Culinary School Grad Megan Sova Finds Meaningful Career at Tallgrass Creek

OVERLAND PARK, KS (March 1, 2018) -- When 25-year-old Megan Sova drove by Tallgrass Creek several years ago, she recalls being impressed with the beauty of the campus.

 

"I also remember thinking that someday I'd like to work there," says Sova. 

 

Sova, a recent culinary school graduate, had worked in the restaurant business for a while, most recently as a grill cook in a local, upscale bistro. Though very interested in the food industry, she knew a career working in the restaurant business was not for her.

 

"I wasn't crazy about the long hours and culture surrounding restaurant work," says Sova. "I knew there had to be something else where I could use my abilities and education."

 

So she began perusing the Internet looking for different opportunities and finally came upon one that jumped out.  

 

"Tallgrass Creek, the place I'd spotted several years before, was looking for an assistant manager of dining services," says Sova. "I immediately e-mailed my resume and applied for the job." 

 

During her interview process, Sova learned that Tallgrass Creek was owned and managed by Erickson Living which owns 18 other retirement communities around the country. She was impressed with Erickson's health care benefits, generous paid time off, the on-site employee health and wellness centers, employee discounts, tuition reimbursement program, and opportunities to volunteer.

 

"After hearing about the company's professionalism, benefits, caring culture, and advancement opportunities, I was even more excited about the position," says Sova.

 

Tallgrass Creek executive management was equally impressed with Sova and she was hired. 

 

As assistant manager, Sova's duties included working with the manager of dining services to handle all food-related responsibilities for Tallgrass Creek' several hundred residents. She also helped open Milo's, a casual bistro and popular gathering spot for residents. 

 

"I loved my new job from the start," says Sova. "Both the staff and residents at Tallgrass Creek were so positive and helpful. It is exactly the culture I was seeking."

 

But there was yet another opportunity on the horizon for Sova. She had been at her new job only six months when her manager was promoted to the director of dining position at another Erickson Living community.

 

With two new residence buildings opening at Tallgrass Creek, Doug Ohliger, Director of Dining, knew he needed someone who could handle a big job. He looked no further than Sova.

 

"Megan had the skills, personality, and work ethic the dining manager's job requires," says Ohliger. "She was a natural for the job."

 

These days, Sova is rarely in her glassed-in office located in Tallgrass Creek's large, restaurant-grade kitchen. Her duties include overseeing menu planning and food preparation for about 350 residents, overseeing the community's three restaurant-like dining venues, managing the

85-member kitchen and wait staff,  handling inside catering for all special events, and spending time with her favorite people - the residents of Tallgrass Creek.

 

"I feel like I'm working for hundreds of really good cooks," laughs Sova who goes table-to table during meals so residents can share their thoughts and suggestions. "It's kind of like running the dining program for a cruise ship full of great people."

 

When Sova looks ahead, she sees more opportunity coming her way as Tallgrass Creek continues to expand its campus.

 

"I want to keep learning and moving up the ladder at Tallgrass Creek," says Sova. "That's my plan because the opportunities are certainly here."

 

Erickson Living is in a highly competitive industry where recruiting is key to its ability to attract quality candidates for the vast array of jobs it has. The company is in a period of rapid growth, with new buildings in development at existing campuses and there are plans to continue adding to its current portfolio of communities. This growth leads to an increased demand in employees,

 

It is important to retain employees in a workforce of Erickson Living’s size in one of the most competitive industries in the  economy – Healthcare. There are currently dozens of career opportunities in areas such as Healthcare, Finance, Resident Life, Philanthropy. Legal, Human Resources, Administration, General Services, and Dining Services.

 

Tallgrass Creek currently has 350 full and part-time employees. Last year it hired a significant number of new employees. Its staff completed 900 training hours to develop their job skills.

 

One the company’s most popular training programs is Erickson Living University (ELU). ELU is a blended learning environment that provides both mandatory compliance trainings and supplemental development opportunities. Employees can choose from 750 courses in twenty-nine languages, including leadership, healthcare, and computer courses.

 

ELU’s framework offers a clear structure for employees, with various courses of study to choose from and achievement markers along the way. Career planning courses help employees envision their future within the company, and trainings help them gain the necessary skills.

 

Erickson Living today employs over 14,000 talented and diverse team members across the enterprise. The employees are viewed as Erickson Living’s greatest asset and the vital link between the company and its more than 23,000 residents network-wide.

 

Each of Erickson Living’s communities recognize meaningful interactions in their own ways, such as the Mission Moments program, which tells the stories of people -- employees or residents -- who impact each other’s lives.

 

Sova typifies the Everyday Heroes who Erickson Living recruits each day. If people are driven to make a difference and feel passionate about what they do, they will thrive in an Erickson Living career. When they join the company’s team of Everyday Heroes, they gain more than a great job in a booming industry – they get to change lives for the better. For more information about Erickson Living careers: https://jobs.ericksonliving.com

 

About Erickson Living: Erickson Living® is a nation-leading developer and manager of continuing care retirement communities. The Erickson Living network currently comprises 19 communities in 11 states, which together are home to more than 24,000 residents. Further information regarding Erickson Living is available at EricksonLiving.com .