Connections Magazine   |   Spring 2022

Connections Magazine

Spring 2022 Issue

Dans cette revue :
Work and Learn Program
Thinking Green
Great People Spotlight: Alyson Sheffar
Great People Go Far
Dollhouse Devotion
Puppies of Pemberley
Great People: Meet Jessica
Caught You Being Great: Julia Shvartzman
Education for the Long Term
Innovative Solutions for Long Term Care
Our Ongoing Commitment to Inclusive Spaces
Hands-on Experience
Providing 20 Years of Quality Care – Pa...
Centre of Excellence for Health
President’s Message
Black History Month

Work and Learn Program

mai 18, 2022
President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Shannon talking to those enrolled in the Work and Learn program.


In January, Shannex launched the Work and Learn program, which helps working professionals looking to make a career change to become a Continuing Care Assistant.

Existing Shannex team members or anyone with a minimum of five years’ job experience and a passion for compassionate care can apply. Successful applicants are paid to attend classes and on-the-job training before completing a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition to determine relevant experience. Following the assessment, participants will complete their training at a recognized post-secondary institution before starting their career as a licensed Continuing Care Assistant and beginning their exciting, new career at a Shannex long term care home.

Kelley Hiltz-Cameron is the Director of Human Resources, People and Development at Shannex and is one of the instructors for the in-class training. She says the program has been a great success with over 40 participants, so far. “If you want to become a care provider but can’t afford to go back to school or the idea of going back to school is daunting, this is a great opportunity,” says Kelley.

To learn more about the Work and Learn program, visit

Thinking Green

mai 19, 2022


When you hear Anna Volc talking about recycling and how everyone can do their part to help the planet, her eyes light up. Shannex’s Sustainability Manager’s enthusiasm started when she was three years old, when she would watch garbagemen in action.

“My dad would take me to the end of our little sidewalk and I loved watching the garbage men jumping on and off the back of the trucks,” she says with a smile. “That’s where it all began.”

Little did she know, this would plant a seed and she would find herself working in sustainability management. Anna earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and completed an internship that saw her working with electric boats which piqued her interest. Wanting to push her knowledge in environmental studies further, she pursued a Master’s in Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in Germany.

Now, in her role with Shannex, Anna is tasked with educating and implementing initiatives and programs in the areas of waste, water, consumables and energy to inspire our Great People to do their part. She says making green choices can start little by little and benefits everyone in the long run.
“Exploring different shopping habits such as plastic-free packaging or buying from local independent retailers is a simple way to start,” says Anna. “Reducing waste and supporting the local economy is a great first step.”

Everyone who lives and works with us has a role to play to protect the environment and Anna wants to hear your thoughts. We encourage you to share your suggestions about how we can make improvements at or by emailing her directly at

Great People Spotlight: Alyson Sheffar

mai 19, 2022


Growing up, Alyson Sheffar dreamed of being five feet tall and although that didn’t happen, she had also set her sights on the goal of finding a career that piqued her interest and was both challenging and fun.

Blessed with an excellent sense of humour and a strong work ethic, Alyson is a joy to be around. As a Business Manager at Parkland in the Valley and Parkland Saint John, her days are fast-paced and fulfilling.

Being surrounded by friendly and diligent colleagues is one of the perks of her job, but nothing compares to the relationships she’s made with the residents.

“It is probably the residents that bring me the most joy,” she says. “I enjoy a good story, so I love it when residents want to give me a snapshot of their life and pull out the family album.”

Thanks to Allyson for always going above and beyond to support her fellow team members and residents.

Great People Go Far

mai 19, 2022


When Rubilyn Lapatha first moved Canada from the Philippines in October 2010, she settled in Alberta working as a live-in caregiver for a family. Little did she know, in four short years, she would move to Truro, N.S. and start a new career working as a continuing care assistant (CCA).

Her CCA journey began when her then employer made the decision to move to Truro, N.S.

“My employer’s brother knew Ricardo (Garcia), the former site leader at Cedarstone Enhanced Care,” says Rubilyn. “He told Ricardo, his sister’s family was moving to the area and they had a Filipino nanny and it would be great for us to meet and help me to get to know the area.”

Rubilyn contacted Ricardo and they became fast friends. After she finished her contract as a live-in caregiver, Rubilyn talked to Ricardo and some of her nursing friends about growing her career. With their support, she took the next step by completing the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) Program and successfully passed the exam to become a CCA she then applied for a position at Vimy Court and landed the job. Today, she works at Cedarstone Enhanced Care.

