Education & Training:
Building & Amenities:
Up close and personal with...Rosemary Westley
INsite catches up with Rosemary Westley, manager of Rosewood Park Retirement Village and winner of the 2011 Village Manager of the Year title.
INsite: What was your reaction when you learned you had taken the 2011 Village Manager of the Year title?
Rose: I was shocked that I had won, especially being from a small village up against other multimillion-dollar villages. I was really thrilled that all the hard work and changes that had been put into the village had been recognised.
INsite: What do you believe is your key to success with regards to managing Rosewood Park?
Rose: My key to managing Rosewood Park successfully is being honest, and keeping up good communication, which includes listening to what our residents and the village owners want and need. Being innovative, using initiative, and always thinking of ways to improve. Keeping within budget is a must as well, especially in these economic times.
INsite: I understand you brought about many changes at Rosewood Park. What changes did you make, both practical and cultural?
Rose: I have raised the awareness of Rosewood Park throughout the community by marketing the MiLife brand. With our empty villas I create a warm and inviting atmosphere that gives people a true sense of being at home in our village. My floristry knowledge and experience have given me skills in landscaping and colour and a flair for design, which I have used in the gardens at Rosewood Park. I have made our residents feel like they “belong” here and that MiLife Rosewood Park is “their” home. It is a community within a community. It doesn’t matter what nationality or religion you are or have, you are welcome. I have created a lovely atmosphere here that visitors and residents alike frequently comment and compliment me on.
INsite: What inspired these changes?
Rose: I saw opportunities to create a better atmosphere for the residents, and to enhance and improve the management of the village. From past experience in various business fields, I have learned that the environment that you live in is very important to your wellbeing. If where you live looks pleasing to the eye, and is clean and tidy with happy people that care and listen, then you have created that “quality of life” that is desired. It goes a long way to a happy and healthy existence.
INsite: I read you were once a florist. What led you from flowers to village management?
Rose: I had always enjoyed working with people and creating stunning arrangements for people to enjoy, whatever the occasion. Listening to what people want was always paramount. Often the client would express the reason why they are giving flowers, which would in turn allow me to understand and create something suitable for the occasion. Becoming the manager of this retirement village has allowed me to put to use many of the skill I developed as not only a florist, but a small business owner.
INsite: What aspects of village management do you enjoy the most and find the most rewarding?
Rose: I love seeing joy on the faces of my residents which comes from creating a new garden, or putting on a nice afternoon tea. Making a person feel appreciated, wanted perhaps and even listened to, when the world is such a busy place, is very important to me. I love selling villas, meeting new potential residents and showing them everything we have to offer them at Rosewood Park. My clients more often than not will tell me their story, and why they feel the need to look at coming into a village. When I can fulfil their dreams and wishes, and then see, once they are settled in, how happy and stress-free they are, it is worth every little bit of hard work.
INsite: What are the biggest challenges and frustrations of managing a village?
Rose: It is always hard seeing when a resident is at the stage when they need to move into 24-hour care. This is tough for everyone in the village as we are all part of a large family. Possibly one of the hardest things is when my client is desperate to come into the village, but they haven’t sold their own home. Sometimes their house has been on the market for a year.
INsite: What advice would you give to a new village manager just starting out?>>>
Rose: Listen to what the owners and residents want and need for the village. Then research, get advice, and work within the budget. If you are ever unsure, check with your head office/CEO.
INsite: What do you see as the biggest challenges the retirement and aged care sector are currently facing? How do you think these should be addressed?
Rose: The biggest challenge is the downturn in the market; many find it a struggle to sell their home at a price that enables them to come into a village with some savings as well. I believe more pressure needs to be put on real estate agents as they hold much influence over the house prices, and how the market goes.
INsite: What are your leadership philosophies?
• Treat others as you want to be treated
• Have passion and love what you do
• Always look for ways to help people
• Have determination
• Learn business skills and have a good understanding of business
• Have compassion, time, patience and tolerance and learn to listen
• Believe in yourself.
INsite: Who or what inspires you?
Rose: The desire to make people happy and give them a good quality of life inspires me. In the back of my mind I always ask myself “would I like that?”
INsite: Outside of work, how do you most like to spend your spare time?
Rose: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also love doing home improvements, gardening, reading, watching movies, and travelling. And making the most out of every day is a big thing for me.
Monday, 5 March 2012
Where in NZ is Rosewood Village? Editor: Rosewood Park is in Levin, in the Manawatu region.
Note: your email address will not be displayed