Lauren Paladino and Deirdre Scott both walked into their new offices at Atria Riverdale, bringing fresh perspectives in from neighboring industries. They both realized the learning curve ahead was steep, but their individual experience working with older adults in healthcare settings for decades translated to a successful career start at Atria Senior Living.
Lauren had spent 18 years working with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities before her current role as Executive Director. As a licensed behavioral psychologist, she started her career in schools and then moved to healthcare settings.
Before assuming the role of Assistant Executive Director at Atria Riverdale, Deirdre served as the Director of New York City’s long-term care ombudsman program, advocating for more than 55,000 seniors. For 20 years, her career always led her back to serving seniors from managed care to skilled nursing and the state’s ombudsman program.
Ready for a new beginning
When the pandemic first arrived in April 2020, Lauren was a new mom on maternity leave. Her husband, a chef at a nearby Atria community, brought home masks, not just for himself, but for her and their family. “He came home and told me how Atria wants all of us to be safe. During stress and chaos in New York in the spring of 2020, Atria helped our family have some peace of mind and support. It was my confirmation this is a great company I want to work for.”
A few steps away from Lauren’s office at Atria Riverdale is Deirdre, who Lauren says grounds her as her right-hand colleague. Deirdre imagined a job like the one she has now at Atria but applying for a senior living job was a leap of faith.
“I had gone back to school for my master’s in public administration to really know the ins and outs of the industry. When I saw Atria’s job posting, I thought I’m going for it. Then, the recruiter called me. In our phone interview, the emotion of joy came unexpectedly and quickly. The recruiter was describing the position of Assistant Executive Director, the responsibilities, what the training is and what Atria expects. The tears kept streaming down, and I had to pause. What they described was a dream come true. In the interview, the recruiter commented, ‘I can hear it in your voice. I can hear your passion for serving seniors.’”
Confident in a new start at Atria
More than a year into her job at Atria, Lauren says she is continually surprised at the dedication and talent of the staff. She has also already been promoted. “My entire career has been about a human experience and working side by side with people. People make a difference in a company. In a short time, our staff has seen challenges from mastering infection control protocols to managing flooding from the Hudson Parkway. Through it all, our staff rises to the occasion. I am proud to be their Executive Director.”
Deirdre affirms Lauren’s pride and feels confident in her new job, just a few months in. “Atria was the only assisted living company I applied to because of their reputation and because of what I had seen firsthand. To join a team that truly cares for each other and for our residents is amazing. Our staff are compassionate, concerned, passionate, talented people.”
“Our jobs are human experiences”
When new employees start at Atria Riverdale, Lauren shares three things to remember. “Listen. Be open to everything. Take in the wisdom of our residents. I make a point to talk about how huge it is to truly talk to people. Our jobs are human experiences…a waitstaff member does more than serve food. A waitstaff member knows how one resident prefers tea over coffee and how another resident is celebrating a special occasion for lunch.”
When a visitor, tour or family member tells Lauren how “people cannot be this friendly,” she replies with a smile saying, “Yes, we are. Our staff is that awesome.”
High hopes and big plans for the future
Both Lauren and Deirdre share a pride for the staff and the high customer service standards at Atria Riverdale. They also share high hopes for their careers at Atria.
“I have already learned so much. There’s room for growth here and that’s exciting. I see a future here. I see myself retiring from Atria”.
Deirdre easily sums up her leadership style. “I’m not afraid to pick up a broom, or change the garbage – I want my staff to feel supported. I was just dancing with our Life Guidance residents and staff upstairs.” Working at Atria means a team who supports, invests in, and shows compassion to each other. Find your next career path at atriacareers.com today.