Kristen Tokic Named Administrator at Riverside Presbyterian House
Recently, Westminster Communities of Florida promoted Kristen Tokic to Administrator at Riverside Presbyterian House, an affordable Rental Retirement Community in Jacksonville, Florida, for older adults. Kristen’s journey from Certified Occupancy Specialist to Administrator is just one example of the wide array of possibilities for growth within our organization, and the plethora of educational opportunities available to team members.
After joining Westminster in 2019, Kristen was encouraged to pursue opportunities for career advancement by her Administrator, supervisor and family. As a result, she completed a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of North Florida, with the support of the Westminster Communities of Florida Tuition Reimbursement Program. This program reimburses current team members for courses they take at an accredited institution, a benefit offered to team members seeking career ladder positions.
“Westminster is very supportive in furthering your education,” Kristen said. “There are a lot of strong leaders at our company and they want to facilitate that growth for everyone. There’s a push for everyone to do better.”
Over the past five years, the Tuition Reimbursement Program has provided more than $115,000 in tuition reimbursement in amounts ranging from $415 to $9,900, all driving the opportunity for advancement.
Kristen started out at Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, a neighboring community, working for Administrator Katherine Trussell. In her seven years as Administrator, Kathy has encouraged many team members to take advantage of career advancement opportunities and further their education, including Kristen. “It has been a privilege to support the team members in furthering their education,” Kathy said.
Kathy aims to challenge and cross-train team members and seeks out those who are adaptable, have strong communication skills, are open to feedback, and support and empower other team members. “That’s what I look for in employees who are going to be leaders.” Kathy added, “I saw all those qualities in Kristen from the minute she arrived.”
Shannon Woods, Regional Director for Westminster’s Rental Retirement Communities, saw the same drive and leadership qualities in Kristen. “Right out of the gate you could tell she was a go-getter,” Shannon commented. “You could pick up on the hunger and excitement to learn more and do more.”
Shannon noted that Kristen displayed many traits that a successful administrator needs to have – compassion, commitment, dedication to the team members and one other, key thing: “The willingness to do whatever job to get the work done to serve our residents.”
Kristen’s experience working with seniors led her to focus on a career in health administration. “The purpose of our communities is to serve the underserved,” Kristen said. “We want to make sure that they have a good place to live and to ensure that we’re fulfilling our Mission. Overall, Westminster wants to make people’s lives better.”
The Tuition Reimbursement Program is just one way Westminster Communities of Florida offers team members opportunities for growth. In addition, team members can participate in in-house training and professional development sessions, follow Westminster career paths, seek internal promotions, or apply for resident-funded scholarships with the support of the Westminster Communities Foundation. “It’s all at the tip of their fingers,” Shannon explained. “All they need to do is initiate the conversation and show the willingness to do the work.”
How can Westminster team members move up the career ladder? All three leaders offered a similar piece of advice: Clearly communicate your goals to your supervisor.
“Make your desires known,” Shannon advised. “Be vocal about your intentions, be excited about the opportunity, learn everything that you can in every department and never limit yourself.”
“Be very open with your administrator,” Kathy added. “Communicate exactly what you want so they can help you.”
Kristen’s journey to leadership is just one example of a team member utilizing Westminster supported career advancement opportunities to grow and to succeed. “It was hard, but it was worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Kristen said.