Employee Spotlights

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On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we share the third story in our new Better Together series.

Better Together is a theme MLK championed throughout his lifetime, once famously saying, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”

employee's from Norris Square
From left: Archie Mayaki and Blake Boche at Norris Square in Cottage Grove, MN.

Archie Makayi and his mentor Campus Administrator Blake Boche at Norris Square in Cottage Grove, MN, couldn’t agree more. The first of its kind at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), this internship helps pave the way for Archie to earn his Licensed Assisted Living Director designation based on new licensure standards in Minnesota.

“We’re partnering together,” Blake explains, “to make sure he gets the right amount of exposure to [all aspects of] assisted living and to equip him to not only pass the [state] test but do a great job as a site leader.”

Similar journeys starting as nursing assistants

Originally from Zimbabwe, Archie comes with 15 years’ experience as a nursing assistant in the UK and the U.S. During the past seven years, he has served faithfully at Norris Square, while pursuing a broad education in healthcare and business.

Blake, too, started his journey in senior care as a nursing assistant, long ago at Johanna Shores. With experience now in a variety of roles, Blake reflects, “I didn’t wake up one morning and say I’m going to be an administrator,” adding, “It doesn’t take magic superpowers to be a leader. Just a good, servant heart and the will to work hard for older adults.”

Turning to Archie, Blake said, “The fact you shared your heart with residents and took care of them so well and you also wanted to learn and grow – those are the best ingredients of potential. What’s more, you exemplify Christian ministry in word and deed. That’s a huge part of leadership with PHS – it’s hard to teach and to just find off the streets.”

Inspiring others to grow professionally with PHS

Blake has a passion for developing employees from within. “I want all our employees to learn and grow,” he says, “whether it’s to be the best housekeeper, nursing assistant or cook, they can be or to grow into that next leadership role. That’s always been an exciting part of the job for me — to help people get there.”

Archie feels that through this internship with Blake, he’s helping pioneer possibilities for others. “The fact I am experiencing this,” he says, “I think gives others from different backgrounds a game plan for what is possible in PHS.”

And Archie has advice for those looking to grow in their careers with PHS. “Get to know what you want to do, which direction you want to take, and the support will be there,” he says. “Just being open to talking with your leaders can really help.”

Blake adds, “PHS is a great organization to grow in. There are a lot of opportunities if you want to go the nursing track… If you have other interests outside of nursing, it might seem like there are not a lot of paths there. But there really is. I think it’s having the courage like Archie has.”

‘Better Together — that’s what leadership is’

“Don’t be afraid to take that step,” Blake continues. “It doesn’t mean that you’re committing to this for the rest of your life. It’s just next step to learn and grow.”

“And for leaders, it’s taking the step to invite people into these conversations and see what happens,” Blake adds.

“Better Together – that’s what leadership is. That’s what a good team is,” Blake concludes. “Regardless of your role, there is no one person who is more important or less important. Leadership is just creating an environment where we work together as much as possible and remove any barriers.”

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers.

You might also be interested in:

‘Then I met Aminga…’
Love of God, family and diversity inspire Nursing Assistant Samuel Mutuku
Looking forward with hope



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