PHOTOS BY JEJ PHOTOS
It’s impossible not to notice the sincere smiles on residents’ faces when you walk through Brookridge Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, or the camaraderie you feel at every turn. Although it’s a new “home” setting for these discerning seniors, the true values that create a home are definitely present, thanks to a remarkably skilled and personable staff who rank compassion and caring at the top of their daily task lists.
Nestled in an inspiring picturesque location – a 46-acre wooded campus to be exact – Brookridge Retirement Community is a faith-based living choice (from memory care to independent living) with its own 70-year legacy of excellence. Residents vary in age and backgrounds, and new friendships are formed on a daily basis, through popular activities that include biking, walking and jogging on beautiful trails, gardening, crafts, day trips, and an exceptional pool and fitness area. Full-service amenities and maintenance-free living certainly entice prospective residents to explore Brookridge’s garden homes and varying apartment styles suitable for both individuals and couples, but the chance of a lifetime to live among old friends – and new ones – is the icing on the cake!
Let us introduce you to a trio of female leaders who work tirelessly to maintain quality care for every resident, while building on their personal foundations of resilience, positivity, and personal strength!
Jessica McCollum, Vice-President of Operations
With a strong belief that being a female leader in the healthcare industry holds much significance, Jessica, a Triad native, currently lives with her family in the Ardmore community of Winston-Salem. She holds an undergraduate degree from High Point University and an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management and believes “wearing her heart on her sleeve” has allowed residents and their families to see her sincerity and how much she cares about them. “In this industry, residents and staff are predominantly female, so I relate to them well! Being the only female on the executive team at this time does have challenges, but I enjoy working with the executive team and leaders of the community, and look forward to much growth in 2021,” she says. As for future scenarios, Jessica sees the biggest challenge facing Brookridge as how baby boomers will impact the independent living industry. “We need to ensure we can offer the amenities and services the younger retiree is looking for,” she explains. “Brookridge has the ability to directly admit residents into assisted living and long-term care without coming through the independent living portion of the community – if a higher level of care is needed.” Her best advice to future female leaders: find a good mentor, play to your strengths and execute those strengths with grace and kindness, be humble, and above all, believe in yourself!
Tanya Brinegar, Director of Independent Living
Tanya has been at Brookridge since 2014, after moving to Clemmons from Tennessee in 1994 to raise a family and pursue opportunities in human resources. “Family time makes my heart happy,” says Tanya. “Women with careers in life plan communities are committed, thoughtful individuals with varied backgrounds, and there’s no such thing as a typical day. That’s what makes it so rewarding.” She feels strongly that by building relationships with seniors and co-workers you have a chance to change lives daily. “Every experience has taught me something I needed to know in order to be successful as Director of Independent Living. Be mindful of every situation and listen more than you speak!” Tanya urges other female leaders to believe in what they bring to the professional table. “When responding with calm you earn respect from your colleagues,” she says. “Your growth in leadership is dependent on the lessons you learn dealing with both the good and the bad. Always consider it a privilege and honor to care for our seniors!” Tanya has enjoyed and embraced the change in cultural habits at Brookridge and believes collaboration and communication have helped set the tone for success at the property.
Tatum Myers, Healthcare Administrator
As a graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS in healthcare management and an MBA from Wake Forest University, Tatum grew up in Winston-Salem and loves to be able to support her community by caring for seniors! “I come from a family of business leaders, both men and women, and I learned quickly that where God has called you, He will carry you.” Tatum loves empowering women, and doesn’t feel being female causes her to question her own confidence. “Brookridge empowers all genders to be the best they can be. We are truly a family, and work together for the common goal of enhancing lives of residents while providing outstanding care.” The future of healthcare is constantly changing – and the most significant challenge may be capacity, and having enough people to take care of everyone who needs to utilize the system. But Brookridge has the ability to directly admit residents into Assisted Living, Memory Care, short-term rehab, and long-term care, and Tatum explains that the Brookridge culture is truly based on putting people first. “If we take care of residents with that mentality, the rest of the business will fall into place. I’m so grateful Winston-Salem residents have the option to receive care from an organization that isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right, even if it isn’t the popular opinion.” She’s also anxious to offer words of wisdom to the next generation of female administrators: Stay true to who you are, stand your ground and be proud you have found your calling, no matter what that is. “Don’t get caught up in agendas,” she reminds us. “Strive to make a difference!”
Brookridge CEO, Reed Vanderslik, couldn’t be prouder of the community’s leadership team, which he feels blends impeccable character, courage, and grit, with an ongoing willingness to learn and implement new strategies. “Our team is always willing to try things that have a calculated but uncertain outcome, and learn from them if the results aren’t what they anticipated.” Dedicated leaders, compassion, and a heart for serving others will lead Brookridge Retirement Community into a strong new year!
A Life Plan Community owned and operated by Baptist Retirement Homes of NC, Brookridge is located at 1199 Hayes Forest Drive in Winston-Salem. Call them at 336-759-1044 or visit their new website at brookridgecommunity.org to schedule an in-person or virtual tour or learn more about their services and lifestyle. Please note, the Brookridge staff has made every effort to maintain its level of lifestyle while following every CDC guideline related to Covid.