Skip to Content

Make Your Mark: Brenda Griffin, age 77, a receptionist, friend and linchpin

Brenda GriffinThe mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In doing so, they “make their mark” upon those we serve. In our continuing series, “Make your Mark,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values.

In today’s Make Your Mark spotlight, we share a story about Brenda Griffin, a part-time receptionist at SummerWood of Chanhassen in Minnesota. With a servant’s heart, she re-entered the workforce after retiring. Now stationed near the front entry, at 77 Brenda changes the trajectory of countless people’s days with her warm greetings, joyful laughter and overall service excellence, a PHS value.

“Brenda makes everyone feel welcome and special — whether you are the site leader or a part-time community support assistant like me,” says Christy Quiner. Upon arriving for her screening, she often found Brenda in conversation with a resident. Christy says, “She does more than sit behind a desk and take temperatures — she is here to be friends with the residents. Brenda's friendly, outgoing nature makes an impact, but even more so during COVID. Although the residents are unable to meet with friends outside of social distanced groups on-site, they have a caring friend in Brenda.”

Molly Reverman, Human Resources Manager, works closely with Brenda and says, “She brings a much needed ‘lightness’ into the stressful times so many of us have experienced during COVID.” Molly adds that not only is Brenda uplifting, she’s a hard worker, saying, “Brenda has a servant’s heart and will ‘do whatever it takes’ — whether that means staying late to make sure a resident receives a delivery, stopping at the store before work to pick up a few newspapers for residents (just in case our carrier doesn’t bring enough) or taking the time to visit with a resident who she knows could use a little extra attention. Even in something as simple as screening an employee coming into work, Brenda can put a smile on their face and can help start their day off on a positive path.”

Brenda and nurse MichelleCampus Administrator Amy Stock sings Brenda’s praises — as well as all receptionists and community screeners across PHS. “Receptionists have one of the toughest jobs in my eyes,” she says, “especially during a pandemic: answering the phones, screening at the door, scheduling outdoor and essential caregiver visits, taking work orders, sorting and delivering mail and 100 other things as they come up! ALL THESE TASKS yet Brenda does it with a bounce in her step, making it look easy!” Amy concludes, “A HUGE shout out to all the reception staff out there in the front lines!” (Pictured left: Brenda and nurse Michelle Johnson prepare Easter "treat bags" for residents.)

Unsurprisingly, Brenda sees the bright side of COVID. She says, “Since COVID-19 happened, we are screening all staff and family members. This has allowed me to learn names of staff and family members who I never knew. My favorite part is greeting the residents when they come to the lobby, just seeing the smile on their faces, asking them how their day is going and if I can help in any way.”

She explains, “When COVID started, my [family worried] but I told them that when I go in and make one resident smile, then it’s worthwhile. Besides, I have had a good life and if God takes me tomorrow, I’m ready.”

We at PHS couldn’t be more grateful for Brenda and all our receptionists, community screeners and employees who make their mark by offering service excellence that brightens people’s days. We also celebrate National Older Workers Week, which recognizes the vital role of older workers 55 and over. Together we applaud more than 1,600 PHS employees who are 55 and over!

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at

Rated #1 employer in Minnesota by Forbes!

Back to top