“If you don’t know Simone, you’ll want to know Simone. No matter what the situation, she’s just that calm, steady, loving force.”
On her first day as interim director at Bickford of Oswego, Illinois, Shannon Riberdy felt like a deer in the headlights. Charged with taking over a property that had lost its leadership, she didn’t know any of the employees, families or residents whose care she was now responsible for.
Then a young, certified nursing assistant, just 20 or 21 years old, approached Shannon and told her, “It’s gonna be OK.” That CNA was Simone Pena.
“From the minute that I walked in, not knowing a soul, she took me by the hand and said, ‘I’ll teach you everything about how our branch operates. I can help you with anything that you need,’” recalls Shannon, now Bickford’s Vice President of Operations. Simone got Shannon up to speed on scheduling and took her under her wing as she adjusted to the new role. Most importantly, she ensured that the quality of care for the branch’s residents never faltered through the transition. “Not a beat was missed,” Shannon says. “She was the glue that was holding everything and holding everyone together in the absence of a director.”