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By: Marissa Salvesen on December 12th, 2013

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Crosby Commons Wins Three CALA Awards for 2013!

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Crosby Commons CALA award winnersCrosby Commons Assisted Living Community at Wesley Village is the proud recipient of three prestigious Connecticut Assisted Living Association Awards (CALA), including one Humanitarian award, one Distinguished Resident Accomplishment Award, and one Distinguished Service Award.

The awards were presented at CALA’s 18th Annual Meeting and Awards Program held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Wednesday, December 4th.

Congratulations to Lois Poutney, Humanitarian Award

Lois Poutney, Executive Director of Crosby Commons, was the recipient of the 2013 Humanitarian Award, an award “presented to an individual whose personal integrity, decency, and contributions to the elderly best exemplify the ideals of CALA’s member organizations and their missions who serves as an inspiration to all.”

As the Executive Director of Crosby Commons, Lois has a multi-faceted position which incorporates administrative, sales & marketing, and managerial responsibilities.  Lois has a deep belief in the relationship-centered mission of United Methodist Homes, and brings a high level of professionalism, integrity, experience, and creativity to the many facets of her job. Lois’ day starts at breakfast time when she goes around the Dining Room checking in with residents.  She is the first one to join in the dancing, tell a joke and give a hug.  She often doesn’t go home until the residents are through with dinner.  Most of her staff have been with her for most of the last decade and are inspired by her kindness and openness to new ideas and collaborative leadership style.  Under her leadership, her community and staff have won numerous awards.

Lois’s spirit, high degree of energy, and upbeat personality makes it a pleasure to work for and with her.  She is an inspiring leader and maintains high standards of performance for her staff.  No job is too small for Lois to handle – she has been seen sitting on the floor of the Café washing down the front of the steam table!  She shampoos spots on the carpeting, and is not above plunging toilets or doing whatever is needed if no one else is available.

Lois always makes a point of being very communicative with staff & residents.  She initiated the “Monday Morning Town Meeting” with residents to bring them up to date on happenings in our community.  She is diligent in informing staff of pertinent information by placing notices on the community bulletin board, and holding a brief weekly meeting with all the department heads to keep them updated.

Lois demonstrates graciousness, humor, fairness, and patience with staff, residents, & visitors.  She has an open door policy – people feel free to come to her with their problems or suggestions.  She is very responsive to and supportive of everyone’s needs and interacts with everyone with tact and kindness.  She functions as a job coach to help employees perform their jobs successfully.  She handles difficult situations with grace and ease and always manages to defuse any tensions that are present.

Lois’s dedication is visible in the long hours that she works and diligence in getting to work even in bad weather.  She has slept over several times during snowstorms and has been known to pitch in with snow shoveling.  She helped an employee who was unable to get out in the snow by picking her up and driving her home.

The Sales & Marketing piece of Lois’s job is very demanding.  She manages to keep Crosby Commons full all the time in spite of turnover in the resident population.  She is very persuasive, charming, and welcoming to prospective residents & their families.  She devised and implemented a New Resident Orientation program involving representatives from every department who visit with new residents and help them with information and guidance about life at Crosby Commons.

She is a very strong advocate for the staff & residents and does not hesitate to approach management with her ideas and suggestions regarding the community or administrative policies which she feels need improvement.  Lois’s outstanding skills, versatility, superior performance, and warm personality make her a perfect choice for the CALA Humanitarian Award. (Nomination written by Carolyn Monachelli, Receptionist at Crosby Commons)

Congratulations to Beth Schave-Bemis, Distinguished Service Award

Also recognized was Beth Schave-Bemis, Vice President of Marketing and Assisted Living Operations for United Methodist Homes, for winning the 2013 Distinguished Service Award, an award “presented to an individual whose dedicated leadership, outstanding service, and personal commitment over a period of years have furthered the goals of CALA and enhanced the quality of life of the elderly we serve.”

Since the beginning of her career as an activities director nearly 2 decades ago, Beth Schave-Bemis has dedicated herself to making a difference in the lives of seniors and those who care for them. Recently celebrating 15 years with the same organization, Beth currently works as the Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations for United Methodist Homes and serves as a board member for CALA. Throughout her years in senior living, she has served as one of the industry’s youngest executive directors and has juggled multiple management responsibilities while working with United Methodist Homes. Holding a Masters degree in Gerontology, Beth has committed herself to enhancing the educational opportunities for others serving seniors, working closely with the gerontology program at University of St. Joseph, as well as The Consortium for Gerontological Education.

A global thinker with the ability to set goals and envision and embrace change, Beth has worked to create a climate for culture-change across the industry and has travelled internationally to empower leaders to adopt a relationship-centered approach to care. Beth has been instrumental in coordinating both staff and resident retreats and focus groups that have enabled United Methodist Homes to improve quality and outcomes of service, while encouraging innovation by seeking, listening, and responding to new ideas. She is truly a visionary leader and while juggling family and career, continues to recognize the importance of respect, spirituality, excellence, collaboration, and stewardship, believing strongly in the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Always keeping her eye on the future, Beth carefully and intentionally plants her “garden” and spends time and energy mentoring and nurturing people of passion and purpose to “grow” both personally and professionally within the organization. Encouraging the “flowers” in her garden to move forward beyond their own expectations, making a difference for seniors and leaving their stamp of creativity on the industry, Beth has influenced many staff who now work in their own leadership roles. Her influence and dedication to the industry has undeniably helped to further the goals of CALA and greatly enhance the quality of life for the elderly we serve. For those reasons and more, we proudly nominate her for the Distinguished Service Award.

Congratualtions to all of our UMH Winners!

In addition to Crosby Commons’ three awards, United Methodist Homes also received two awards for their Middlewoods of Newington community in Newington, CT, for a total of five out of eight awards. Congratulations to all of our award winners!

Crosby Commons is owned and operated by United Methodist Homes (UMH), a local, faith-based, not-for-profit organization based in Shelton, CT. For more information about our award-winning Crosby Commons community, please contact us at 203. 225. 5000 or visit our website at www.crosbycommons.org. For information about UMH, please visit www.umh.org.

Crosby Commons resident, Jeannette Dermody, 97 years old, was also presented with the 2013 Distinguished Resident Accomplishment Award in acknowledgement of the achievement of goals that have brought her personal fulfillment, meaning and purpose and have benefitted others in the community and the community at large. (Please see blog post about Jeannette Dermody for more information)

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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