When I first spoke with Mike Silverman, the new Chief Executive Officer at Heritage Pointe, I inadvertently stepped into a staff meeting already in progress. Back and forth, they were volleying about something I was out of the loop on. And then I was hit with a unique request from the man himself, “Do you know a good patchologist?” he asked.
“What the heck is a patchologist,” I thought to myself. I finally realized that he was actually pulling my leg, and since this was our first meeting, he immediately put me at ease. Something tells me this is a natural gift of Mr. Silverman.
M.S.: Sorry about all the patch questions, but we’re talkin’ patches.
JLife: No that’s ok. What are you guys working on? Well, we’re tinkering around with our logo. We’re going to be branding ourselves a little differently, so I’m buying polo shirts for all of our staff so that we present really nicely.
Is it a new logo entirely? It’s basically the tree logo that we have, but we really haven’t branded it appropriately in the facility or in the community. I’m really big on branding, so I’m going to be doing a lot more with that. That’s just my “shtick.”
Well, that actually plays into another question which is, “do you have any big plans for Heritage Pointe?” Along with branding, which is a big deal for us, we are also looking into upgrading our amenities and putting in more features that residents would like to have here in the building. However, the most important thing for us is to have fun and enjoy every day. What I’ve been telling people is that every day in the facility should be a “simcha.” We should be celebrating every single day. I’ve also been using the phrase “unexpected acts of fun.” I just think it makes for a nice environment, when you never know what’s coming, but you know you’re going to have a good time.
How has your past work experience prepared you for this position at Heritage Pointe? Well, I’ve been working in the Jewish senior health care field for the past 20 years, and a lot of it comes down to customer service. To me, it’s about how you handle people when they want something, working with staff, customers, and keeping people happy. I consider us to be in the hospitality business, and people have choices. When you can choose the assisted or independent living community you want to go to, just like you can choose a hotel you want to go to… you’ll want to go to a place where you feel warm and special. I’m getting that message across to our staff and because of that, there is a great feeling out in the community about Heritage Pointe. It’s pretty special right now.
What are the differences and similarities you have seen working in New York, Connecticut, Nebraska and California? As far as the Jewish community, any Jewish community in the country has the same expectations, and that is an incredibly high standard and excellent communication. Families want to know that their loved ones are being well cared for and respected. There are other factors in California, like cost-of-living, and these things can be a challenge for a lot of folks, but you also get the blessing and benefit of the weather. In Omaha, there would be two weeks straight when it wouldn’t even hit the temperature of zero. It’s brutal.
What is your relationship with the residents like? The first thing I would say is that I actually listen to them. That is a pretty big deal. I consider every resident to be my boss. So when they say they want something or need something, I pay attention to it. That’s not to say that they didn’t really have that before, but it’s at a different level now. They also know that I am approachable. I spent a lot of time with residents, because I need to get to know them not necessarily as residents, but as community members, and to find out what’s important to them. This way I can meet their needs. I treat every one of them as I would like my parents or grandparents to be treated. We have a commandment of “honoring thy mother and father.” To me, that means all of our senior community members. I try to live that every day and I’m pushing that to our staff members as well. Again, treat everybody the way you want to be treated and you can’t go wrong.
What is your favorite part of your job? Absolutely I would say it is speaking to the folks that are here… the residents. I love getting things accomplished don’t get me wrong. I do like budgeting and working on policies and all that stuff, but what makes me feel the best is when I can do something—even if it’s not intentional—that inspires someone to say, “thank you or you made me so happy.” That’s the best part of my job. When people come over to me and say “we’re so glad you’re here and you’re listening to us.” I feel the timing is right here and I think it’s also the right time for my personality to be here too, because it’s been a great fit with the residents and the staff. There is a new energy that’s happening right now and I think it’s all positive. So there’s a vibe. It’s nice coming to a place and having a really good vibes. It’s starting to feel very special.
For more information please call (949) 364-9685 or visit www.heritagepointe.org.