Written By Cathy Makihara
Gina Hall retires as Resident Services Manager
Gina Hall came to the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society in 2010. For those who don’t know her, she worked from a small office with people vying for her attention. Case Managers from the health authority, children and loving family members, and Nimi Nikkei Home and New Sakura-so residents hoped that this place they moved into was the right choice.
Although slight in build, Gina carried herself with energy, determination, and the right balance of compassion and authority. Her position is a delicate balance of caring, managing, and communicating the information we want to hear and delivering difficult news. The Manager of Resident Services is a unique position that only special people who have a drive, commitment, and dedication can fill. It has been my great pleasure to have Gina Hall as my right-hand person to help lead this home for seniors in the Japanese Canadian community.
Working behind the scene could best describe her working environment. Like pilots, chefs, chiefs and any other leader, the hard work is from behind the walls, where there is a mountain of papers, policies, applications, spreadsheets, lists and appointments.
With over 50 staff to oversee and ensure there is round-the-clock care, 365 days of the year, a manager must be on top of many details. Gina and I shared a common goal to keep management small and support staff large while being agile to respond to our residents’ changing needs with compassion. Every decision she made was thoughtful, and some were very hard for her and for the people receiving the news. They understood the challenges a home like ours faces when caring for so many of our seniors. Through all of this, she had faith in what she was doing and made sure that people understood. Caring deeply about every senior, every staff member, and most importantly, she cared about the totality of this place, a ‘place to call home’. Her work was often behind the scenes. It included planning, scheduling, negotiating, and meeting with case managers, residents, staff, and families.
This past year tested all of us who work for the Society. The pandemic was more significant than the world imagined and the impact it had on the day-to-day operation and the life of our residents were tremendously hard. It tested each of us by requiring each of us to develop a new kind of operation. We all knew that we were ready for an outbreak but not for the whole world to experience it simultaneously. Gina worked tirelessly during this time, as did all of our staff. We lost many hours of sleep and time from home and she demonstrated her commitment to the seniors and our community. Doing only that would be good enough. But it has been much more. Gina has been working with me for ten years. She helped create outreach programs, working on the planning required to open the Kenko Wellness Lounge and then to close it down because of the pandemic, keeping the tenants of New Sakura-so informed and safe, and this list keeps growing.
Gina came to the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society with experience in community health care; for ten years, she shared her knowledge and experience with us. Now she has earned a place in our organization and community’s history. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with her, and now retiring, I wish her years of more enjoyment, humour, love of her family, friends, and her continued faith. It has been an honour to work beside Gina and to have become her friend.