Jennifer Martel: Co-Owner and General Manager
Jennifer Martel is a well known professional in the retirement industry with a solid reputation as a strong advocate for seniors living in retirement communities. Jennifer has worked for many years to improve the quality of life for clients residing in communities where she has held multiple positions including General Manager and Regional Director and now, Co-Owner and General Manager of Greystone Village Retirement.
We sat down with Jennifer to learn about Greystone Village Retirement, which Jennifer co-owns with business partners Richard Lemay, Daniel Lemay and Marc Boulianne. We wanted to find out why she is so passionate about what she does and why she chose this path. While working for the Canadian Diabetes Association as a Provincial Director, Jennifer had the opportunity to apply for a position within the retirement industry and although she had no experience in this field, she was intrigued and excited about it, “I started in a small home which was amazing because I was able to spend a lot of time working with staff learning each and every role. It felt natural from day one and I knew very quickly that this is truly what I was put on earth to do”.
Her initial experience in the retirement industry, is evident in Jennifer’s ability to not only manage staff, but to understand their daily challenges. Jennifer is respected by her staff as a manager who “doesn’t just manage from behind a desk”, she is often found on the front lines helping wherever she can.
“I believe that providing a healthy, happy and safe work environment for all staff is key to ensuring that residents receive the best of everything in their new home, from the cleanliness of resident suites and the building, to the food prepared for them, to the greetings they receive when strolling throughout their home to the nursing care provided when and if they need it–it’s all connected”.
Jennifer also understands the connection between the needs of her residents and her staff and the importance of this connection in the day to life in a retirement residence. “Providing the best quality of life for our residents is a priority, and we must work together as a team to accomplish that. As a manager, I set clear expectations and guidelines and I expect those to be met. I am honest and open with feedback and my door is always open. I am a strong believer in communication and I encourage my staff to make decisions and/or act. If they are in doubt about how to proceed with something, I tell them to ask themselves if their action will result in the best experience for the resident. If the answer is yes, they should proceed. If the result of their action is not perfect, we talk about it and learn together.
“Jennifer is a hard worker who believes that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, she instills this in all of us by her own actions and behaviors. Jennifer is a natural leader and I would work for her again any day,” says one former employee.
“I’m very proud of what we are creating at Greystone Village Retirement and so excited that our residents have such a wonderful new community to call home. Old Ottawa East is a beautiful area full of amazing people and services and we look forward to building strong relationships with our new neighbors and to supporting other area businesses. Greystone Village Retirement is only part of the new retirement life our residents will have – Old Ottawa East will be their new community”.
Jennifer’s time-tested-tips about how to find the right retirement community:
- Thoroughly research all your options
- Be prepared with questions when you tour homes and make sure that the home has what you are looking for.
- Ask a lot of questions. Not all homes offer the same services or level of care.
- If you don’t understand the answers you are given, ask for clarification.
- Pace yourself: touring multiple homes can be overwhelming.
- Narrow down your search to three homes that you feel may be the right choice (after a few tours, retirement homes may all start to look the same).
- When touring, be sure not to focus on the amenities and decor, focus on the residents, the staff, the cleanliness and feel of the home.
- Take a lot of notes and capture how you feel after each tour.
- Having someone accompany you on tours can be helpful but avoid having a large entourage (you can always have other people tour after you’ve narrowed your search down or have made a preliminary decision). Having support from people you trust is important, but you want to select a home that feels right for your first and foremost.
Scheduled to open in January 2020, Greystone Village Retirement is a luxury retirement residence located off Main Street on the corner of Oblate Avenue and Scholastic Drive.