Lisa Vassos: Housekeeper at Northwood at the Harbour

Over my years at Northwood, I’ve grown a lot and learned many valuable life lessons, like how to laugh! I’ve also discovered that having a sense of humour goes a long way.

I started part time at Northwood in laundry in July 1996. I worked the late and back shift, and did both personal laundry and linens (that was before we sent out linens to be done). Around Christmas time, I was transferred to housekeeping and have been here ever since. In my seventh year, I was offered a full time position on evenings cleaning the offices on the main floor Centre, the Towers and on 11 Manor, well before it became a care floor. Just over ten years ago, I was moved to day shift and have since worked on pretty well every floor in the Centre. I’m now working on 1 Chestnut Lake and couldn’t be happier.

When my manager approached me earlier this year about becoming a mentor, I said yes right away. I’ve since mentored three students in the Environmental Service Technology course at Future Works. One student was even hired after her time with me. I enjoy showing them my everyday job as well as proper body techniques and other safety practices.

I’ve taken every opportunity I can to further my education here at Northwood. I’ve done the environmental services course, Essential Skills, and a computer course focused on Microsoft Excel and Word. My union also sent me to do a communication and information technology course in Ontario. Using what I learned, I now manage the Facebook page for my union’s local, as well as the web page and Twitter account.

As a self-proclaimed computer geek, I enjoy electronics and have helped friends, coworkers and residents with various computer and cell phone problems. Early last year, I was able to help a resident connect with all of her children at the same time. She was close to dying and I was able to Skype in her daughter from South America so they could all be together one last time. Another time, I put together a presentation for two residents of photos from their home town. I knew neither one of them would ever be able to go home, so I brought home to them. It made me feel really good to bring such happiness to these residents.

The residents really rely on us and I always try to be kind and courteous, and look out for their safety. The interaction I have with residents is my favourite part of my job. I try to go above and beyond every day, but everything I do is from my heart.

In addition to anything digital, I’m also a sport fanatic and huge Habs fan. I saw my first NHL game three years ago when the Canadians faced the Sabres in Buffalo. My next dream is to watch a game at the Bell Centre in Montreal. I also like to travel, do photography, watch movies (especially at the IMAX theatre) and walk on the beach. I love animals and have three cats named Babi, Gurl and Nola. And finally, I’m currently taking the Young Drivers of Canada driving course to finally get my license!