HR Director Ravonda John Likes Taking Care of People
Ravonda John has been the Human Resources Director at Scotia Village since 2010 and has been in the HR profession for over three decades. Before joining our team, she had worked primarily in manufacturing; first in textiles, then in auto parts. Unfortunately, jobs in those industries “went away,” she says, and she was looking for something new. She ran into an old friend, Alan Johnson, whom she hadn’t seen in many years. Alan was, at that time, the Marketing Director at Scotia Village, and it turned out that we were in need of an HR Director. Alan recommended her for the position, and she got it. Given how that chance encounter turned out, she says it was “divine intervention” that led her to us.
For Ravonda, Scotia Village is a very different type of working environment. “In manufacturing you basically communicate or have a relationship just with managers and employees,” she says, “but here you build relationships with everybody – managers, employees and residents, whether they’re independent, assisted living or skilled nursing. Everybody is really a family here, and I enjoy it because you get to share a lot more with people – lifestyles, backgrounds, the ways you’re alike and the ways you’re different. And you really get to embrace the people in this industry.”
She loves coming in every day and talking to the residents. “I greet residents every day, and talk with them, not on a work level but on a personal level. We have a camaraderie. I don’t separate myself and say, ‘I’m just here for employees.’ I make sure I’m here for everyone in the facility.”
Of course, her primary duties do involve the employees – recruiting new staff, dealing with employee relations and benefits, handling payroll issues – and that gives her some insight into how the Scotia Village staff feel about our community. “For the most part our employees really enjoy working here,” she says. “They like the environment and the relationships they build with residents. When an employee does leave, the first thing they ask is if they can come back and visit with the residents. It just brings a joy to all of us to be there for residents.”
Helping people is really what Ravonda loves about being in HR. “I’ve always felt like HR is the conscience of a facility,” she says, “and employee relations is really taking care of people. I enjoy that aspect of it, of being there for people.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ravonda is also becoming more involved in other areas of the retirement community field. She is almost halfway through her state Administrator In Training (AIT) certification, a rigorous training program designed to develop comprehensive knowledge of national and state regulations regarding nursing and retirement care. As Ravonda explains, “It’s to make sure our mission is fulfilled for the residents. It’s an opportunity for me to understand nursing areas better.”
In addition to Scotia Village, Ravonda’s AIT program requires her to train and observe in two other facilities for a total of 33 weeks. “I’ve got a long way to go,” Ravonda says. “But I can already see how it will allow me to make more of a difference than I could before.”
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