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Villa Healthcare Celebrates Why Villa with Over $36K Checks for Employees: Our Employees Make People Better

Villa Healthcare, a leader in skilled nursing, celebrated their outstanding and caring employees with an essay contest asking why they chose to work at Villa and what their work means to them. The essays poured in and inspired tears, laughter and hope. CEO Mark Berger and CFO Steve Nagel prepared the giant checks. Anticipation was high as finalists gathered in Skokie on a perfectly fall afternoon and six employees were awarded over $36,000 for their Why Villa stories. Their stories are moving, powerful and personal.

In the three to six month category Villa awarded two winners $900 each!

  • LaTraesha Davis, Father Murray, a Villa Center, Assistant Administrator: “Why Villa? I decided that this was a company that I wanted to be a part of, not only because I wanted a company to care for me and make me better but because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I wanted to help people, I wanted to make people better. Villa supports their employees, it is a company that understands that we are not just people in positions, but we are parents, moms, dads, siblings, aunts’ uncles, and grandparents outside of our job titles. The Villa understands that to be the best employees, we need support from our employers, we need resources, and sometimes just a listening ear. Every morning I wake up excited, happy to go to work, overjoyed that I work with a company that allows me to help people in any way that I can. It is amazing that Villa recognizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating our employees. In my 10 years in the healthcare field, this is the first time that I have been able to say that I LOVE my job. I LOVE coming to work every day. I LOVE being a part of the Villa!”
  • RoseAnn VanCamp, Skokie Support Office, Managed Care Coordinator: “I started working at 13 and in all of my professional life Villa is the only place I have been excited to and proud to work for. The relationships have come easily and with unique loyalty! (My trainer even helped me pick out my wedding dress!). Most days the tide is high with self pride, and also an acute sense of service; contributing to something other than one's own daily tasks. Although culture is a huge factor in why I choose Villa every day, the nature of the work is empowering because we have opportunity every day to create value for the company and to truly be of service. With the ability to voice our opinions and feedback without fear or judgement and more importantly, the autonomy and trust that we are going to come to work and do the absolute best we can.”

In the six months to a year category Villa awarded one winner $1,800!

  • Holly Zlotocha, Villa at Lincoln Park, Director of Nursing: “Why am I dedicated and committed to Villa? I will have to tell you a little bit about my past, so you understand my dedication to The Villa for the future. I’ve been a nurse for over 15 years and have had the pleasure to experience a couple SNF and hospital base atmospheres. The Villa has not only taught me but shown me how our employees’ matter. The first weeks of starting my position I immediately had regional support and was introduced to the COO and CNO at my previous company I couldn’t even tell you who they were. Having this was an immediate “WOW” feeling that we are all here for the same reason. They have taught me that having employees who are happy end up with better results including quality care to my patients and customers. We have all been told in the past what’s wrong but at times people forget to tell you what is good/great but at the Villa this doesn’t happen and the great is recognized! It may be a prize or a simple pat on the back but that’s what keeps our heads up and pushing for better. The motivation from the company it outstanding and everyone their keeps the inspiring moral going. Another reason why I am dedicated to The Villa is because they have proven how patient care matters!! I’ve always been able to provide my patients with what is recommended and the best quality.”

In the one to three year category, Villa awarded one winner $3,650!

  • Rukaya Al-Fanharawi, Human Resources Director, Villa at Great Lakes Crossing: “Since the beginning of my career with Villa, I felt not only welcomed, but appreciated. The staff has shown me what it truly means to be part of the Villa family. Their kindness and patience reflects the care and compassion they continuously bring forth when caring for Villa residents. The respect given to every person who steps into our building is nothing short of commendable, but I know it isn’t done for the compliments or praise. All of the hard work that goes into caring for our residents is done for one reason only: to make sure they always feel safe and loved. The Villa staff has created such a caring atmosphere that a resident’s family can rest assured when leaving their loved one in our care, knowing that they will be provided with round the clock service. At Villa, we understand that the quality of care received in our organization surely effects the health outcome of each resident and because of that, we go above and beyond in our care. The diligent service is unyielding, as is every employee’s persistence to make sure each resident is always well taken care of. From beginning to end, I’ve seen the excellent and courteous service provided for every individual who walks through our doors.”

In the three to five year category, Villa awarded one winner $10,950!

  • Shanita Brown, LPN, Villa at South Holland: “Why Villa? I say Villa because it is overall a beautiful place to work. Since becoming a nurse it is the place that I decided to call home. I’ve never stayed at a nursing home longer than a year, I’ve always felt the need to spread my wings and explore else where. Since being hired I have met some lovely people from all walks of life, different cities and countries with one common goal; that is to give quality care daily. Our hearts are pure and we are here to provide exceptional care. The Villa of South Holland has helped my family and I through some tough times. Last year was very tragic for me and my family. Within two months we had lost our home due to a fire and my youngest brother was murdered on the streets of Chicago. At no point in time did I feel alone. People from all departments came through for us. The kind words, the offers of monetary help, showing up at my brother’s funeral the phone calls...OMG! As tough as it was they showed me what they really thought of me. No day is perfect, no relationship is without its arguments and fights but I can’t imagine being with any other group of people. Why Villa? Because I found a home in a place that should be work. I found an extended family in place that most see as a chore! I adore my patients and my coworkers and everyday that I come to work I know that I have made a difference in someone’s life, the same way Villa has changed mine and continues to do so. As I spread my wings I won’t spread them out the door, I’ll soar through the Villa of South Holland.”

In the five year category, Villa awarded one winner $18,250!

  • Dina Ivy, LPN, Ambassador, a Villa Center: “There is something very unique about the slogan ‘we make people better.’ When I say it, I know that I am a part of something great. A wise man once said "choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." I love my job, but I do not believe that I chose Villa. I believe that Villa chose me. Why villa? Because the potential of the staff is limitless. We are offered several incentive programs to keep our eyes on the prize. Things like tuition reimbursement make the idea of continuing one’s education more realistic. I know that if I continue to put forth effort that there is room for me to grow within the company. I know that with Villa the possibilities are endless. Villa has really found their niche. They specialize in making the employees feel like they are a part of something greater. I love coming to work knowing that I am a part of a team that makes people better. I believe these qualities inspire strong connections, helps build lasting relationships, and makes a difference while I navigate through my work day. The company is overflowing with positivity and that positivity encourages everyone. I believe that positivity is a science and it is obvious that Villa recognizes how it impacts thinking, health, and life. Villa keeps its employees happy. This positivity directly affects how we treat and care for our patients. This is one of the most important ways that we make people better. Why Villa? Simple. We make people better. I am part of a team. A team that makes people better. I am Villa.”

We’re Villa, and we make people better. Of course, we’re focused on quality care and good outcomes. But we’re here to do so much more. Villa’s leadership has a vision of rising above the status quo—of never settling, and of shattering the old image of this industry. We’ve always wanted to be a part of something greater, and we’re making that a reality. Our commitment to our people, our environment and clinical programs will allow us to fulfill our mission of making people better. For more information, please visit


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