This past August when I celebrated my first anniversary at CJE SeniorLife, I paused to reflect on my arrival at this great organization. Starting a new job could have been an intimidating experience. There was so much to learn, so many people to meet and so many names to remember. But one of the things that really helped to alleviate those feelings was being greeted by so many smiling, friendly faces.
What I’ve really come to see in this past year is that what we do at CJE is very personal. Every organization, from small non-profit agencies to large corporations, has a culture. This culture refers to the values and attitudes of its employees, and even extends to its Board members, business partners and sometimes its customers. At CJE, a healthy corporate culture places a high value on each member of the team, which results in employees working together to meet the agency’s, their own and most importantly, our residents’ and clients’ needs.
It’s not really important to each of our residents or clients how many people CJE helped last year. What’s most important to them and their family is the individualized care they receive, hopefully, with a warm, caring smile. At the same time, most of our employees don’t come to work focused on retention percentages, but on their work environment and how they interact with their coworkers.
Yes, there is strength in understanding the numbers—whether it’s the number of people we serve, the number of employees we employ to deliver our comprehensive network of care or the revenue we receive from over 100 funding sources. But CJE’s strength doesn’t come from its size and we won’t be made stronger simply by being bigger. Our strength will result from a CJE culture that focuses on doing the right thing—every time.
Enhancing CJE’s culture is more important now than ever. It’s not that our culture was ever unimportant, but it’s quickly proving to be a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to- have.” What we do and say needs to align with what our employees believe, if we are to become an “Employer of Choice,” a goal that I have been working toward since Day One on this job. Maximizing our impact on the community can’t be realized without strengthening our agency’s culture.
To do this, we’re going to focus on the number One: One resident. One client. One co-worker. One decision at a time. We’ll make CJE personal, and have each person who walks through our doors—be they a client, volunteer, vendor, team member or donor—feel like they’re Number One...over and over again. We do this at Lieberman Center, where our mandate of personalized care acknowledges that each and every resident is an individual with their own needs, which requires that we treat them accordingly. We also do this at Weinberg Community, where Family Panels are convened to share and discuss singular issues with staff and administration. I could go on and on...
With deep gratitude, I offer our sincerest thanks to all the incredible donors, philanthropic partners, foundations, corporations and government agencies that are critical to advancing our work to enhance the lives of seniors in the Jewish and larger community. Each of our contributors is making a difference and makes the decision to do so because of their own personal connection to CJE’s mission.
I am so grateful to be part of this amazing community which has welcomed me with open arms. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be part of the CJE family.
Warm wishes for a happy, healthy and meaningful holiday season,
President & CEO, CJE SeniorLife