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Opportunity to grow

Employees at Highland Springs see their careers take off

Created date

March 14th, 2018
Highland Springs provides career opportunities and growth.

Highland Springs provides career opportunities and growth.

If you’ve visited Highland Springs in the past ten years, chances are you’ve met Susanne Du’Ley, who began working at the North Dallas community’s front desk in 2007.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see Highland Springs grow,” says Du’Ley. “There was only one residence building when I first started working here. Now the community is home to nearly 1,000 residents.”

At the front desk, Du’Ley was at the forefront of Highland Springs’ concierge approach to customer service.

“Residents make one call, and the front desk staff takes it from there,” says Du’Ley. “They know who to call to make sure each resident’s need is addressed.”

Now, after a decade at her original post, Du’Ley is taking another step in her career. In late 2017, she joined the Highland Springs’ sales team as a sale associate.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” says Du’Ley. “This is totally different for me, and I’ve enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the sales office.”

Still, one thing remains the same. Du’Ley says the people—community members and staff—make her work meaningful.

“Residents tell me how happy they are for me in my new role,” she says. “And I have a great team of coworkers helping me in the sales office.”

As she looks to the future, Du’Ley sees more growth at the North Dallas community. A new clubhouse and residence building, both scheduled to open in 2018, are currently under construction, and the sales team is working diligently with prospective residents.

“It’s busy all day long,” says Du’Ley. “But when it comes right down to it, I couldn’t be happier working here.”

From student to manager

Teresa Spilman is another employee who’s seen her career take off at Highland Springs.

Spilman was 17 when she first applied to work in dining services at the North Dallas community in 2009.

“I was part of the student wait staff in Chisholm’s Restaurant,” says Spilman. “At the time, I was so shy I could barely ride up in the elevator with a resident.”

Over time, however, Spilman’s confidence grew along with her leadership skills. She was promoted to trainer, then restaurant associate, service coach, dining room supervisor, and assistant manager.

“I’ve worked in just about every role in dining services—hostess, bartender, catering, in the market, in the café,” says Spilman. “Those experiences have given me a good understanding of the entire operation.”

In November 2017, Spilman was promoted once more, this time to general manager in dining services. In her new role, Spilman works alongside General Manager Phillip Taitel as they oversee Chisholm’s Restaurant and Reunion Grille.

“Phillip and Teresa are a dynamic duo who provide great leadership and exceptional customer service,” says Highland Springs Executive Director Matt Neville. “They’re setting us on a path for continued success in dining services. Teresa is a shining example of how our high school students can grow a rewarding career at Highland Springs.”

Spilman credits her supervisors over the years for their role in her continued growth.

“I’ve been so fortunate to work for leaders who encouraged me and saw potential in me,” says Spilman. “I love working in hospitality, and I’ve grown into this role because of the opportunities I’ve had at Highland Springs.”

Spilman says the community’s unique environment makes each day on the job fun.

“In dining services, we have two generations coming together—our residents and our student wait staff. In many ways, we become like family to each other,” she says.

In Spilman’s case, the family connection is literal. Her grandfather, Brad Keith, moved to Highland Springs in 2011.

In addition to the meaningful work, Spilman says she appreciates the community’s benefits and wellness offerings for residents.

“Highland Springs puts great emphasis on the well-being of its employees,” she says. “They empower us to be successful and productive.”