Growth Story – Culinary Director
No one was going to let me fail – to have that amount of support when I was so new, I knew it was more than just a job, it was a career. I knew this was the place for me.
A Northbridge Career Growth Story
Meet Maeghan Corbo
At Northbridge we are proud to foster a culture of opportunity and growth for our associates as they learn about life in the community, working with our residents and about the senior living industry. Many of our associates have been able to thrive and grow with us and we are excited to share their stories with you!
Years at Northbridge: 4 years
First job at Northbridge: Chef
Current job: Culinary Director
Community: Avita of Wells
Her story of growth:
- What have you learned as you’ve grown your career at Northbridge?
There’s been a lot, this has been my first job in healthcare. I’ve always been in a restaurant or café so this is very different, but more rewarding. I’ve learned better time management skills, it’s very different when you’re the only one cooking for the building vs. having a line of cooks working with you. Time management and teamwork have been great skills to have learned as I transitioned into the Culinary Director. I’ve always worked in teams before but here it’s a much more tight knit team and it’s really nice, we’ve become family. We all come together and support each other and that’s been one of the nicest things since being here. That level of support is something I haven’t experienced before. At Avita I’ve experienced this type of support on a personal and professional level.
- Professionally- It was my 3rd week on the job and we had a big family BBQ and Lobster bake. The Culinary Director was pulled away for an emergency and I was terrified to take on the event by myself. I wanted to make sure the residents and their families were happy but I was nervous because I was so new. There was this moment when all of the department directors were in the kitchen helping to make sure that everything ran smoothly. No one was going to let me fail and to have that amount of support when I was so new, I knew it was more than just a job, it was a career. I knew this was the place for me, I’ve never experienced that level of support before.
- Personally- everyone at Avita wants you to succeed so every once in a while they’ll ask what your plans are with Northbridge, do you want to grow within the company, what do you want to do and what do you want to learn more of. In restaurants it’s so cut throat that people aren’t willing to help you get ahead and help you learn because they don’t want to get their toes stepped on but it’s not like that here. Everyone wants you to stay and grow within the company so they’re willing to spend that time with you to train you.
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
There are two parts that go hand in hand, one with associates and one with residents.
- Residents- Getting to know them on a personal level and getting to spend time with them. Food is something that will bring people together and we’re really lucky because we get to go into the neighborhoods and serve the meals and really get to know the residents. We learn what they like and what they don’t like. During the pandemic I started making their birthday cakes and that has been one of the best parts. We had a resident who celebrated her 100th birthday and I made her this big two tiered cake and to see the smile on her face, it gives me goosebumps. On my first Manager on Duty shift there was a resident who was having a really rough day and was missing her sister and family. I sat with her and talked to her and she leaned over and put her head on my shoulder and I put my arm around her and she said, “I can tell already, I just love you Maeghan.” Those little moments, no matter how bad of a day it is, those are the moments that stand out and keep you coming back.
- Associates- It’s the ability to pay it forward. I’m in a position now where I can do what the previous Culinary Director did for me and help someone else. We have an associate who came in as a dietary aid and she said that she was done with restaurants and that she wanted something stable. I think the pandemic showed us that this is a stable job and working in a restaurant is not. I started training her on cooking and to see someone grow in the company like I did, it means a lot and it’s really rewarding.
- What would you say to someone who is thinking of starting a job at Northbridge?
I’m not as familiar with Independent and Assisted Living because Memory Care has become my pride and joy. I would say that from the day to day aspect there will be tough days, especially in Memory Care but those good moments, those are the ones that stand out. A year from now you’re not going to remember being yelled at by a resident, you’re going to remember the day they wanted to hold your hand, the day they asked for a hug. From a Northbridge perspective, this is probably the only job I’ve had that I’m able to achieve work/life balance. I’m a single mom, my son is almost 11 and being a single parent and working full time I never thought I’d have that work/life balance. The benefits are great, during the pandemic having access to that babysitting benefit saved me. I can’t imagine anywhere else offering to reimburse you for any amount of childcare so that you could come to work. There are a lot of great things with the day to day aspects but also just overall with Northbridge that stand out to me. Northbridge stands out from a lot of other companies and any job I’ve had in the past.
- What differentiates Northbridge from other companies?
One of the biggest things is the support, a little bit goes along way and they make sure people know they’re appreciated and make sure to tell people they’re doing a good job. As little as it seems that goes such a long way and I’ve adopted that to my team. When I was an hourly associate that’s what they did for me and that made me feel so good. As a company, they put their money where their mouth is. They say they want their associates to have that work/life balance and they help us achieve that.
- What have you learned in your new job since being promoted?
I’ve had to work on my team building skills, I started hosting a staff meeting every other week to keep the lines of communication open and go over housekeeping things. It’s also a chance for anyone to bring up anything they want to talk about. This has been a big area of growth for me. I’ve also been learning a lot about the systems that go into making a kitchen run successfully. I’ve learned how to manage the many personalities that work in a kitchen. You aren’t able to treat all associates the same way when talking with them. You have to learn everyone’s personalities and how they take constructive criticism and feedback and adjust the way you speak to them. This is something I’ve learned from my previous Culinary Director, Matt.
Another reason why Memory Care is so close to my heart is that I watched my grandfather live with Alzheimer’s disease and seeing how he was cared for compared to how we care for our residents at Avita just blows me away. This company and everyone who works here puts so much thought and effort into there jobs, it’s such a breath of fresh air and something that should be celebrated. It’s the quality of life, there is so much quality of life here.
Find a Culinary position at a Northbridge community near you!
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Working at a Northbridge senior living community
If you are considering a career in senior living, we hope you’ll consider one of our communities. Our team of associates makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our residents, every day. Because of that, we treat our team like family and we’re happy to offer:
- Competitive Pay
- Flexible Schedules
- Direct Deposit
- Vacation & Personal Days
- Paid Holidays & Sick Time
- Your Birthday Off
- Health Insurance to Qualified Associates
- 401k Company Match
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Ongoing Education
- Associate Appreciation
View our careers website today to view open positions, what a day working at Northbridge is like, and why our associates love to work here.
As a New England senior living company, we pride ourselves in being the local choice for families in need of assisted living or memory care. We look to our teams of associates to truly make our communities home for our residents. Whether that’s a helping hand or a moment to listen to a story, our associates are dedicated and compassionate. With 19 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we hope you’ll find your home here too. If you already love what you do, and want to love where you work, apply now! We look forward to meeting you.