He was surprised but delighted to make the comparison. Patrick Leonard, a resident of St. Charles, had a long career in human resources for the luxury hospitality industry. When he learned about the open human resources director position at Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville, he didn’t see the fit…initially. But after investigating the community and learning more about its amenities, he experienced the ultimate ‘aha moment.’ “Monarch Landing has up-scale restaurants, a fitness and aquatic center, a salon, housekeepers, a front-desk and concierge, an engineering staff…it’s like a luxury cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit.”
Patrick, who was born and raised in Naperville, started his career in a training program for Walt Disney World. Through subsequent years, he continued on with upscale restaurants and hotels. “Hospitality is in my blood,” he said.
Early this winter, Patrick was contacted by Mark Trnka, executive director of Monarch Landing. “Our residents have high expectations. They’re accomplished and have had successful careers; many have traveled extensively. In meeting and exceeding what our residents want, we find ourselves closely aligned with the luxury hospitality industry. Patrick’s experience and skills along with his enthusiasm, made him a perfect fit for our community,” said Mark.
Patrick, who joined Monarch Landing in November, said that he loves the commitment of the entire team always to put the residents’ desires and needs first. “There’s no such thing as saying, ‘it’s not my job.’ Everybody’s job is to take care of the resident. The staff embraces that all the time.”
Patrick explained his main objective in his new role. “We want to make sure that we hire, train, and retain the right people. Our staff is made of people willing to go the extra mile. That’s the hospitality model, and it’s reflected throughout our campus. This will continue to be the priority here.” He added that they will focus on offering top wages, celebrating successes, employee recognition, etc.
After his first two months on the job, Patrick marveled at a significant disparity between hospitality and senior living. “There’s a difference between guests in the hospitality industry and residents in senior living. In hotels, the guests are transient. You serve them, but they ultimately move on. At Monarch Landing, I have the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with the residents. I get spoiled every day having fun with them and interacting with them. They make me laugh,” he said. “Working here, in the residents’ home, makes us more accountable. We have to be completely sure to get things right. We don’t want ever to disappoint them, and we work really hard every day to make them happy.”