2016 Excellence in Service Award Recipients for Southern California

Execllence-Service-logoThis week, CALA awarded the 2016 Excellence in Service Awards for Southern California. Four exceptional Assisted Living employees were cheered at the 2016 Fall Conference & Trade Show by a room full of their friends, family members, and co-workers.

campbell-head-shotOutstanding Caregiver: Stephanie “Nikki” Campbell

Campbell has served as a resident care associate in the Clare Bridge Memory Care neighborhood at Brookdale Bakersfield for 11 years. She’s known for being skilled at working with residents across all phases of the dementia continuum, building trust with each resident.  

Even on her days off, Campbell volunteers her time to escort residents to church services each week. Executive director Pam Parkkila says, “Nikki’s commitment to the spiritual well-being of residents and the love and compassion she demonstrates to each of them in every interaction has certainly impacted the quality of their lives and allowed them to experience love and trust in all aspects of their care.” 

These sentiments are echoed by community staff and residents’ family. According to co-workers, Campbell is the go-to person when help or guidance is needed, and she has the trust and respect of her peers. And family members have expressed appreciation for her ability to enrich the lives of their loved ones with compassion, respect, excellence and integrity.  

montez-head-shotOutstanding Team Member: Robert Montez

Montez serves as a driver for Belmont Village Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Equal parts educator and entertainer, Montez turns each outing into a travel destination. Residents particularly enjoy his “mystery drives” such as a recent surprise trip to a state beach. He also created a master book of San Diego hot spots, complete with maps, fun facts and history about each destination, that other community drivers could utilize. 

Montez began working at Belmont Village Cardiff-by-the-Sea a month after it opened in 2009. A veteran of the Air Force intelligence service, he previously worked as a branch manager for CocaCola for 30 years.  

When he’s not driving residents to appointments and outings, Montez is busy assisting them with their cell phones, computers, or e-readers, teaching them Spanish, and leading book club discussions. According to a resident, “Robert is a man of all seasons. He is terrific at whatever he does and has the love and respect of all the residents.” Another says, “He’s the absolute best. There’s no one like him, ever.” 

perez-head-shotOutstanding Department Director: Sarah Perez

Perez began working at Cypress Place 13 years ago as a caregiver. Currently, she serves as the Generations Program Manager serving residents with dementia.

Co-workers and family members say that Perez’s greatest talent lies in the fact that she really “knows” residents and takes cues from them to create personalized, engaging activities. She noticed on a recent outing that residents were expressing concern for homeless individuals, so she organized a group to craft blankets for them. She also organized the “Yahtzee Girls Club” after many residents told her they like to play dice games. 

This creativity extends to individual residents as well. One resident was continually talking about his WWII experience. Perez worked with his wife to create a slide show of his military life and hold a celebration of his service. According to executive director Steve Spira, “Sarah may think no one is watching, but we at Cypress Place can see that excellence and superlatives are simply silent badges she wears every day.”

harness-head-shotOutstanding Executive Director: Sadie Harness

When she first came to Belmont Village Cardiff-by-the-Sea in 2013, Harness made it her mission to increase employee and resident satisfaction. In two years, employee satisfaction went from 73% to 86% and resident satisfaction rose from 86% to 94%. 

From the manner in which she supports and leads her team, to her positive energy in the community, as well as her communication with family members, Harness’s leadership style is driven by her commitment to residents and their quality of life. 

Harness’s holistic management approach has led to excellence and cooperation among her team. Her “two thing” rule tasks each member of the management team to do a minimum of two things daily to help an employee, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the team as a whole. Her ability to lead by example, through her phenomenal compassion, passion and strength, is extraordinary. She has created a vibrant, energetic community that embraces life. 

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 2017 Excellence in Service Awards call for nominations!


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