Picture It. Boonsboro 2022. All dressed up in your finest business attire, coffee in hand, you head over to Fahrney Keedy for a big board meeting. It’s the first one of the year so all of the important people will be there. Once you’ve given your name to the receptionist and been told to wait, you hear the door open. It’s not the CEO you were expecting, it’s someone else. They greet you and offer to walk you over to the room where the meeting will be held. Upon arrival, you barely have a chance to finish what’s in your thermos before they are bringing you a new cup of joe and explaining that the boss will be right with you. Once he arrives, you watch as he gives them instructions. They nod understanding, grab the phone in the middle of the table, wait for the necessary response from the person on the other end, confirm what was said and then take a seat in the back, computer at the ready. During the entirety of the meeting you are supposed to be listening to what’s being said but you can’t help but watch this person in the corner. The way their concentration never falters when taking meeting minutes, the harmonious sound of their fingers hitting the keys, the way they set up a catering table with exact precision, the graceful way they can sneak in and out of the room with just a look from the CEO, almost as if they knew exactly what he or she was thinking. You wonder what it must be like to work for a CEO? How does one manage their own schedule during the day when they also have to manage someone else’s?
Life keeps us busy. Everyone is pulled in a thousand different directions. Between managing schedules, meetings, events, important stuff, unimportant stuff, personal stuff, and carving out a place for the fun stuff, it just never seems like there is enough time during the day. How many times have we woken up in the morning, looked at the day ahead, and wished that we had an assistant? Someone to help manage it all. Someone to delegate important tasks too so that other important tasks can get done. Someone to help keep focus. Someone to be the neck so that the head can keep moving in all directions without falling off. Someone to tell Iago to shut up. Sorry, off topic. Luckily, for the CEO of Fahrney Keedy he has that someone in the form of his Executive Assistant.
There is a lot that goes into being an Executive Assistant to the CEO. It’s more than just getting coffee and greeting people. They essentially have to be the right hand (wo)man throughout the day, making themselves available to whatever the CEO may need. They have to attend Board of Director meetings and take minutes (yup, they’re the person in the back with the harmonious typing skills). They have to create newsletters for the facility so that residents can stay informed. Because both the front desk and the people who work behind it falls under their leadership, they have to prepare their schedules and oversee their duties. The new library that is available to residents, they must oversee that too. They have to manage the gift shop so the residents and their families can have an enjoyable shopping experience. And that’s just the daily duties. There’s also marketing duties such as managing the marketing budget and deciding how and where is best to spend marketing dollars. There’s designing ads, flyers, postcards, and banners to help advertise in the local community. Sometimes events need to be photographed and they have to pick up their camera and hurry on over. There’s so much to get done and only 8 hours or so to accomplish it all. If it ever seems like a top level executive has it all under control, remember that Willy Wonka doesn’t actually make his own chocolate and without The Genie, Aladdin would have never taken that magic carpet ride.
Each week, we will be highlighting a member of the Fahrney Keedy Family to learn a little bit more about their life and career. They will be offering a unique perspective on their role as well as advice for those considering a career in senior living.
This week, we get a snapshot into the life and career of Sherrie-Lynn Davis, Executive Assistant, Corporate Secretary & Marketing:
Where did you go to school? What was your major? “I went to Hagerstown Community College for my Associates, USMH/Frostburg for my Bachelors and, Frostburg State University for my Masters in Business Administration (MBA). I was accepted at Liberty University for their Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) but have put that on hold.”
Do you have any other certifications? “I also have an Administrative Assistant certificate from Hagerstown Community College.”
When did you know you wanted to work in administration or marketing? What drew you to your current position? “I enjoy helping people which is what brought me to administration. I was drawn to marketing as a creative outlet. I wanted to work at Fahrney Keedy because I was wrapping up my MBA and wanted to utilize the skills I learned while in school. I also knew I wanted to help a C-suite executive. Throw in marketing and it’s a winning combination!”
