Today, CALA awarded the 2015 Excellence in Service Awards for Southern California. Four exceptional Assisted Living employees were cheered at the 2015 Fall Conference & Trade Show by a room full of their friends, family members, and co-workers.
Outstanding Caregiver: Jackie Ayala
Ayala began her career at Cypress Court 14 years ago as a caregiver. She currently serves as the lead caregiver. She hold both a CPR certification and a certification as an RCFE (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) administrator.
Executive Director Donna Daniel-Herr says “Jackie’s compassion overflows to all she comes in contact with at Cypress Court.” Ayala actively looks for ways to enhance residents’ quality of life, whether it is something as small as purchasing and delivering an item for a resident who can’t drive, or as momentous as comforting a resident in the last moments of life.
Ayala’s generosity extends to fellow staff members and the community-at-large. In 2014, Ayala was selected to participate in Kisco’s Homes for Hope program, where she helped build two homes for families in need. Her acts of giving also include raising money and preparing meals for a grieving colleague, creating a homeless ministry at her church, and providing meals and toiletries to veterans.
Outstanding Team Member: Francisco Pamanes
Pamanes joined the maintenance team at Silverado Beach Cities Memory Care Community six years ago. Executive Director Sammy Hassan says, “Francisco has a unique way of bringing out the best in people and, as a result, he touches many lives along the way.”
Pamanes begins each day by walking the community’s halls and greeting residents. Hassan shares that, one morning, he saw Pamanes on one knee serenading a resident who was having a rough start to her day. “This is just one example where a simple gesture from Francisco had a transformative effect.”
Pamanes is dedicated to ensuring the community is clean and beautiful, and the residents are safe and comfortable. This dedication extends to the community-at-large. Each month, he collects donations of household items and delivers them to disadvantaged families in Mexico. Each year on his birthday, Pamanes buys toys and other gifts, and drives them to Mexico to donate to children in need. Colleagues inspired by his generosity now help in what has become known as “Francisco’s Toy Drive.”
Outstanding Department Director: Kala Lopez
Lopez has been the Assisted Living Director at Villa Bonita for three years. Executive Director Angel Peoples says, “When I first met Kala, it took only a few weeks for me to realize that she was in fact a priceless and rare treasure.”
Lopez motivates and inspires everyone around her, from residents and family members to fellow long-term care professionals. According to the family member of a resident, “Kala made my uncle’s transition to assisted living not only possible, but comfortable. I can honestly say that I have never worked with a more dedicated and caring Assisted Living Director.”
Lopez is adept at recognizing when changes are needed and ensuring that employees work well together. She is not only knowledgeable about her own duties, but those of the medication technicians and caregivers that she supervises. She inspires loyalty in her team, as evidenced by a poem one team member wrote, which begins, “We are loyal/Because you are special/We are obedient/Because you are efficient/We are dependable/Because you are remarkable/We are trustworthy/Because you believe in us.”
Outstanding Executive Director: Jason Malone
Malone has served as Sunrise of Beverly Hills’ Executive Director for 11 years. Sunrise’s Regional Director of Operations Andrew Sheppard says, “Jason’s drive for excellence, high customer satisfaction levels, record team member engagement scores, and outstanding business acumen leave me inspired and in awe. It is truly an honor to work with him.”
Malone is often heard saying, “How can we make your experience better?” He builds lasting relationships with residents, families, and staff members through resident town halls and staff meetings, each of which regularly achieve 100% attendance.
Malone is dedicated to the development of leadership within the Assisted Living profession. He provides leadership training to Sunrise employees and has served as a mentor to fellow executive directors. For these achievements, Malone received the Baldridge award and was nominated for the Sunrise President’s Award.
Malone is said to embody servant leadership. In 2014, his Sunrise of Beverly Hills team raised over $26,000 for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Malone has also provided his community as a venue for local events, such as the “Walk with the Mayor” event.
Congratulations to all four Excellence in Service winners! Your dedication, empathy, creativity, and hard work are truly outstanding. CALA members in Northern California, do you have an exceptional employee at your community? Check the CALA website for the Spring 2015 Excellence in Service Awards call for nominations!