For Dining Room Manager at Paul’s Run, Brikena Calaku, serving inspiration and developing connections with residents and staff throughout this community has been a rewarding journey. Brikena moved to the United States from Albania in 1997. With a Master’s degree in Education from her native country, when Brikena arrived to the U.S., she and her husband knew they needed to find a way to support their family. “My husband started working in housekeeping at Paul’s Run and we were both going to school to learn the English language,” Brikena recalls.
When Brikena’s husband learned that Paul’s Run was hiring a server and wait staff for the dining room, he thought this community would be a wonderful place for his wife to work. “I started here as a server in the dining room in 1999. After about four months of working here, the residents were giving me high praise and compliments for my service. My supervisor noticed and offered me the opportunity to become the Dining Room Hostess,” Brikena explains.
“When I became the Hostess I learned all of the residents’ names, where they sat in the dining room, and the table numbers by heart, and within a week I was mastering that Hostess position,” she says proudly. As Brikena excelled in her career, after just one year she progressed to become the Dining Room Manager. “I have always been so appreciative of the opportunities Paul’s Run has given me,” she reflects.
Embracing Opportunity: Brikena Becomes Dining Room Manager
As Dining Room Manager, Brikena hires, trains, and evaluates the wait staff at Paul’s Run. Supervising her team, Brikena oversees the highest quality of staff training to ensure proper safety protocols when serving as well as 100 percent customer satisfaction for Paul’s Run residents. “In addition to making sure our staff are providing the highest quality of service for residents, I also ensure that residents’ guests and families are happy with their dining experience,” Brikena adds.
The Comfort of Compassionate Care at Paul’s Run: Where residents are family
While Brikena and Paul’s Run dining staff deliver delightful food and service, her relationships with residents continue to grow and bring joy to many.
What I love most about my work at Paul’s Run is spending time with residents and hearing their stories. Being able to talk to so many people and help them in some way is rewarding. Seeing residents happy makes me happy. This community is like my second home.Brikena Calaku, Dining Room Manager at Paul’s Run
Creating meaningful connections and opportunities for socialization, Brikena describes the residents at Paul’s Run like family. “After spending so many years working here my relationships with residents are really strong. They will ask about my family and my life. They care about me as an individual, and I feel the same for them.”
Ensuring Safety Amidst COVID-19
“When COVID-19 began the safety of our residents and staff was most important,” Brikena affirms. Ensuring safety, security, and health for their community, Paul’s Run staff continues to go above and beyond throughout this pandemic. In order to safeguard residents and staff amidst COVID-19, Paul’s Run developed an expansive meal delivery program so residents who preferred to dine at home could receive their five-star meals in the comfort and safety of their own apartments.
“Our delivered meals are the highest quality of food that residents are accustomed to. We want the residents to enjoy their food whether they’re having meals delivered or eating in the dining room. We fulfill special orders that consider residents’ likes and dislikes and any special dietary requests,” Brikena explains. Additionally, Paul’s Run residents participate in food committee meetings in which resident ambassadors provide their feedback for the dining room staff.
“We have received so many compliments and the staff who deliver meals have been applauded for their kindness, their positive outlook and the socialization they bring to residents,” Brikena affirms. Throughout the pandemic Brikena says the support from Paul’s Run leadership as well as Liberty Lutheran has given her inspiration and motivation each and every day.
Our staff is so thankful for Liberty Lutheran and Paul’s Run. Their support has been amazing and it is an honor to work for this organization. Even in hard times, we are able to come to work and feel supported and motivated, and that helps us provide the highest quality of service for our residents.Brikena Calaku, Dining Room Manager at Paul’s Run
As Brikena and Paul’s Run staff provide compassionate care and safety for their residents, the many connections of friends, families, and neighbors throughout this community continue to grow. With encouragement, motivation, and spirit, Paul’s Run residents and staff enjoy the togetherness of their community.