“One of the things I love most about working for Shannex is how supportive the company is,” says Rubilyn. “My husband and I both work full time jobs, so when the COVID-19 pandemic began, I was struggling to find childcare. Shannex was able to accommodate me and changed my shifts so I could work in the evenings to ensure my children were taken care of.”

Looking ahead to the future, Rubilyn aspires to become a licensed practical nurse and one day she would like to become a registered nurse.

Interested in working with Great People like Rubilyn? Learn more about Healthcare and Clinical careers at Shannex and the Work and Learn program.

Dollhouse Devotion

mai 19, 2022
Parkland resident Iris, tending to her beloved dollhouse.


Parkland on Eglinton West resident Iris was thrilled that she could bring her dream home along with her to her new residence.

Iris’s passion for dollhouses started when she was looking for a parking spot in Ontario’s Bloor West Village, when she spotted a window display featuring beautiful and intricate dollhouses at a store called Teddy’s Tiny Town. It wasn’t long after that her sister Daisy surprised her with a dollhouse of her own.

It took five years to fully furnish the house which features watercolour paintings, wood crafted upholstery, a working Swarovski crystal chandelier and an exterior that replicates her family home of 60 years. Iris’s dollhouse has been a labour of love and she says that it’s brought a great deal of pleasure over the years.

Today, the dollhouse is proudly on display in one of the two-bedrooms in her suite at Parkland, where she often invites other residents to come see it. Iris says that collecting dollhouses like hers is a fading pastime, but it’s a passion that she has passed onto her grandchildren and great grandchildren, with Daisy building dollhouses for Iris’s five granddaughters.

Puppies of Pemberley

mai 19, 2022
Mary and her sweet pup, Charlie, happily reside at The Pemberley.

Meet Mary and her dog, Charlie. Charlie is 13 years old and Mary rescued him nine years ago from the Humane Society.

The painting of Charlie that will be on display at an Ontario art gallery.

Before moving to The Pemberley, Mary and Charlie lived in Guelph, Ontario. It was there that she became friends with a local artist who asked to paint a photo of Charlie, which will soon be on display at an art gallery in Ontario. In Bedford, N.S., Mary proudly displays the painting in her two-bedroom suite at The Pemberley among other dog-inspired décor. Mary says that everything in her home is chosen to make Charlie comfortable. Mary and Charlie have been happily living at The Pemberley since May 2021.

See other “Puppies of Pemberley” on our Facebook page!

Great People: Meet Jessica

mai 19, 2022


Today, we would like to introduce you to Recreation Coordinator, Jessica Zentner. She began her job at The Pemberley in October 2021 and has been enjoying her role.

“Overall, I would have to say my favourite thing about this job is the friendly team members and residents I get to work with each day. Working here has definitely been a positive experience and it’s truly a community I am happy to be a part of.”

Learn more about The Pemberley

Caught You Being Great: Julia Shvartzman

mai 19, 2022
Julia Shvartzman, playing the piano for residents and team members.


Julia says that she can’t quite remember when she started playing the piano, but she has played for most of her life. As a Client Medication Assistant at Parkland Clayton Park, Julia has worked in the community for seven years and during that time has developed relationships with Aberdeen and Bradford Hall residents.

While her role is important, she is perhaps best-known for lifting spirits by playing beautiful music. In fact, everyone at Parkland Clayton Park feels incredibly lucky that she is willing to share her musical talents. At least once a shift, Julia tries to sit at the piano and play for the residents, whether it’s a small group of them socially distanced or for residents in their suites, who will often prop open their suite door so they can hear the music as it carries down the hallway.

It’s not just residents that enjoy Julia’s musical talent and kind heart. Many team members request her to play and look forward to it when she does, often flocking to the room she is playing in. Early in the pandemic, she would even play for team members to entertain them while getting their temperatures checked.

Julia builds relationships with the residents and team members through her music and her talent amazes everyone who has the pleasure of being in the audience.

Thank you, Julia, for sharing your beautiful music with everyone at Parkland Clayton Park and going above and beyond to help lift the spirits of those around you.

Education for the Long Term

mai 19, 2022
Dalhousie University second-year nursing student Jessica Ambrose, third on the left, stands for a picture with her fellow classmates during a placement at Parkstone.


When you hear most nurses talk about how they got into their profession, they will tell you it is a calling. Dalhousie University second-year nursing student, Jessica Ambrose, feels the same way.

“Growing up, I always wanted to take care of people,” she says. “From the time I was little, I was always babysitting in the neighbourhood and taking care of the little girls in the family. It just felt right for me to be a caregiver.”

