Meet Janet Ray, Carillon Assisted Living’s Operations Resource Coordinator and Director of Our Team Building Efforts
While Janet Ray carries the title of Operations Resource Coordinator, she is better known as Carillon’s sparkplug, thanks to qualities she developed in past work and ministry experiences.
At her first job out of high school, she worked her way up from an entry-level position to sales director before departing. Her previous employer stressed personal improvement, reflecting his “never give up, stay with the task, believe in yourself’ character, says Janet, who soon celebrates her 18th anniversary with us.
While her duties encouraging team members, overseeing company recognition awards, and other duties are more complex than leading her church’s youth group, she also learned valuable lessons in that role. Things like teaching teens how to get along and appreciate each other come in handy today.
“I have a prayer on the wall in my office about trying to use my gifts and make a difference,” Janet says. “That’s what I tell our team members—they have a unique opportunity every day to make a difference in someone’s life. They can impact our residents by being who they are and doing their jobs with compassion and care. Not everybody can do that.”
Janet has been our first and only operations resource coordinator. When she took the position in 2001, we had just six facilities, meaning she could see team members at each community four times a year.
With the number of residences since expanded to 21, those trips have been reduced to annual visits. While she regrets not being able to form as many close relationships as in the past, Janet appreciates how the increase in facilities enables more families to enjoy the caring atmosphere we offer to our residents.
And, while she has more of a behind-the-scenes role than she did in those early days, our growth hasn’t stopped her from lending creative touches to her position. Though her visits are less frequent, for meetings with team members she schedules activities that are entertaining, and often prove memorable.
“In staff meetings they’re doing training or reviewing things that need to be corrected, but when you play a game that has a point, it sticks with you,” Janet says.
“Recently I was in the Knightdale community. I told them there would be food, fun and fellowship. We played some super silly games and someone said, ‘Oh, you’re the one who did the scavenger hunt.’ That’s kind of rewarding. They may not remember me in the beginning, but they remember what we’ve done.”
Actually, says Chief Operations Officer Bob Goyette, Janet’s contributions are valued and appreciated throughout the Carillon family. Her “people first” approach makes team members feel valued and appreciated, he says. That impact that can be felt on every level, too, since it feeds our culture of teamwork.
In addition, Carillon’s ability to provide excellent service to residents comes from leadership, systems, and motivation, Bob says. He admires the ways she contributes to that by visiting communities, facilitating picnics, dinners and appreciation events, as well as “owning” her job.
“That type of dedication and ownership is rare, but it’s a hallmark of Janet’s approach,” Bob says. “It’s not just a job to her; it’s a calling. It’s reflected in all she does. We probably don’t have a true sense of the lives she has touched since she began the journey with Carillon. It’s safe to say she has touched hundreds of lives.”
That influence extends beyond North Carolina’s borders too. For the past six years she has been taking annual mission trips to Panama/Peru, with this year’s covering the first two weeks of December. Initially she went with her church, but when they changed to a new location, the missionaries there invited her to continue coming.
Janet has involved Carillon residents in these outings. Lately they have been making greeting cards that will be going into children’s backpacks, along with shoes, clothing, and supplies that will be delivered to areas throughout Panama. She has been making wreaths/floral arrangements with all of the monies going towards the purchase of the children’s backpacks and items inside. There will be 2000 children receiving these backpacks in 5 countries with half of the gifts in Panama alone.
“I got a call the other night about an 80-year-old resident who made 120 cards for the trip and I lost it thinking of those precious hands making something for those kids,” Janet says. “I’ve always involved Carillon in my trips and the residents. My coworkers have bought so many wreaths this year. It’s another reason I love Carillon. They’ve supported me in personal avenues.”
While Janet calls our team members the unsung heroes at Carillon, we could make the case that she’s the most deserving of that title.
on November 16, 2017