August 25, 2022 —Kendal at Oberlin Housekeeping Supervisor Denise Makay was featured in an article in the “Meeting Ground” section of KendalNet in March 2018. KendalNet is the intranet for Kendal staff, and “Meeting Ground” is the section that features relevant Kendal staff news from around the affiliate system.
Denise was chosen to represent Kendal at Oberlin at the Friends Services for the Aging Values Summit in June, 2017, attending in suburban Philadelphia, along with CEO Barbara Thomas. The gathering brought together 75 people from around the country “to identify ‘Hallmarks of Quaker Values-Inspired Senior Living.’”
Regarding her participation in the Values Summit, Denise says “That was fun. We did it in groups with people from other Kendals and other FSA communities. Everybody there had good input—no matter if they were a CEO, a housekeeper or someone who worked in the kitchens. It was really cool that they wanted to hear everyone’s opinions.”
Makay doesn’t hesitate for a moment when asked if Kendal values differ from what she has encountered in other places she’s worked.
“Most definitely, it’s more caring,” she says. “It’s down to earth. One-on-one, person-centered values are very, very important. It’s important to treat each person as an individual. Listen to them and pay attention so you can learn what both staff and residents need.”
Denise started working at Kendal at Oberlin as a housekeeper in 2013. As a housekeeper, she was responsible for maintaining 20 to 22 cottages and residential apartments. “I had my own little zone,” she says, “and I got to learn about the residents’ backgrounds, where they came from and what they did for a living. It helps me to help them.”
“Denise doesn’t start work until 8 a.m., but she often arrives at 7 and greets residents,” HR director Toni Merleno says. “She views residents as her friends—same with Kendal staff.”
Last year, Denise stepped up when her supervisor was on maternity leave. “Denise substituted as a supervisor of six or seven housekeepers in independent living for a couple of months. She handled it very well,” Toni says.
In February 2018, Denise was promoted to be the Supervisor for Housekeeping in Kendal at Oberlin’s Stephens Care Center.
“In the health center, I’m supervising a staff of four,” Denise says. “It definitely will be different because there will be a lot more rooms to clean quickly. That won’t be a problem, though, because the rooms are smaller and the residents are friendly.”
Even though she’ll move from room to room quickly, Denise says she will still take time to talk to the residents. “Age is wisdom and you can learn so much from the residents,” Denise says. “I just adore them, and I try to treat them the way I would want to be treated.”
According to HR director Toni Merleno, “Here at Oberlin, we really do talk about Kendal’s values all the time. It really governs everything we do, and Denise exemplifies those values.”
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