The text below was altered for live delivery.
I want to thank you for giving your time on a Sunday afternoon to attend today’s celebration. And most of all, for your support of Graceworks in the past, and your continued support in the future.
I want recognize Jeff Teeters, Board Chair and the Board of Directors for the extra hours they have given in the last several months and at Christmastime to support the leadership transition. We are stronger because of their leadership and dedication to Graceworks.
And to our Graceworks employees who are here today and those who shared with me their desire to attend but were unable to be here – thank you. It is touching to see individuals who have retired from Graceworks here today. We have an amazing group of highly skilled, compassionate and devoted employees that truly give from the heart to make a difference in the lives of those we serve! Our residents and clients become family. That is what I love most about being part of this organization.
I have almost 25 years of memories with many of you. More than the memories, I am thankful for our close relationships. I treasure the friendship.
I want to thank the Bethany Village residents here today, for the lessons you have taught all of us about life and living.
I also want to say another word about Bill and his leadership: it was under Bill that the organization defined our Values and Brand Promise, which is Faithful Caring. That is the mission we live and work by today.
Thank you Bill for your leadership, commitment to quality standards, and for the opportunity to help me grow and develop under your leadership. You have had a tremendous impact on my life and all the residents that have called Graceworks “home” all these years.
I want to thank my husband Gerry, our son and daughter in law- Matthew and Erin, my parents and family for standing beside me during this incredible journey. Your support, encouragement and patience over the years has been a tremendous blessing. You have been great listeners and my biggest cheerleaders.
At Graceworks, we help others. Sometimes the days are long. We are open every hour of every day of the year. Sometimes there are holiday and vacation interruptions. This requires sacrifice by our family members. The work does not seem so hard – or the hours so long – when you see the smiles and joy on the faces of those we serve.
When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a teacher, and over the years found that my work in management was just a different type of classroom. When I reflect on the ability to continually learn and grow and to lead and teach others, I realized that making a difference in the lives of others is my calling.
My parents taught my siblings and me the importance of Faith, Family and Hard Work.
It has been a blessing to work at an organization that has strong values that are consistent with how I was raised.
I began working at Bethany Village in 1994, as Director of Food Services. Before long, I was making many connections with residents and their family members. No two people age at the same pace or in the same way. As residents depend more on staff, our relationships with the family grows. Our team not only educates about medical care and options for services or levels of care, they also connect at the heart. I witnessed firsthand Graceworks values all those years ago. Over time, I saw those same family members move to Bethany and become residents just as their parents had done. Others became volunteers. This rare mix of humanity and culture is why I have spent the majority of my career at Graceworks. In short, the organization feels like “home.”
Earlier, Pastor Jim read a section from the Gospel of Matthew. That passage ended with “…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Leading a large organization that touches the lives of thousands of individuals and provides jobs for 1,200 persons is not overwhelming when I look around and see the quality of employees and their commitment to service.
Consider Housing Services.
While securing more Federal HUD funding will always be a struggle, we remain committed to providing safe and comfortable homes for seniors with limited means. I personally remember feeling relieved when a service coordinator secured financial assistance to help a resident pay for much needed medication. There was also the time a home manager located donated furniture for a resident who came to us with nothing, as the person was previously homeless. These are not isolated examples. In fact, these are the kind of problems our employees solve each day.
Graceworks is a people centric organization, committed to providing quality service to our residents and clients. We help some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Through gentle teaching, faithful caring and personal calling, our Enhanced Living caregivers help our residents with intellectual disabilities live a dignified and happy life. One of the best memories I have of Enhanced Living is when we moved the Washington Home gentleman to what they now lovingly call “The Retreat.” The home reminds them of a special place in Gatlinburg where they once vacationed. Think back to a fond vacation memory. Now imagine being reminded of that warm feeling each day. This blessing is how we provide a “Sense of Home” for our residents.
Graceworks is one of the largest employers in Centerville. We are also one of the top 50 employers in the region by size. Demographics tell us that demand for our services will only grow. This means we will need to expand our talented staff.
We will work to be an employer of choice in the region, where work is not just about the competitive wage or the benefits but also about the vocation and making a difference. Graceworks seeks individuals who fit our culture, live our values and help us deliver on our mission to help people experience dignity and wholeness in their lives.
Many employees are drawn to Graceworks at Home for the ability to care for older adults. These talented aides, nurses and therapists bring relief not only to seniors recovering from surgery or illness, but also to their family members. Sometimes, we need to “care for the caregiver” just as much as the client. Consider the relief of a caregiver when they realize our staff can cook a meal for both of them and ease a little of that workload. I’ve been fortunate enough to overhear when a Bethany resident tells another about successful therapy after a knee replacement. Alone, these may seem like small accomplishments. To the individuals living through the aftermath of a physical change, these incremental acts of help mean the world. For that, I am so proud.
So today is a New Beginning.
We have built a strong foundation with our organizational values and the physical structures where our residents live. Our outstanding employees deliver on our Brand Promise of Faithful Caring – to serve with compassion, competence and to practice our Graceworks values to enhance stability in the lives of others.
In the future, we will look to innovate in ways to exceed the customer’s expectations, navigate changes in the regulations, adapt to changes in reimbursement systems, embrace the opportunities with technology and respond to the challenges of a changing workforce.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” — the future for Graceworks is bright! I am humbled to accept the position as President and Chief Executive Offer. Thank you.