If you work at Pathway to Living, you know who Anthony Shell is. He's the beloved Executive Director leading the way at Victory Centre of South Chicago. While navigating a global pandemic, Mr. Shell has remained tirelessly committed to providing healthy and safe living options for seniors in the South Chicago area.
The team at Mr. Shell's community is always quick to credit their success to good leadership, reliable communication and an overwhelming feeling of "family" during the work day. And the same sentiments can be said for the residents at Victory Centre of South Chicago. One resident, Mr. Jerome Wilson, says that he finally found home after years of thinking it would be impossible. "I thought I was out here by myself," says Mr. Wilson. "But they made me feel welcome. They have me on my feet; I feel stronger."
Thanks to Anthony Shell, a true leader of a vibrant team, Victory Centre of South Chicago is proudly welcoming more residents to find home while feeling secure and loved. Here, we chat with Anthony about his leadership practices and how to build a strong foundation in a growing community.
Q: What makes a good leader?
A: Put yourself in your employees’ shoes, your residents' shoes, your families' shoes and your vendors' shoes. You have to be understanding and you have to listen. We’re all in this together. That’s why I have a great team. During the pandemic, we’ve had a lot of team members out. I was pulling in trash, doing the wipe-downs, cleaning apartments, vacuuming -- whatever I had to do. When they see that I’m hands-on, they think, “If he can do it, then I can do it.”
Q: What have you learned about your team and yourself during the last five months?
A: This team is resilient. They’re tough and they can get through anything. I have a different look on life now. I don’t worry about the small things. When I first got here almost two years ago, the team needed someone to show them some love -- to see that someone really, genuinely cares about them. For each one of my team members, I can tell you how many kids they have and what their concerns are. And every team member is different. As an ED, you have to teach and train each team member differently to make sure they’re the best that they can be.
Q: How does it make you feel when you hear residents call Victory Centre team members their family?
A: It really touches my heart. When families choose Victory Centre of South Chicago, my job is to make sure they can go home and sleep at night. What we’re doing makes a difference. If we can give someone longevity in their life, we’re doing a great job.
Q: What's your advice to any senior living communities fighting COVID-19?
A: Don’t give up; don’t give in. Keep pushing; keep fighting. When you feel like you can’t give anymore, get some fresh air and walk around. Don’t give up. Once this passes, we’re going to come out better and stronger than we ever were. If we can get through this, we can get through anything. There’s nothing we can’t get done.