Glance the walls at Atria Forest Hills in Queens, New York and you’ll be sure to notice some recurring fixtures – glossy black plaques, each a little larger than a sheet of paper, inscribed with commemorations dating back through the years.

The community of Forest Hills has been a consistent Q Award recipient – an honor bestowed for exemplary scores in Atria’s quality control audits.

The audits are rigorous. Twice each year, Atria communities undergo unannounced inspections by a team of experts (with more than 200 years of combined experience) who assess more than 400 quality control indicators.

The program was designed to ensure the highest possible living experience for residents and to set the bar for quality in the senior living industry.

Every Q Award is an achievement. Multiple awards, spanning years, are even more so.

There is no trick to Forest Hills’ success, save one – the work is accomplished long before the audits themselves and flows from a workplace marked by accountability and transparency.

“You have to trust in your team,” says Bill Deignan, Executive Director. “You communicate, you make sure everyone’s on the same page, and then you let smart people go out and do smart things.”

Deignan has been Executive Director at Forest Hills for more than two years. He’s quick to point out, however, the community has a long legacy of success, and he sees himself as a steward of its impressive record.

He has spent his entire career with Atria and has ascended through a variety of positions. His passion for working with older adults dates back to volunteer experiences in high school.

“Our seniors are living history,” Deignan says. “The best part of this job is that our work truly matters. I see it on faces every day when I walk through the community.”

Extensive experience in Atria communities throughout the New York area prepared him to lead Forest Hills and hone a leadership style that people respond to.

“I wouldn’t be in this position if my leaders didn’t see potential in me,” he says. “I see the same potential in so many on my team and I want to support them. When they succeed and reach their goals, our residents flourish too.”

Several employees at Forest Hills have taken advantage of Atria’s tuition reimbursement program to acquire new skills and advance their careers.

Others have been with the community for more than twenty years – back to its founding – and benefit from an Atria Rewards® program offering financial incentives for longevity with the company.

“We have a lot of self-motivated individuals here,” Deignan says. “There are no shortcuts – the only way to achieve a Q Award is to live it every day.”

Despite changes in the senior living industry over the years and an ever-shifting New York landscape, the workplace culture of reciprocal trust at Atria Forest Hills remains largely unchanged.

The collection of plaques on the walls, however, is still expanding.