By Jack Cumming
Leslie Quintanar is one of those special people who choose senior living for a career out of a sense of having been called to serve others. She combines that calling with a clear sense of business value. She is a senior living leader who is an inspiration to all who know her, and they are many.
Carlsbad by the Sea
The residents at Carlsbad by the Sea Retirement Community (CBTS) remember Leslie with lingering affection. Her career began at CBTS over a decade ago. It was her introduction to what has become her life work. She worked well with residents. Residents remember that she never said, “No.” Her standard response to all resident requests, whether they were valid or over the top, was, “I’ll take care of it.” And she did.
One resident said recently, recalling Leslie with affection, that her motto was to meet the residents’ needs and wants wherever possible. In those few instances in which that simply wasn’t possible, she would take as much time as needed to sit with the resident, to listen, to reason calmly, to listen some more, until the resident came to realize what could be done. In short, Leslie is known for accepting responsibility. She’s not one to deflect blame on to others.
United Cerebal Palsy
Eventually, the time came when she left CBTS to follow her husband to Pennsylvania. She had discovered her calling, though, and while working for United Cerebral Palsy, she continued her studies to return to what she loved, working with seniors. She qualified in both California and Pennsylvania as an Administrator for Residential Care for the Elderly, a sign of her commitment. Her calling is so clear that she’s been known to label herself “senior living gal.” Leslie is dedicated.
I’ve only met her once. I immediately realized that this is exactly the kind of inspiring person that senior housing needs. That one encounter lifted my spirits, gave hope, and inspired new vision. Since that encounter, I’ve followed her career with interest as more and more people have come to recognize her ability.
Her attributes – a can-do outlook, a vision for the possible, a willing acceptance of responsibility, and a managerial view that the bucks stops here – provide success models for others. Leslie has an eye for talent; she motivates people – residents and staff alike – to believe in themselves and to pursue their potential to the fullest. She is a natural coach who helps others to overcome the natural challenges of a career.
Senior living tends to be an industry in which people fill positions more often than they find careers; nurses stay in nursing, maintenance is its own specialty, food services requires specialized skills, etc. Leslie, though, has aspired to be the kind of manager who integrates the whole and motivates others to create a haven for the elderly in which they feel respected, recognized, and reassured.
She has created her own career track. She has been recognized for advancement by her employers but she has also been open to other opportunities. Along the way, she transitioned from resident services to executive director and from executive director to regional vice president. When opportunity came her way, she was ready. By moving among several organizations, she has been able to learn what works from the best of several enterprise cultures.
She Has Moxy
One colleague wrote recently of her, “Leslie is driven to provide excellence. She understands the bottom line and motivates associates to do their best to make a difference. Leslie is professional, positive, a confident leader . . . and has ‘moxy’!” “Moxy,” a sense of the value of money, an ability to elevate residents, are all talents to inspire and motivate others who seek to advance within this positive, service-minded industry.
Not only is she effective in her job, and in her motivation of those who know her, she also contributes to the industry through her writing, sharing with others the evolution of her understanding of the industry’s best opportunities. She is a vibrant voice for the industry as it evolves toward maturity in service to its customers. These are traits to be treasured. We can all learn from Leslie Quintanar.