Why Move On When You Can Move Up?
While working in retail after graduating from high school, Allison Welch’s father, Benchmark Regional Director of Dining Services Jim Hourihan, encouraged her to apply for a server position at Chelmsford Crossings in Chelmsford, Mass. That advice led to the launch of her Benchmark career at 19 and to several new roles since.
“I tell everyone that if they’re looking for a place where they can grow, Benchmark is it,” says Allison, now 24. “If you show an interest in moving up in the company, you’ll be amazed at all the people who will support you.”
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in legal studies at Lasell College in Newton, Mass., Allison earned a promotion to dining room manager. As she considered her options after college, she received advice from Chelmsford’s Dining Services Director Jamie Leduc suggesting her skills would fit the role of director of business administration.
When Allison filled a vacant dining room manager position at BSL at Putman Farm in Danvers, Mass. Dining Services Director Michelle Raponi coached her on accounts payable, payroll and other responsibilities of a department head. Three months later, and five years after joining Benchmark as a part-time server, Allison became director of business administration at Billerica Crossings, in Billerica, Mass.
“If you show initiative in this company, you can go anywhere you want,” says Allison’s dad, Jim. “I’ve had many servers, cooks and dining room managers move up. One became a memory care coordinator and another an executive director. We’re Better Together when we all invest in our own people. I’ve been privileged to hire and mentor people who are the future of Benchmark.”
During her time with Benchmark, Allison has also taken on additional roles, including as a culture ambassador and member of the Emerging Leaders Program for which her program mentor is Edgehill Executive Director Christopher Barstein.
“Emerging Leaders is a fantastic program,” says Allison. “We’re leading small team projects with associates from different roles.”
As a culture ambassador, Allison has collaborated with a variety of department heads and home office associates to improve the associate and resident experience. A culture ambassador’s broad exposure to community operations and the company provides an ideal development opportunity for ambitious associates.
“I especially like running fun events for our associates,” says Allison. “And working with all the different department heads has taught me a lot.”
Allison leads orientation training for new associates at Billerica Crossings, and she’s a guest presenter at home office new-hire orientations, where she shares her story of career advancement at Benchmark. Her goal is to one day land, a role on the associate experience team!
“I love Benchmark’s commitment to the associates,” she adds. “The company continues to help me reach my full potential, and I’m doing my best to pay it back by helping others pursue their passions.”