"There are so many wonderful things to learn from our residents, their lives are filled with stories and achievements that enchant me."
Ten years committed to care
Theresa’s journey began after an urge to give something back to the community – to make a real difference. Upon joining Abbeyfield as a Housekeeper in 2012, she soon realised she had found her true passion. Since then, extraordinary dedication, a willingness to learn and hard work have allowed Theresa to progress to her current role – Regional Director of the North – where she leads a team to provide the best possible service.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
“I’m a wife and busy mum to two children, we have a family dog – a spaniel called Penny – who keeps me company when I am working at home, and comes with me to meet the Residents at their request.
“After leaving education, I worked in retail for over 10 years, it quickly became clear that my passion was customer service and I had an eye for finance reports. As my career progressed I stepped into management, empowering teams to deliver excellent customer service. After having my children, I wanted to do something that gave something back to my community, so I applied to become a Housekeeper for Abbeyfield in 2012 and got the job. I was soon using all of my skills again, in addition to showcasing my home baking skills!”
What made you want to pursue a career in care?
“I wanted to make a difference – sounds cheesy I know – but I wanted to give something back to my community. I wasn’t sure I wanted to work in care, so supported (sheltered) housing was a great introduction, however after my very first day I was hooked! There are so many wonderful things to learn from our residents, their lives are filled with stories and achievements that enchanted me, and I always felt it was a privilege to be able to provide a service to them. Abbeyfield also looked after my grandma, and so well, that's when I found my passion for care, I was still working in housing at the time.”
What’s a typical working day like for you?
“I spend lots of my day in virtual meetings with my team and colleagues. These can be about anything, from finance to recruitment, from compliance to occupancy. I also have meetings with our membership societies and external parties such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or other local authorities. I am leading various projects at the moment too, such as the Customer Service Journey, which is very exciting! However, my favourite part of my role is when I visit the houses and homes in my area to speak with residents and staff, I love to hear the resident's stories and I'm always keen to hear from staff about their roles, and how we could improve the service we provide.”
One of my favourite quotes is 'if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life' it couldn’t be truer than when you work in care, every day working with our residents is a pleasure and privilege.
How would you describe your role and what’s your favourite part about it?
“My role is diverse and fascinating. I coordinate the operational leaders, helping to remove any obstacles they may come across and providing support in times of need. I am a firm believer in having the right person for the right job, and here at Abbeyfield we have exactly that. None of us know everything about everything, but we have subject matter experts and colleagues with a wealth of experience. My role is to bring them all together and ensure their skills are used as widely as possible, to enable the best living experience for our residents.
“My favourite part of my role is seeing the positive effects everyone's hard work has on residents and fellow members of staff. It's great watching colleagues grow in confidence and within their role, perhaps receiving promotion or stepping into a different team. When I visit homes, I always ask Residents what else we could do to improve and more often than not I am met with a smile and the words 'absolutely nothing'. When there are any suggestions or concerns, I love receiving that feedback and taking it back to the team for us to review and implement change where we can.”
What opportunities for progression are there with a career in care?
“Starting a career in care can feel very overwhelming, there is so much to learn, but there are so many opportunities – many of which can be completed while working within the role, such as a Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care. Abbeyfield are passionate about learning and development and are committed to the continuous development of employees, workers and volunteers; supporting the business to ensure that everyone is able to perform their jobs effectively helping achieve overall performance. There are a variety of methods too, like face to face workshops, e-learning, facilitated webinars, coaching and mentoring, amongst others. Our leadership pathways are well established and ensure every member of staff is the best they can be.”
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