St. Ann’s Community Encourages Growth, Advancement for Employees

For many St. Ann’s employees, there are opportunities for career paths they may not have envisioned when starting out in their initial positions. Two of St. Ann’s very own have taken those opportunities for growth and run with them, transitioning from part-time dining services jobs at Chapel Oaks to fulfilling careers in the Nutrition Department.

 Meet Anazia Hillman, a former server who worked part-time during high school at Chapel Oaks. She admits that when she started as a server, she did not foresee moving up within the St. Ann’s ranks.

“I thought it would just be a regular serving job and getting food orders from the residents,” says Anazia. “I was just in high school working part time, and now I’ve been at St. Ann’s for 2 years!”

Anazia said helping out wherever she was needed in other positions and departments helped to land her in her current role of Nutrition Assistant. She has done everything from helping out at the Chapel Oaks concierge desk, to washing dishes when they were short a dishwasher, to serving food in the Special Care Unit in St. Ann’s Home. When she heard the Nutrition Department was hiring, she was encouraged by her colleagues to go for it. Now Anazia distributes menus every day to residents and helps them fill those menus out and make their meal selections. She also helps with admissions and discharges, special diet orders, and kitchen call downs.

“My favorite part of my job is working with the residents,” says Anazia. “It makes their day knowing they have someone coming to help them, and I love seeing the smile on their face!”

 Another former server, Lauren Wisnowski, worked at Chapel Oaks while taking classes in the dietetics program at Finger Lakes Community College. When Lauren graduated, she knew she wanted to stay in the geriatric field, and found a surplus of support from her Chapel Oaks co-workers.

“Everyone told me to come back after I graduated,” says Lauren.
“They were so supportive and helpful, even helping to reach out to the clinical dietitian coordinator when I was looking to start my clinical rotation.”

Lauren grew fond of the Chapel Oaks residents during her time as a server, even going so far as to write her graduate thesis on them. Her thesis, “Diet Quality of Residents in a Retirement Home,” received a lot of enthusiasm from the residents, who were very excited to help her with her work. Now Lauren is a Registered Dietician in the Nutrition Department. She visits residents to assess their nutritional status, creates and manages menus and special diets, and communicates with other departments for residents with speech and chewing or swallowing issues.

Anazia and Lauren agree that anything is possible if you work hard and allow yourself to grow.

“Use your resources,” says Lauren. “Get in touch with the people working in the position that you want, and they will help and support you on your way there. Take the initiative and make it happen for yourself.”

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