As a high school student, Monica Andrew had dreams of becoming a flight attendant, but her aspirations soon changed when her grandmother, Florence Mathison, encouraged her to apply at the Good Samaritan Society.
Florence was the certified dietary manager at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany in Brainerd, Minnesota, and thought a job in the kitchen would be a good place for her teenage granddaughter to work.
“I admired my grandma so I applied for the job and that’s what brought me to Good Samaritan,” remembers Monica.
The grandmother and granddaughter had always been close. Monica spent a lot of time at Florence’s house.
“She was the kindest, sweetest person. I could tell her anything,” Monica says. “I don’t think I could have done anything wrong in her eyes.”
The two worked together at the Bethany location for many years, including after Monica graduated from high school in 1976. As time passed, Florence, who planned to retire, encouraged Monica to take the certified dietary manager course.
Continuing the family legacy
Monica became certified and took over for her grandmother in 1979 – the same year she married her high school sweetheart, Tim.
As her grandmother got older, she ended up becoming a resident at Bethany for five years.
“I was able to see her every day that I worked. The staff just loved her. She was just a sweetheart,” says Monica. “She passed away in the fall of 2004.”
After working as the dietary manager, Monica moved to a payroll position that allowed her to work part-time while running a business with her husband. She went back to college and got her degree in 2003 and then became the human resources director. Her most recent role is as a talent advisor for the Society’s Minnesota locations.
Working for an organization that helps people in need has been fulfilling to Monica.
“Many of the people who come to us are very vulnerable, frail people. And they need good caregivers who care about them,” she says.
A positive change she has witnessed through the years is how the Society strives to meet each resident’s unique needs.
“I think we’ve focused on that to really look at them as individuals who have a voice in how they want to be cared for,” explains Monica.
Monica takes pride in all the staff members she helped encourage to advance in their careers. Some started as CNAs who then went to school and became LPNs or RNs.
“You got to see how they progressed through their career with so much support around them,” says Monica.
And just like her grandmother did for her, Monica encourages potential staff members to think about their future careers and the difference they can make in the lives of older people.
Making a lasting impact
The Society’s mission of sharing God’s love has left a lasting impact on Monica in her personal and professional life.
“Every day the good Lord gives us is a gift,” says Monica. “Do something worthy with that gift. Kindness goes a long way.”
In her latest role with the Society, she is often the first point of contact for people applying and she strives to make it a positive experience.
“I get a chance all the time just through my tone of voice and how I speak to people to share kindness. If they can have a good experience with me, that can be carried on as they give care to our residents,” Monica says. “You never know how what you did impacted someone down the road.”
She knows God has put her where she’s supposed to be and is thankful for the opportunity to have had a lifelong career at the Society.
“I believe this is where I’m meant to be. It certainly wasn’t what I had planned, but I’m thankful for my time with Good Samaritan,” Monica says. “If I had to do it all over again, this is what I’d have done. It’s been a blessing.”