On Leah Queen’s first day as Assisted Living Administrator at WCBR, January 4, severe weather caused a power outage. The backup generator kept essential functions running, but it was a hectic day across our campus.
Based on this, it was recommended that Leah postpone her start day. She came in anyway, assuming that a day like this was one on which she was needed. “It was an amazing day to start,” she says. “I learned so much so quickly.” She loved the challenge of figuring things out until the power was restored.
“My passion is for serving this population,” she says, and that’s what she’s been doing since that day.
She oversees the operations for all Catered Living and Vista Memory Care. Leah is responsible for supervising people in “all job functions” – nurses, CNAs, and everyone who interacts with residents from the moment they arrive.
The new job is something of a departure for her on a couple of levels – matching her experience, but adding new challenges that she is glad to embrace.
First, the responsibilities are broader. In the past, her administrative experience was mostly in the healthcare area. Now, it’s about being aware of and meeting all of residents’ needs. In particular, she is “very excited about memory care” as a way she can help make residents’ lives better.
She is also very pleased to be in an independent, not-for-profit setting. Her husband also works for a nonprofit CCRC, and she has long seen the advantages. She likes the fact that everyone in charge – everyone in a position to make key decisions – is right here, and they are people she knows and has chosen to work with.
The teamwork she’s found here is wonderful, she says – “everyone being so helpful.”
And the job is a convenient drive from her home in Staunton – a good length for contemplating her day at the start and when it’s over. There, she and her husband live with their two young daughters, who are competitively involved with both cheer and ballet.
Originally from Front Royal, Va., Leah never thought of this line of work. After she graduated from Radford University, having studied psychology and criminal justice, she took a temporary job tending bar. One of her customers, having gotten to know her and being impressed, suggested she take a job as Human Resources Manager.
The HR job, as it happened, was in a nursing home, and “after about two months, I fell in love” with providing service to the residents. She worked in HR for a time, but kept thinking she wanted to do more for both residents and associates. “What can I give back to them?” she wondered.
Someone said, “You should be an administrator.” From that point on, her career has led to this new mission at WCBR.