Kristin Pawlak, executive director at Rittenhouse Village at Portage, believes that everything in life is all about relationships. It’s the relationships that are built at Rittenhouse Village at Portage that make this facility so special.
Catering to the needs of over 100 senior residents, Rittenhouse Village includes three separate housing facilities–independent living, assisted living, and memory care.
As Executive Director, Pawlak oversees all three housing types. Pawlak began this work during college at the urging of a professor and with the support of caring mentors.
“I went to school for human services,” Pawlak said. “At first, I was looking more into social work, but then I was recommended into this field by a professor. I started off as a receptionist, so I decided to change occupations. I just really enjoyed working with the elderly population.”
Pawlak continued to thrive at Rittenhouse with the support of her colleagues.
“I had a lot of good mentors,” Pawlak said. “I met a lot of people at Rittenhouse who have helped me continue to grow into the position that I'm in now. I just really enjoy being able to help lead a team and helping residents discover what their purpose is at this new stage.”
“Moving to assisted living or an independent living is oftentimes hard for residents,” Pawlak said.
“Just being able to be here for them–making it the best quality of life for them–is important to me.”
Although Pawlak knows that this work is her passion, she also knows that she doesn’t do it alone.
“It's not me that keeps the building running,” Pawlak said. “It's the staff. It's the people here helping, encouraging, and being kind. I hope to remind them when things are difficult that they matter–that there's somebody here that's going to look out for their best interests along with the residents.”
For Pawlak, this desire to create a connection with staff and residents is critical to what makes Rittenhouse Village at Portage so special.
“The staff is a family,” Pawlak said. “This is not just a job. It truly is family. The staff supports each other personally and professionally, and we are always looking for ways to help each other grow. We pride ourselves in the fact that we care about each other.”
Being executive director of three facilities, supporting staff, and ensuring client satisfaction can be a large job. Pawlak finds balance in her life by ensuring she spends time with loved ones.
“The best way that I have learned to balance it is to remember that relationships matter,” Pawlak said. “You have to maintain your personal relationships as well. I'm an extrovert by nature, so I get filled up by being around people. I do that by finding and being around the people that love me.”
A Northwest Indiana native, Pawlak finds pleasure in the little things that make life meaningful.
“My family and I have game nights with family bonfires. I also like to have Sunday dinners. The main thing that keeps me balanced is church. it really keeps me the most balanced and sane.”Anyone interested in learning more about Rittenhouse Village at Portage can reach out to (219) 764-2900 or schedule a tour online.