Senior Village Manager Nicole has worked in retirement living for more than 18 years and knows exactly what it takes to manage a retirement village. We sat down with her to hear more about her career in retirement living and why she says "It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle".
Hi Nicole, can you tell us what your role is at Keyton?
I am the senior village manager at Fiddlers Green in Berwick.
What does this job entail?
I would say my role is about creating a happy, safe and secure environment for the residents. It also includes managing our staff and ensuring that we're all on the same page. The residents all have different personalities, we have 360 residents living here, so you can imagine that there are lots of different needs and wants and we also liaise with their families, too. The job is about getting to know the residents and forming close relationships.
What does a typical day at your job look like?
My day is never the same. If you are regimented and you need a really structured day, this isn't the environment for you. We all love the fact that you don't know what you're going to deal with today. You might chat to a resident or their family, deal with staff and manage upkeep. Another aspect is the resale, that is a lot of project management. Dealing with contractors and planning what needs to be done to an apartment or unit. There are many different parts of this role and while that is challenging, it is also very rewarding.
Have you always worked in this space?
I went for my first role in retirement living 18 years ago. I started out working in admin part time, and as my children grew, I knew it was an industry I wanted to stay in. My manager was fabulous in identifying staff that wanted and needed further development to progress, so she really encouraged me. I was at my first village, Meadowvale in Pakenham, for seven years and then decided it was time to step up. So I went for an assistant village manager role. From there I was promoted to village manager, a role I was in for six years. And just recently, I have been promoted to Senior Village manager.
It's been great to stay in an industry, which I wholeheartedly believe in. I 100% believe in the community connection that allows residents to not only live longer, but live healthier. And it's great to be part of a team that supports that.
It is more than a job, it's a lifestyle.
No job is perfect - is there anything you would change if you could?
It can be tough when you become such a big part of the residents' lives, and they certainly become part of yours. So it's always really sad when residents move out. But I always say to myself it is the cycle of life as well. We often talk as a team about putting that into perspective and that's probably the only downside of the role. The rest is really rewarding.
What do I need to bring to the table to be a successful village manager?
Communication and compassion. I think they are two really key attributes that any manager or assistant manager needs because you just don't know who's going to walk into your office and need understanding. Communication is key with your whole village, whether it is staff or residents.
Learn more about Fiddlers Green.