It took Danielle McQueen two degrees and a few different jobs to find it, but the current General Manager of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk considers her work not just an occupation – but a vocation.
With degrees in Kinesiology and Teaching from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Danielle thought she would follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher. But she realized after a few years that it just wasn’t the right fit for her. After taking a leave from teaching to explore other options, she was given the opportunity to take on a temporary role as the Wellness Manager at Tapestry at Wesbrook Village and that’s where she found her true calling!
Danielle is a perfect example of the opportunities for career progression at Tapestry. In her 10 years with the organization, she worked at Wesbrook Village for six years and has been the General Manager at our Arbutus Walk location for four years.
Starting as a restaurant server for Tapestry while still a student, Danielle has taken on greater roles and more responsibility over the years, including restaurant manager and assistant general manager.
When asked what drew her to work in retirement communities, Danielle’s motivation is a very personal one. “I wanted to have that sense of purpose and motivation that my mom did as a teacher. When I discovered this work, I figured my mom (who passed away when Danielle was 19) would be proud knowing I had found that.”
What keeps her working at Tapestry? “I really like being around like-minded people. This is an active community, and everyone here is just like me except they are 40, 50 or even 60 years older. It may sound cliché, but I find our residents so inspiring. I learn a lot just from talking to them,” Danielle says. “And I know it’s made me a better person. I love being in an environment where treating people with kindness and empathy is the standard.”
With a strong background in team sports, Danielle has also enjoyed the teamwork that has come with her increasingly senior leadership positions. “When I was first asked to take on a larger role, I wondered if I could do it. But I was keen to learn and I’ve really enjoyed building teams and working through challenges together,” she says.
While Danielle loves working at Tapestry, she is even more excited to welcome residents to the community as she believes there are so many compelling reasons to live at Tapestry:
Building connections – with other residents, with employees, and with the local community. “When I give tours, people are often surprised that I know everyone’s name, but those connections, and learning more about each other every day, is what it’s all about,” Danielle says.
Health and wellness – the focus is not just on physical health but also on mental and emotional wellness. “We get to know the whole person, their wants and needs, and we also inspire them to go beyond what they think they can do,” she says.
Independence and choice – “We are here for our residents as much or as little as needed,” Danielle says. “There is so much choice at Tapestry in how you want to lead your life, and we’re here to support that.”
And, Danielle adds, she would be remiss not to talk about the variety and quality of the food at Arbutus Walk and all Tapestry communities. “We have such talented culinary teams – so much is home-made, from the bread to the sauces to the soup stock. The other night our team made pasta from scratch!”
Whether she is giving guidance to a team member or swapping stories with one of the residents – or even filling in by driving the community bus for an outing – Danielle is inspired every day by her teams and by the people she serves.
If you are considering making the move to independent retirement living, please contact us. We would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour, and introduce you to the community’s amazing Tapestry employees who work together to deliver an unparalleled experience for our residents every day.
And if Danielle’s story has inspired you to explore joining the Tapestry team, please visit our Careers page for a complete list of job postings.