What brought you to Fahrney Keedy? “I am thoroughly impressed with the fact that Fahrney Keedy is a faith based organization. I was employed part time with the City of Hagerstown while I was in school. I was perusing the website Indeed.com when I saw the ad for my current position. I saved it to submit my resume when I got home. By the time I did get home, the ad had been pulled down. So, I went to the Fahrney Keedy website and found Barbara Foster’s (Director of Human Resources) email and sent her my information via email. I am thankful every day that I sent in my resume directly to Barb.”
In honor of #tbt, we want to throw it back to your first day at Fahrney Keedy. What do you remember? “My first day in the Executive Suite was very hectic. I was shown where everything was located. I spoke with executives Steve Coetzee, Julia McGlaughlin Wiles, and Cassandra Weaver (our past director) about what they wanted and needed from me. I think the most nerve-wracking event I attended was the Board of Directors meeting when I was voted Corporate Secretary by the Board Members. All I could think was “they don’t know me, how do they know I can do this part of the job?” Luckily, I made the cut!”
What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your duties and responsibilities? ” Every day is changing. There’s never a dull moment. Things are never static. Luckily, I have a great team of receptionists and an administrative assistant that I work with.” *For a list of Sherrie-Lynn’s main duties, read above*
Do you have a favorite memory from your time spent working here that you would be willing to share? “There was one resident who I so enjoyed talking to. He was a man who spoke God’s word and we would talk and pray whenever we saw each other. I even did a couple sewing projects for him and I always picked him to be his Secret Santa. I’m sorry to say that he passed away in December 2021 and I’m going to miss him very much.”
This pandemic has been hard for everyone but especially for those individuals working in healthcare. How did you personally get through it? “When, I guess it was in April or May of 2020, we were aware that Covid was going to be an issue, we knew that PPE would be scarce. I received an email from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, where I worked for 10.5 years as a manager on duty, that included a pattern for facemasks. After being given the go ahead, I purchased materials and went to my sewing room to make a few examples. Steve then told me to move my sewing equipment into my office and and start sewing as many masks as possible. He even broke out his mom’s machine and pitched in! Also, I can honestly say that I did a lot of worrying, praying, reading, and meditating.”
Oscar Wilde once said “with age comes wisdom”. What advice would you give to your younger self? “Education. It’s important. But do it on your timeline, not because that’s what you do after high school. I started college right out of high school at 17 and I hated it. Dropped out. I was 40 when I started college a second time and I have a new found love of learning.”
What advice would you give to someone interested in being an Executive Assistant? “Be prepared to do whatever it takes to make your boss’s life easier. You are, in essence, their right-hand. Your job is to do as much as possible and take away duties that the boss shouldn’t have to handle so they can focus on even more important things.”
And, last question, Why should someone choose to join the Fahrney Keedy team? “If you want to work for an organization that follows its mission “enriching the lives of seniors” and you want to see and help seniors enter their next or final phase of life, then Fahrney Keedy is the place to be. Fahrney Keedy has very caring and concerned employees who do everything possible to make the residents comfortable. If you’ve got a winning attitude, the necessary skills and experience, and a smile on your face, you would be ideal for Fahrney Keedy!”
We asked Sherrie-Lynn 5 rapid fire questions to get to know her a little better:
Favorite Color: Navy Blue
Favorite Movie: the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Favorite Disney Character: The Genie (voiced by Robin Williams)
Favorite Superhero: Black Widow
Favorite Actor Age 65 & Over: Not an actor but Yo-Yo Ma (WOW)
1 Fun Fact: Sherrie-Lynn is a competitive person by nature but she retired from competitive roller skating, competing in figures, dance, and loops in 2012. So she has picked up a new hobby and will be competing in local firearm competitions in the next year or two. Practice makes perfect!
Thank you so much to Sherrie-Lynn Davis for sharing! Stay tuned next week when we add another photo to our Family Album!