. When applying to college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I was accepted to Minnesota State University of Moorhead, toured the campus and knew that God led me there. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I took “Intro to Gerontology” that I found something I was truly passionate about. After graduation, my path led me to PHS and I am humbled to be here. I love working in recruiting because I learn why others are passionate about their careers. It is so rewarding to help someone find the next step in their career path while also finding compassionate employees to serve alongside.”
Meghan Benson joined PHS in 2017, focusing on both clinical and culinary recruiting.
Angela Firnstahl – “Sincerity”
“I started working with PHS while in college and quickly fell in love with the company. I appreciate being a part of a company that sincerely and humbly walks the walk of its values. I strive to serve and do meaningful work that impacts people’s lives. The best part is that I get to do it while being encouraged, challenged, and feeling sincerely valued. Throughout my years at PHS I have seen the heart of our ministry lived out at every level; enriching the lives of residents, employees, families, volunteers and community members. I feel blessed to be a part of this work family that sees serving as a privilege and a calling. I have witnessed our PHS values as they are lived out daily. PHS’ sincere caring for older adults and employees is ‘My Why.’”
Angela joined PHS in 2007 and became a member of the recruiting team in 2014.
Faith Fraijo – “Support”
“Growing up, my grandma lived with us for 5 years and I witnessed firsthand the burnout my mom experienced as her primary caregiver. It was difficult for my grandma to accept the changing dynamic as she declined and she needed her daughter’s help. . When the time came for my grandma to transition to assisted living, I knew how hard that was for my mom and how much guilt she felt for no longer being able to care for her.
“When I joined PHS, I saw how the little things made a big impact on families and residents and how the staff walk alongside them in this difficult process. I choose to work as a recruiter because I want our communities filled with employees who want to make a difference. Providing support to those residents and their families is ‘My Why.’”
Faith Fraijo joined PHS in 2012 and became a member of the Central Recruiting Team in 2019.
Julie Freeberg – “Journey”
“’My Why’ started over 10 years ago, before I knew how important PHS was going to be in my life. I was in high school, just finished my lifeguard training and was trying to find a job close to home. A family friend suggested I check out Boutwells Landing. I had never heard of it and had no idea what the building was; I just thought it was a huge castle. Long story short, I got the job and have been with PHS for over 10 years!
“I never knew going to work could be so enjoyable! I was always excited to see the residents, getting to know them and their families was the highlight of my day. I built great relationships at PHS and soon realized that it wasn’t just a part time job for me anymore; it was a career. At PHS, I found something that gave my life meaning.
“I’ve been a lifeguard at the pool, helped family and residents at the reception desk, completed an internship for college, hired and onboarded new employees, recruited applicants who are passionate about serving the residents. Now, I am leading a great team with the same values. I know I am right where I need to be.”
Julie Freeberg joined PHS in 2009 and now manages the Central Recruiting Team.
Kelly Patraw – “Advocate”
“I have always been drawn to helping older adults, whether it was out at a store or in the community. I felt protective of them and wanted to be there to lend a hand if they were in need. It wasn’t until I started working at The Deerfield as a resident assistant, that I really understood the passion I have for older adults; being an advocate for them and making sure they are cared for.
“My career path has transitioned a couple of times since I started with PHS and I am now a recruiter, but with every call, my heart is focused on the residents and advocating for the right people to serve them
the way I would want my loved one cared for.”
Kelly Patraw joined PHS in 2005 and has served in a variety of roles, joining the Central Recruiting Team in 2015.
Natalie Strese – “Family”
“When I was younger, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career and life. I have a love for people and a passion for making their days brighter but didn’t know where that would lead. It was when my grandparents had some health complications and needed transition to long term care that I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of older adults. There were times when my grandparents did not receive the best care, and that drove me to pursue a degree in Health Care Administration. I wanted to be able to improve the lives of residents like my grandparents and be an advocate to those without a voice.
“After my grandparents passed away in care centers that were not a part of PHS, I became more passionate than ever. There is truly nothing better than helping put a smile on a resident’s face! I often think about my grandparents, Jack and Evelyn and I know that they are looking down on me and smiling that I answered the call to enrich the lives and touch the hearts of older adults with PHS.”
Natalie joined PHS in 2015 and became a member of the Central Recruiting Team in 2017.
Maria Weinand – “Consistency”
“Everyone has a unique story. ‘My Why’ as Nurse Recruiter at PHS is genuinely wanting to know more about people. I love listening and relating to others. I get joy from celebrating people’s lives and sometimes providing comfort to pain from past job experiences. I feel naturally inspired to determine if individuals are a mutually good fit for PHS and how they might contribute to our ministry.
“PHS feels like family. I have served for a little over four years but nearly 20% of employees have been here 10 or more. Serving with compassion, reflecting the love of God and doing what is right because it is the right thing to do are my favorite values at PHS.
“I have the opportunity to enrich lives through every job posting, every reviewed application and every phone conversation that I have with potential candidates. It is a beautiful way to honor God and people. It truly is the accumulation of consistent little things that make a huge difference.
Maria Weinand joined PHS in 2015 and focuses primarily on nurse recruitment.
Joseph Wuertz – “Thrive”
“I have experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs in my own life and I have seen others go through life challenges. Through the highs and lows, I’ve discovered what enables me to thrive: finding meaning and purpose in my life. I want to help others in that pursuit. I believe that PHS is a workplace that can bring meaning and purpose to the lives of every employee. I want to help those that I contact to reach a place where they can truly thrive at PHS. This is ’My Why.’”
Joseph Wuertz is the newest member of the recruiting team, focusing primarily on culinary and resident assistant recruitment.
The Presbyterian Homes & Services Central Recruiting Team was formed in 2015 in a proactive response to the shortage of qualified workers in older adult services. Since its inception, the team has interviewed over 20 thousand candidates, selecting the best for PHS.
What gives your life purpose?
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