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Carlton Associates & Career News | January 16, 2019 | By Jessica Beck

The Vision of a Leader

Our Carlton Senior Living Leadership Class of 2018 was presented with a project in which they were to design a board that would promote their vision of what they would want their own community to look like, feel like and how they would want it to operate as if they were the Executive Director. Prior to working on the project a few of our amazing Executive Directors; Tracey from our Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill community, Amanda from our Carlton Senior Living Elk Grove community and Lisa, from our Carlton Senior Living Sacramento community, gave some insight to our participants as to what it is like running a community as well as their own visions. The Executive Director panel told the participants more about how each person manages their time appropriately and how they choose their managers to help promote the mission, see the vision and lead the community in their given departments. 


We asked some of our recent graduates of the Class of 2018 to share with us some background on their vision boards, the elements incorporated into them and how they envision the role of an Executive Director to be held and maintained. We invite you now to see their visions below. 

Our assignment in Leadership to create a vision board started off difficult for me, it wasn’t something I was feeling personally connected to and I couldn’t find an inspiration. I started looking through countless pictures on Google of the elderly and their families but nothing stuck out to me as the heart behind why we do what we do for our residents. In glazing through these pictures I remembered my favorite resident Eunice and one of my last moments with her on the day she passed and a picture I’m so thankful I took on that day and it sparked my vision for “my” community. I started with the picture of my hand holding hers as the center of my vision because that is what we want to create and give to our residents.  These aren’t people we just care for, they are our family and what more could anyone want then that. From there I moved onto my personal experience of my Grandpa passing almost two years ago and the time my daughter got to spend with him before his passing. My vision for a community is a place to foster that love, relationship and time with a loved one. I want a community that becomes home to our residents, support and compassion for each family, growth and love for our staff and that it all sincerely comes together in the end. Is it a business? Yes. Is follow up, accountability and compliance high priority? Yes. But at the end of the day if you do the right thing for the residents and the right thing for the associates it all comes together in the end.
-Sarah Connor, Associate Director at our Downtown Pleasant Hill Community 




For the project, I placed emphasis on ensuring that all members of the community would feel appreciated, valued and heard – residents, families and associates. I also focused on employee development and offering the tools needed to succeed. On a more personal note, I included the idea of eliminating clutter since that is always a goal of mine. I enjoyed the project and also being able to hear first-hand from the ED panel what it is like to run a community. It is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly.
-Denee Coleman, Inbound Marketing Specialist at our Home Office 






My perspective for using the “finger-made” brain is that there is one brain, for Carlton I defined that as our founders. But in accompany to that brain there are many fingers, our president, home office support and all of the individual community associates. We all have the same goal; to love, honor and provide for our amazing residents and their families. The simplest aspect I have found on this journey is, no matter who you are or where you are from, a smile always changes our world for the better; especially in the moments that we don’t feel like smiling.  My motto for the year of 2019 is: “There are hundreds of languages around the world but a smile speaks them all!”
-Patricia Bushnell, Resident Liaison at our San Jose Community




For me, the vision board was a project that was, simply put amazing. As a Carlton associate, I found this project to be stress-free as these are things that are instilled in me, similar to how my parents raised me there are things that will remain as a reference always. Carlton has instilled in me an increase of love, respect, support, empowerment, confidence, patience, strength, peace, happiness and how to be a hard worker with pace. My board is a reflection of what I see as being an Executive Director. I saw first and foremost God and the strength he gives all of us to do what we do and in keeping Carlton the priority but still staying humble through all our successes. My board clearly identifies that the Executive Director role is a vision and everything you see on the board supports the mission that Carlton is the priority. I chose to include the words; budget, respect, integrity, community and trust because you can’t do one without the other and for everything trust is the foundation for success. I see trust in a community or just in life as a big deal. I find empowerment in the validation that people know they can trust me as I do my best to remain dependable and consistently strive to do what I can to fix any situation. Last but not least I put three pictures of myself because I felt it portrayed three different positive faces and emotions that support leading a community. Holding the role of an Executive Director I believe it is important to understand that as the face of the community you must uphold community operations but remain firm, fair and consistent. To be successful in this you must never forget to have fun with everyone on your team and remain humble joining together for another day.
-Toni Jones, Programming Manager at our Poet’s Corner Community



I created my vision board around the theory of the “leadership clock” which essentially is based off of 12 characteristics created by leaders. The leader chooses to customize their clock, their time, with the most important 12 aspects that they believe in. These are put forth as the core values to which they define their ability to lead in their role. For myself, six characteristics that I chose were; communication, compassion, goal-oriented, teamwork, trustworthy and the ability to aspire to inspire. The core value that I believe everyone can strengthen is the ability to communicate effectively. Remaining open minded regarding each interaction we have allows us to take away and give back important aspects towards empowering that ability. In the field of health and human services it is critical to strive always to be clear among your team to allow them to understand what is important, necessary and critical. Maintaining and extending compassion is valued as it offers an innate opportunity to extend empathy in times of need. While we may not always be able to understand the situation we can certainly strive to understand and kindness is the important consideration that helps the process. Everything is driven by time, how will you spend yours?
-Yuvi Diaz, Director of Resident Services at our Sacramento Community