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Concierge is perfect fit: "This is what I was meant to do" accent

March 21, 2024 | By

Suzanne Lindaman used to work as public librarian. Today, her career is different —but as she sees it, she's still operating from behind a reference desk.

 

As a concierge at Edgewater, WesleyLife's Community for Healthy Living in West Des Moines, Iowa, much of Suzanne's job involves answering questions and finding information, so "my life hasn't changed in some ways, but it's changed so much in others. The best way it's changed is the feeling of 'family' and all the love!"

 

A few years ago, Suzanne was working as youth services librarian at in a small community near Des Moines when she heard about Edgewater from a library-board colleague whose mother was a resident. Suzanne was looking for a change and the colleague sang Edgewater's praises as an "amazing place," so Suzanne decided to learn more about the community.

 

"I did some investigating and learned the concierge position was open, and I decided to make the leap and apply," Suzanne says. "After being here for a few days, I started calling the concierge desk my reference desk.

 

The job is perfectly suited to me because I get to do a little bit of everything, and because I pass out information all day long!"

 

One key difference

One key difference between Suzanne's former professional life and her current one, though, is the depth of the connections she's formed with the individuals she serves.

 

"I get to share in so many things," she says. "A resident recently told me, 'Suzanne, you may not have any children, but THIS is your family.' I couldn't agree more. These are my people. I would do anything for them.

 

"I've never felt this deep a connection to anything I've done, even though I loved teaching and library work. This is what I was meant to do."

 

A day in the life 

 

Suzanne conciergeSuzanne says in addition to the connections she's forged, she loves the variety of her job and the fact that team members from so many of Edgewater's departments "work together to get the job done."

 

"Sometimes it can seem pretty chaotic here at the desk, but I like to call it controlled chaos," she says. "Residents come to me for everything from questions about Medicare to things they don't understand about their bill to 'where's my newspaper' and questions about how to find things on campus.

 

"And then there are residents who will come up just to ask for a hug. Maybe they had a doctor's appointment that's worrying them or a difficult conversation with a family member. They know I'm here and that I care about them, as we all do here. I have never seen such a genuinely caring group who will jump at the chance to help."

 

Going the extra mile

In addition to performing her concierge responsibilities, Suzanne says she enjoys going the extra mile to help Edgewater be the best it can be for the residents, families, and team members who place their trust in the community.

 

"First, I make sure any information I'm providing is accurate; second, if I don't know the answer, we have a whole big and wonderful team filled with people who work together very well and care for each other and are always willing to help," she says.

 

"But in terms of doing extra things, which I love, I'll dress up for holidays and come up with other fun things to make people smile. I have a wonderful opportunity here to make someone's day ... well, to make the days of a lot of people!"

 

Concierge and husband Suzanne says when she began working at Edgewater, her husband, Tom, accompanied her to team member events and programming on campus, and he grew to admire Edgewater and WesleyLife as much as his wife did. 

 

"Eventually, he realized the "specialness" of this place was really unlike the feeling you get anywhere else, and he came to work here as a driver!" Suzanne says, adding the couple enjoys debriefing at the end of the day with stories of the ways they connected with residents.

 

"As long as they'll have me"

Although Suzanne is closer to the end of her career than the beginning, she has no plans to retire in the foreseeable future — and when she does, she has no doubt it will be from Edgewater.

 

"This is my last stop; there's nowhere better," she says. "These are my people. They are fundamentally important to me. I'll be here as long as they'll have me."

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