A Professional and Personal Investment for Career Growth Success
Nov 9, 2021 by Brenda Larson
Brittney Thoreson, Vice President of Operations at Knute Nelson, grew up coming to the Alexandria lakes area to spend time with family. Little did she know, she would discover a “second family” here as well.
Brittney started at Knute Nelson in 2011 as a Housing Advisor for Grand Arbor. When she was hired, the concept for Grand Arbor was in place, yet the building hadn’t even been built. She says, “When I moved to Alexandria and took the position with Knute, Grand Arbor was a hole in the ground. It was really fun to be a part of the whole vision of watching it come to life.”
Throughout her 10 years with Knute, Brittney has experienced different leadership opportunities that have allowed her to develop and grow. She said, “I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of Knute Nelson’s internal leadership program. Knute Nelson invests in their people, and I am a true example of that investment.” As part of the nine-month Leadership Academy program, she learned about different leadership styles, ways to support teams and participated in one-on-one coaching for personalized learning. Brittney commented, “I think not only from a professional standpoint, I also realized how much growth I could have personally.” Brittney is currently participating in the Leadership Academy through LeadingAge Minnesota. She will graduate in December.
The personal and professional growth she’s experienced has led to her desired leadership style of servant leadership. She states, “Serving others is, I think, why we all choose healthcare. That’s definitely the way I like to lead. Being able to support my team, hear them, give them what they need so at the end of the day, they’re growing themselves, gives me so much joy.”
Throughout her career, Brittney has worked with Grand Arbor from a lot of different angles. As a Housing Advisor, she was responsible for managing visits, tours and occupancy goals. While providing tours of the beautiful building, she was able to meet with many different people and created relationships with them. As she worked through different roles within the company, for example in Hospice, she was able to paint the picture as to why a senior living environment is the best path to take in their life’s journey. She was able to bring care into the building for residents.
Where she is today
Now, being the Vice President of Operations, she oversees all of Knute’s housing facilities. When asked, she summed up her current role as leading her team. Her job is to make sure that her leaders are equipped with the resources and opportunities to grow themselves, so in turn they can grow their teams. Her relationship with her team continues to grow every day. They have truly become her “second family.” She says, “And now with the housing advisors, it’s fun for me to be able to say that I’ve walked in their shoes. I can bring that level of perspective to them and truly understand what they do each and every day.”
In offering direction to others on how to get started in a career with Knute Nelson, Brittney shares this piece of advice, “There’s endless options and opportunities to get your foot in the door at Knute. Whether it’s as an intern, Care Attendant or office personnel, there are opportunities for anyone.” She said that after some time in a role, it’s important to ask yourself “Is this the right role for me?” You can then decide if you want to continue advancing within your existing role or if you want to grow through additional training and make career advancements through the organization.
At the end of the day, Brittney says that “Taking a leap of faith to come to a new company and to a new community has been amazing. I got to come back to a place where I grew up coming to in my younger years. I am able to watch my grandparents age and support them and their needs. I can spend time with my parents, and I’ve grown my own family here. Setting our roots within this community and for me within Knute Nelson, is something I never thought was reachable. It’s a great place to work and raise my family. I can’t imagine doing it anywhere else.”
Watch for our series of stories from Brittney Thoreson to learn more about her experiences with work/life balance, being a working mom, how benefits have helped provide for her family and her advice for others just starting out their careers.