Make Us Part of Your Story: Brenda’s Story

Brenda, General Manager, at Chartwell since 2003

Brenda’s grandmother was an inspiration to her growing up. Though she shared close bonds with all of her grandparents, she particularly admired her “nana” for successfully raising five children with limited means and for her unwavering devotion to her family. Brenda credits her with teaching her to live life optimistically and to look for the good in people, as well as to lend a helping hand whenever possible without expecting something in return. Blessed with strong senior role models, Brenda is delighted her children share a similar relationship with her parents: “It’s very encouraging to see my kids asking to visit their grandparents and to spend time with them. We should all cherish the elders in our lives.”

Though Brenda grew up with dreams of a career in sports medicine—due in part to her active childhood and love of basketball—her caring nature and soft spot for seniors led her in a different direction. After a friend told her about a part-time dishwashing job at a local retirement community, she decided to apply and was hired on at Chartwell Barton Retirement Residence, where she unknowingly embarked on a long career in the senior living industry.

Young and determined to succeed, Brenda’s commitment to exceptional customer service led to her continuous professional development at the seniors’ residence, as she moved from a Dishwasher to a Guest Attendant and eventually the home’s Lifestyle & Programs Manager. “It was such a fun role to have,” she explains earnestly. “I loved coming up with creative ways to make my residents’ days even more exciting. I’m a people-pleaser, so I tried to organize events that catered to everyone’s interests.” After many happy years in the role, Brenda moved on to another important position at Chartwell: General Manager at Chartwell Avondale Retirement Residence. “As was the case in my previous role, my success as a GM is based on the trusted relationships I build, but not just with residents: it’s also important to connect with residents’ family members, and of course my team of dedicated staff,” she says. “Now I can contribute to the happiness of seniors and their families while also empowering others to succeed in their professions.”

According to Brenda, the reason she has continued to flourish in the retirement living industry is because of her love and appreciation for seniors. “I take great pride in being a part of my residents’ everyday lives,” she reveals. “I can be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on if they need it. My heart is warmed every time a resident trusts me enough to open up and share their story.” Brenda confesses how amazed she is at what her residents have achieved in their personal lives—including living through a world war—and what they continue to accomplish today. “They’ve taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to, even later in life. Age really is just a number.”