We continue in our We Will series with an interview featuring two Ready & Engaged employees: Stacey Cannon and Victoria Hadley at Highland Ridge in Williamsburg, IA. Both have embraced our employee pledge to “take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow.”
We asked them to share their passion and advice on growing with Presbyterian Homes & Services.
Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS): Stacey, why do you love what you do?
Stacey Cannon (SC): I was working at a college and was interested in following God’s will for me. So, I applied at Highland Ridge as a server
, working every other weekend. Then I became a cook
and thought, This is great, now I can feed the souls of the people who I serve.
Right now, I’m an administrative receptionist. When I saw the posting about the open position, I didn’t think I’d ever get it. But I trusted that if it was God’s will, it would happen. And it did.
Some people would say this is a job. It isn’t a job. It’s a community of love, fellowship and friendship.
Now that I’m full time, I am SO excited to see all my people on a daily basis. I
see their smiles and hear their laughter. I even get to work with Victoria! I used to always see her when I was working in the kitchen. She’d be leading activities with our residents.
We ARE a family. When I came to Highland Ridge, it meant moving farther away from my physical, blood family. But I gained a bigger, broader family
Victoria Hadley (VH): Stacey was someone everybody knew, even though she was only here every other weekend as a server. When Stacey’s application came across [for administrative receptionist], we all knew Stacey was going to have the job. Because of who she was! She not only came to work [hard], but she also cared and she had the compassion. You can teach everything else.
SC: It’s really been a place where, if you would like to be here, we will find a place for you.
PHS: Victoria, you’re now the housing counselor after starting as a certified nursing assistant in 2009. In between, you led in 6 different roles! You’re also about to become a licensed nursing home administrator. What’s your advice to others about growing with PHS?
VH: You’re not stuck. Come to work, show your talent, be a good employee.
At the beginning, I felt overwhelmed looking at all the roles [a PHS community has to offer]
. I would wonder, How am I ever going to be more than I am?
[After high school] I didn’t have the resources to go to school. The opportunity to apply for a scholarship with Presbyterian Homes
is what got me started. After finishing a 2-year degree at the community college, I had proven to myself that I could do it. I took that ownership and then completed a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management.
I have never said no to an opportunity.
Even if it’s completely out of my comfort zone — even if it’s something I’ve never done before — if somebody believes I can do it, I can do it.
So, I encourage staff to try completely different roles. Also, managers, if you see something in an employee, you’ve got to say something. Ask yourselves: do we have people in the right spots?
PHS: What do you two do to bring positivity and build up the community?
VH: We come to work with a positive attitude. We all have a bubble over our head of what’s going on in our lives. But the one thing I can definitely say about Stacey as well as what I try to live by, is it’s nobody else’s and it’s not the residents’ responsibility to feel our pain or to know what we’re going through.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies here. We have bad days, but I have always made it my personal mission that the resident will never see me mad. Or, if I’m frustrated, it will never be projected onto them.
So, before or during masks, you never saw me without a smile. And the same thing for Stacey. A smile can go a long way in somebody’s day.
Also, eye contact. Stacey does this same thing. Every time somebody comes in, Stacey says hi, and if she’s passing somebody in the hallway, it’s always, “Hi, how are you doing?”
The other thing I do — as well as Stacey — is learn everybody’s names. I don’t work in the care center as much anymore or in the kitchen. But I still make it a point to know every single person’s name, who works or lives here.
I think if you can learn somebody’s name, [then it makes them feel like they are] more than just an employee.
And, we see the residents more than we see our family, sometimes. We see them more than they may see their family! We treat them like they’re our grandparents.
If you stop and listen to this generation that we’re serving, you can learn so much. Each person has an amazing story.
PHS: What’s one thing you can do at PHS that you can’t do elsewhere?
VH: First and foremost, you have the ability to pray. And you don’t have to hide it!
SC: If I want to say amen, I’m grateful for the opportunity to just be able to say amen. Here, we are an open book.
VH: When you find out what’s really going on, just putting your hand on somebody’s shoulder and saying, “Can I pray for you right now?” Or “Can we have a moment of silence?”
I have done that for residents for the 12 years I’ve worked here. You just feel the weight be lifted off our residents — just knowing that somebody cares so much about them that they’ll stop what they’re doing for two minutes and pray.
And for staff especially: in our generation, I think we have so much going on. When I was managing staff, I’d say, “You don’t have to tell me what’s going on in your life, but I’ll pray for whatever you need.” That meant a lot to people to just know that somebody prays for them and cares about them.
At the nursing home I worked at before – it was the exact opposite. You were just there to get people up, put them to bed and take them to the bathroom. You hit the floor running and you didn’t stop until you were done.
“We Will” is a series that spotlights inspiring examples of teamwork at PHS. With God’s blessing, We Will work together to build a better, brighter future for the older adults we serve.
Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers. Rated #1 employer in Minnesota by Forbes!
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Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Video: Victoria Hadley tells why she loves her job
Living with purpose: an interview with CEO Dan Lindh after 45 years of service
At Presbyterian Homes, yes, we’re busy, but we’re a different kind of busy.