In her senior year of high school, Jessica knew without a doubt that a career in nursing was the right path for her. Through her studies at Dalhousie, she has gained hands-on experience interacting with patients through practicums. Most recently, she completed four weeks at Parkstone Enhanced Care. The work term was a placement program through the Nova Scotia government to engage nursing students and provide support to long term care communities across the province. Shannex communities welcomed 139 students and 21 instructors across six locations over a two-to-four-week period.

“After this placement I have a different perspective,” says Jessica. “Working in long term care is special and unique because you get to know the residents on such a personal level – it was a really positive experience.”

During her time at Parkstone, Jessica saw first-hand how nurses use their full scope of practice while supporting the seniors entrusted to their care.

“The residents all have such different personalities, and they have diverse healthcare needs,” she says.
“When I went into the placement, I assumed their medical needs would be similar, but I quickly saw that every resident required something different.”

When asked about what she loves most about the profession, she’s quick to point out that there’s nothing like providing quality care.

Learn more about Healthcare and Clinical careers and Student Nursing Opportunities at Shannex.

Innovative Solutions for Long Term Care

mai 19, 2022
(L-R) Dalhousie students Sathorn (Puffy) Chante, Fabian Bong and Shana Saravanan hold their certificates of achievement for finishing in first place.


As an organization that specializes in seniors’ care, continuous improvement and innovation are necessary drivers to identify new ideas and solutions. This is why we welcomed a special partnership with Dalhousie University for an exciting student event that took place
March 4-6, 2022.

The “Hackathon” event took place over the course of two days with student teams developing ideas and solutions in five challenging areas: falls, social isolation, disease progression and care transitions, and responsive behaviours.

The first-place team developed a Fall Prevention Scoring System (FPSS) using data from long term care resident assessments and real-time location data. They identified risk factors that put residents at increased risk for falling (e.g., diagnosis of dementia, decreased level of activity) and created a point system to identify residents at risk of falling. This score can alert staff to put interventions in place to prevent falling.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this innovative event

Our Ongoing Commitment to Inclusive Spaces

mai 19, 2022
Members of the Inclusive Action Committee attend the first committee meeting on March 24.


Shannex is on a learning journey to make our communities more diverse, equitable and inclusive. This important work began over a year and a half ago and continues today.

Since September 2021, senior leaders and people leaders have received training and education on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, unconscious bias, anti-Black racism, white privilege, Indigenous insights, teachings on 2SLGBTQIA+ and allyship from our trusted partner, Ashanti Leadership.

In August of 2021, we created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Survey and asked team members for further insight. In February 2022, we shared those results with team members. The results have shown that we have the support of the respondents to continue this important work. However, the results also tell us there’s room for improvement.

We invited team members from across the organization to be a part of the Inclusive Action Committee; a working group of team members who will be actively engaged in directing our work on diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. The first meeting took place on March 24 and additional committee meetings are planned over the next several months.

We will continue to update you as we continue to make progress on this important work.

Hands-on Experience

mai 19, 2022
High School student Maira Irfan stands in front of the Great People wall at Shannex Home Office during her job shadowing experience.


Recently, we welcomed Halifax West High School students, Maira Irfan and Kenton Strachan, to Home Office to complete 80 hours of work with the Accounts Payable team. During their work cooperative education program placements, both students gained hands on experience using various financial software and tasks, accompanied team members to a site for a visit and participated in virtual meetings.

Special thanks to our partners at the Halifax Regional Centre for Education and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for providing opportunities like these to students.

Providing 20 Years of Quality Care – Parkstone Enhanced Care

mai 19, 2022
Meet some team members who have been working at Parkstone since it opened.
(L-R): (Back row) Dana Power, Wanda Chaisson, Lynn Hynes, Heather Casey, Lisa Peterson, Ron Savoie (front row, left to right) Jennifer Kirby, Lori Wilton. Missing from photo: Elaine MacKenzie, Helen Kelley, Jeana Cock, Darlene Dwyer, Pat Dwyer, Dana Schiefer, Glenda Sabine, Christina Sellars and Leona Webb.


When a new team member joins the Parkstone Enhanced Care family, the first person they are greeted by is Quality and Education Advisor Lori Wilton. Her warm personality shines through as she begins showing them the ropes through the orientation process. This is a special time for Lori as she has walked more than a mile in their shoes. You see, Lori has been working at Parkstone since it opened in April 2002.

When she looks back over her time working in the licensed long term care community, the word “family” comes to mind.

“In 2003, when Hurricane Juan hit the Halifax area, I remember all of the Home Office people coming up to help out,” says Lori. “They were making toast, feeding residents, making beds, anything they could do to support us.”

Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Kirby has also worked at Parkstone since the community began welcoming residents. She says the team atmosphere has made Parkstone a wonderful place to grow her career and an excellent place for residents to live.

“There’s big spacious private rooms, private washrooms and it’s a bright and inviting building,” says Jennifer. “It’s pleasant and the team members are pleasant.” A celebration to mark the milestone anniversary was held on April 22.

Centre of Excellence for Health

mai 19, 2022


To help students gain virtual and experiential learning opportunities, the New Brunswick Department of Education & Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has created a new “Centres of Excellence” model. As part of the Future NB initiative, these centres of excellence provide students a chance to engage in experiential learning opportunities before graduation.

We are pleased to support a Centre of Excellence for Health which connects students and teachers with expertise in post-secondary education, the business world, industry and the community, regardless of their location in the province. As a partner of the Centre of Excellence for Health, Shannex is excited to have the opportunity to educate students about the importance of long term care through real-world experience.

Through this experience, students will create meaningful connections with our residents and see first-hand their contributions to our communities. We look forward to all the great connections to be created through the many intergenerational initiatives that will take place in our homes.

President’s Message

mai 19, 2022
Jason Shannon poses for a photo during a visit to Parkstone Enhanced Care. (L-R): Barbara Cooper, Christine Seldon, Elaine Hawkins, Jason Shannon and Naomi Black.

Hello everyone,

I’m pleased to present you with the spring issue of Connections which is dedicated to our Great People.
There is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t hear a story about the way our team members go above and beyond to support each other and place Residents First. I’m proud when I hear these stories, because I know how hard our teams work. Despite challenging circumstances, they are always there because they have a special calling to improve the lives of seniors.

Over the past year, we have been encouraged by the increased attention on solutions for seniors’ care and service. Recently, we were pleased to see the government in Nova Scotia increase Continuing Care Assistant wages to be more consistent with similar wages in other provinces like New Brunswick. Governments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also increased funded hours of care in nursing homes over the last 12 months. These are things we have advocated for, and we are grateful to see them
in place.

We are also stepping up to provide all our Great People with support by investing in reward programs and efforts to add more team members to our Shannex family through recruitment programs, immigration pathways, the Earn and Learn program and other activities.

At the end of the day, we want to create an equitable, inclusive, and progressive workplace that recognizes and celebrates our teams for the important work they do and supports them to grow their career with us.

This issue of Connections is one way we can express our deep appreciation for our Great People, but I also encourage you to reach out to a team member or colleague and share a few kind words of support and gratitude for the exceptional care and service they provide every day.

I hope you enjoy this issue.

President & COO

Black History Month

mai 19, 2022

February was Black History Month. As a caregiving organization, our Shannex, Parkland, Milestone and Faubourg communities highlighted the ways in which the Black community has and continues to contribute to the healthcare system and the health and wellbeing of our communities. We are happy to introduce you to some of our Great People whose commitment and dedication are felt in our communities every day.


Registered Nurse, Thomas Hall
Fredericton, NB

Jacqueline attended Kingston School of Nursing in Kingston, Jamaica, and became an RN when she was 19 years old and she hasn’t looked back since. Over the years, she has worked as a registered nurse in various roles and has acquired clinical experience inside and outside long term care.

In 2017, she joined the staff as a casual RN at the Parkland Fredericton campus and
is presently the Long Term Care Facilities Coordinator-RN for Thomas and Frederick Halls. This role allows her to interact with residents every day, something she is thankful for and she considers herself blessed to be a part of a great team.

She is beloved by residents in her care, including Thomas Hall resident Mary Hay.
“Jackie always has time for me and when needed, she will pray with me,” says Mary.
“She makes me feel valued.”

Continuing Care Assistant, Parkstone Enhanced Care
Halifax, NS

Angela Downey can be counted on for a warm smile and a supportive hug. With over 20 years of experience providing quality care to residents, Angela has thoroughly enjoyed making connections with those in her care.

“It’s rewarding to know residents who don’t have family when they arrive in the community are happy to see me,” she says. “Our residents quickly become our family – it’s a wonderful feeling.”

From a young age, Angela was taught to respect her elders. As a child, she would spend summers with her grandmother and would lend a helping hand.

Angela currently holds the position as Member at large on the Unifor Atlantic Executive Council. As one of the two women of Colour to be elected to the executive board to represent the Atlantic BIPO members.

Want to work with Great People like Jacqueline and Angela? Learn more about Healthcare and Clinical careers at Shannex.