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Celebrating Excellence

For Lifespace team members, exceeding expectations is second nature.

Celebrating Excellence

Resident Marylin Holtzman enjoys spending time and working with dietary assistant Briana Wills. Photography by Jason Kaczorowski. (Copyright Lifespace Communities. Used with permission.)

At the Lifespace Leadership Conference held May 7-11, team members and communities were recognized for their hard work and excellence in service. The annual conference brings leaders together to collaborate and share goals.

Wellness Lead Stephan Brennan and Dietary Assistant Briana Wills, both of Beacon Hill, a Lifespace community in Lombard, Illinois, were honored with the Bright Idea and Spotlight Story of the Year awards at the conference.

There were more than 50 submissions for the Bright Idea award, which recognizes a team member with a creative concept that can be implemented across the organization to improve best practices. Brennan was given the award for his innovative fitness referral program, which gives physical therapists a referral form for wellness centers in order to better meet and align with residents’ recovery needs.

“We created this form so that we can be proactive on the wellness end, so that residents don’t lose the strides they’ve made in physical therapy,” Brennan says. “I didn’t do this to win an award. I wanted to create and implement programming that would serve residents at the highest caliber.”

Brennan’s attitude reflects the Living Lifespace program, which encourages, supports and recognizes team members in delivering on the Living Lifespace motto of “exceptional people providing exceptional care and services.”

Wills, who was nominated by another team member for the Spotlight Story award, also exemplifies Lifespace’s commitment to quality service.

When she overheard a resident wishing to see the beautiful clouds outside all the time, Wills went out of her way to photograph the clouds, print the photos and write a poem for the resident. Her attention to detail also led her to regularly bring gluten-free treats for another resident with special dietary needs, earning her a second award nomination among the 67 submissions.

“I treat people the way they want to be treated and try to make them feel they are special,” Wills says. “I learn from others every day, and they encourage me to be a better person in big and small ways.”

Beacon Hill Executive Director Blaire Goldstein says building a culture of creativity and service stems from the innate characteristics of team members, like Wills, who embody Lifespace’s values.

“Living Lifespace is not something you can teach – it’s who people are,” Goldstein says. “It’s who Briana is, and we hope to bring these characteristics out, to give her opportunities for exceptional growth, and create the right environment to see her flourish.”

Goldstein attributes the success of Beacon Hill team members to an emphasis on teamwork.

“I’m very proud of what our team members have accomplished,” Goldstein says. “I think that we create a culture – not just myself, but all the departments, all the team members – to promote people’s ideas to do new things and think outside the box. It’s the culture of Lifespace that we continue at Beacon Hill.”

Beacon Hill team member Cherie Lovelady earned Lifespace’s Salesperson of the Year award.

Joey Leonhardt, vice president of human resources, says recognizing the excellent work of team members who exude Living Lifespace values is important to do every day, not just at the annual leadership conference.

“Whether a team member is brand new or a seasoned executive, it provides inspiration for each and every one of us as we go about our daily routines,” Leonhardt says.

She says the dedication of Wills and Brennan – and their peers – to exceptional care and services reflects the approach all Lifespace campuses share in creating an environment where Lifespace recognizes team members to be the most important asset in delivering on their promise, every day.

“Lifespace is a great place to live if it’s a great place to work,” Leonhardt says. “They’re symbiotic, and everything starts and ends with the team members.”

At the conference, Abbey Delray South received the Community Team Member Giving award for having the highest percentage of team member pledges to The Lifespace Foundation. Village on the Green was also recognized for clinical excellence for providing exceptional care across several medical categories. Friendship Village of Bloomington was recognized for operational excellence, exceeding expectations in resident relations, donations to The Lifespace Foundation, social accountability and entrance fees, as well as Sales Team of the Year for achievement in annual sales.

The Charles M. Hall scholarship was also announced at the conference. The scholarship was established in memory of Hall, who served as Lifespace’s director of clinical excellence until his passing in 2016. The Lifespace Foundation created the scholarship to inspire team members to pursue their dreams and education as registered nurses and support those seeking advanced nursing degrees. This year two team members will be awarded scholarships.

For Goldstein, recognizing Living Lifespace values among team members is paramount to the culture and environment of Lifespace, as a great place to both live and work.

“I get the most joy in seeing my team grow and take on leadership roles and challenging themselves,” Goldstein says. “When people see they’re valued, they push the envelope to be innovative, and we grow.”