Today is International Women’s Day, and Westminster Communities of Florida is pleased to highlight the contributions of women to organizations like ours all around the world. We are honored that their work makes our organization stronger – as former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, “Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.”
Along with every American, throughout March we will be commemorating Women’s History Month.
Our organization is fortunate to have a Mission at the core of what we do. Westminster Communities of Florida is far more than a family of not-for-profit, faith-based senior living communities. We’re also 2,700 employees who touch lives through service every day. We are fortunate to have countless women serving our organization, as CNAs and nurses, chefs and servers, maintenance techs and housekeepers.
All throughout March, we celebrate the contributions of women in leadership to our organization. We’re proud to stand out on women’s contributions in leadership roles, including our vice presidents, executive directors, health services administrators, directors of nursing and more. Their experiences tell a story, one of dedication to the Mission of serving our residents first and foremost and to the belief that women and men make an equal contribution to the workplace.
“Having women in key leadership roles strengthens an organization by providing diversity and balance. Not-for-profit organizations tend to be an organic, natural fit for women as we seek meaningful purpose-filled work,” said Amanda Birch, Regional Director of Operations for Northeast Florida.
Birch has been the Executive Director at Westminster Woods on Julington Creek for four years. She said that when she first came to the community, many residents were surprised to note that she was the first female executive director dating back to 1964. At the same time, she has not felt that being a woman was an impediment.
Another leader at Westminster Communities of Florida, Alexandra Piriz Mookerjee, sees the presence of so many women in leadership roles as providing a clear signal of the organization’s commitment to development and growth. “I believe our organization can only truly excel when all its employees are given a fair chance of success and a dream team to look up to,” said Mookerjee, who is the Regional Director of Rental Retirement Communities and also Administrator at Magnolia Towers in downtown Orlando. “The make-up of our leadership team is inspiring. Look at the number of executive directors and RRC administrators who are female. Just being able to see those achievements helps to make all those coming up know that it is possible to grow.”
Alexandra Piriz Mookerjee
Their experiences show the opportunities for leadership growth at our organization.
Birch was promoted to the role of Regional Director of Operations, and has been serving as the chairwoman of the Residential Living Technology Guiding Coalition. In addition, she is the Management Support Services Employee of the Year for 2018, in recognition of her outstanding contributions of service during times of duress at other communities.
Meanwhile, Mookerjee wears two hats routinely, serving the residents of Magnolia Towers and supporting our other Central Florida Rental Retirement Communities. She is inspired to serve by the Mission, which she finds an integral part to her work: “I have helped hurricane refugees find a home, I have helped homeless veterans move into their first home, I have helped new front-line staff grow in their careers and advance to the next stage, I have supported families through the worst moment of their lives finding out their loved-ones have passed – those moments inspire me each day.”
The most important part of how our organization has supported growth in leadership, Birch said, has been the opportunity to learn from failures as much as successes. “Knowing that you can make a mistake, learn from it and continue to grow is an important part of development,” she said. “Not being fearful of mistakes supports that philosophy.”
We asked for their advice to women trying to make it as leaders, at any organization. Birch said, “I would recommend that women boast about their achievements, yet check their ego at the door… If I want it, I go after it and know that I have just as much of a chance as a person of the opposite gender.”
Mookerjee added, “I believe we all need someone in our corner but we also need to believe in each other. It is not always easy to believe in ourselves, but if we believe in others, in the goodness and strength of the greater good, then we can all do amazing things.”
At the end of the day, “We are honored to serve our residents and those staff who work for me, with me and who I work for: Making a difference in their lives, making each day a bit better,” Mookerjee said.
Stay tuned to be inspired all throughout March, as we honor the role of women in leading our organization and touching lives through service.