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Jonna Cook’s Journey – From LPN to VP of Health Services

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At Bishop Gadsden, we believe that no matter your background or experience, there’s an opportunity within the Community for you to make a difference in the lives of others, as well as your own life. Much of Bishop Gadsden’s current leadership are living examples of this, including Jonna Cook, BG’s Vice President of Health Services.

Jonna first came to Bishop Gadsden 16 years ago, working in Myers Hall assisted living as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Immediately, she said she noticed a difference in the attitude and morale at BG. “My previous skilled nursing job had a lot of staff turnover, management wasn’t accessible, I didn’t feel valued and we didn’t have the resources that we needed to take care of the residents,” Cook said. “It was different here, you could tell that everyone cares.”

Shortly after starting at Bishop Gadsden, her supervisors recognized the potential Cook had to advance into management. Namely, former director of assisted living, Carol Rodriquez who made an effort to get Jonna the experiences she would need to advance her career. “She was amazing,” Cook said. “She walked me through a lot of processes, provided me with opportunities to learn, while giving me the financial and administrative experiences I needed.” Cook also cites the influence of Bishop Gadsden’s President and CEO, Sarah Tipton. “[She’s] been a huge mentor,” said Cook. “She coached me along and offered all the support that she could give. She inspired me to further my education and to become licensed as an Administrator”.

Jonna Cook with a resident

“Bishop Gadsden has really enabled me to participate in a variety of in-service trainings, leadership development programs, and collaborative discussions with members of other senior living organizations. These opportunities, along with the encouragement of my supervisors helped me grow and advance within the organization.”

Now, as the Vice President of Health Services, Jonna wants to see others follow in her footsteps. “I try to just meet with people and encourage them,” she said. “I also try to find different resources for them. So if we’ve got an in-service coming up or there’s a great webinar that comes across my email, we really want our team members to take part in that.”

Just as she’s gone from LPN to Vice President, Cook says she tries to pay it forward by helping current BG team members grow in their careers. “Denise Broad is a great example,” says Cook. “We started out working side-by-side on the floor, and I’ve been able to slowly start to include her into different processes and programs, supporting and encouraging her growth into leadership. Through these opportunities, we have seen her leadership skills develop, resulting in her being promoted to clinical manager.”

“Bishop Gadsden has really enabled me to participate in a variety of in-service trainings, leadership development programs, and collaborative discussions with members of other senior living organizations. These opportunities, along with the encouragement of my supervisors helped me grow and advance within the organization.”

Jonna also utilized BG’s Strongheart Scholarship program, which provides scholarship funds to team members looking to forward their education. “That was instrumental for me in getting my master’s degree,” she said. “It’s an incredible, incredible opportunity here to have that.”

Even for those content in their role on the floor, Jonna believes her unique experience gives her better perspective as a manager. “Because I started out on the floor and I know the ins and outs and I know the challenges that they face,” Cook said. “I’ve really been able to say to the team, when there’s an issue, ‘I understand you, I’ve been there and we can work through this.’ Overseeing Bishop Gadsden’s healthcare areas with that background has helped me think of things from a clinical and administrative point of view.”Jonna with nurse

As Bishop Gadsden continues to grow, opportunities for current and future team members abound. But at the end of the day, Jonna says the best thing about working at Bishop Gadsden is still the community values that are seen all over BG. “I think it’s our sense of community and that mission-driven focus that keeps people here, it’s really kept me here,” she said. “You know, even with all this expansion, it feels truly like a big family and we have not lost that sense of purpose and that drive. Our mission has stayed in the forefront even throughout the expansions.”

Begin your journey at BG today! Visit our Careers page for more information

One Response to “Jonna Cook’s Journey – From LPN to VP of Health Services”

  • Peggy Reeves

    Written on

    Congratulations, Jonna. With all of your responsibilities you still have time for the residents’ family members. You have always been available to us, especially during the strict quarantine of the Cloister residents, during Covid. It was most reassuring to know that You always answered your phone or returned my call no matter how often I wanted to talk to you about my mother. Thank you.
    And now look at what you have been working on and are about to be in charge of; the new health care center is going to be amazing.

    Reply

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