Meet Xochitl Mendez, VSB Site Manager & Scheduling Manager!
“If you can make someone’s day better, why not do it?” asks Xochitl Mendez, Villa Santa Barbara Site Manager & Scheduling Manager at Helping Hands. Her passion for her work, her dedication to her team, and her positive attitude are what make Xochitl such an amazing manger and caregiver. As both Scheduling Manager and Villa Santa Barbara Site Manager, Xochitl is always busy – but never too busy to brighten a client or caregiver’s day.
At Helping Hands, Xochitl is an integral part of life in many areas – onsite at Villa Santa Barbara, in the office, and in-home with private clients as well. She brings to these roles a valuable combination of excellent management skills and a thorough understanding of client care. She manages a team of about 25 caregivers at the Villa Santa Barbara residential facility and is the point person and main contact for caregivers, clients and Villa staff. She is the face of Helping Hands at the Villa! Her daily routine involves making morning rounds to check in with each client and caregiver and “making sure everybody is taken care of.” Her role also involves being available to stop in throughout the day, whether it’s for a quick conversation with a client, organizing a staff training, or to fill a care shift.
In addition, Xochitl manages staffing needs for our roster of about 120 clients and 50 caregivers, always aiming for the best match possible. In fact, a part-time scheduling position a few days a week in the office was what she was originally hired for – we laugh about this now because her role has grown so much since then. She first went to the Villa to cover a new client and provide care training, and then took on the project of training a site manager there. The intention was simply for her to pass on her management experience, but it quickly became apparent that Xochitl herself was a perfect fit for the site manager position. A promotion followed, with more hours of work and more responsibility.
Xochitl’s evolving role at Helping Hands is a great example of the company’s ability to recognize skill sets and talent, and find ways to best utilize each team member’s strengths. Helping Hands is proud to see our team members grow along with the company and take on new responsibilities and challenges.
Xochitl’s background is in care and management, but she did not start out working with seniors – she got her start in care 10 years ago working with adults with disabilities. Her first client was a non-verbal woman with Down syndrome. “I had to learn sign language on the spot,” Xochitl explains. “It was a great experience.” She went on to do care in a group setting at a day program for people with mental and physical disabilities, including everything from autism to schizophrenia. She was then promoted to program manager and gained valuable experience in scheduling, staff training, and management.
Xochitl’s interest in working with seniors developed after she worked with a client named Phil, who would become an inspiration and a strong influence in her career. Phil had cerebral palsy, and was, as Xochitl puts it, “an amazing human being.” Xochitl explains that Phil grew up in a time when cerebral palsy was not well understood and was highly stigmatized, yet he overcame the challenges in his life, wrote a book and became a “public voice for people like him.” Phil was the first client Xochitl saw through to the end of his life. She learned about hospice and what it is like to work with someone until their passing. She became interested in “making sure [people] live out the end of their life well” and her “attention turned to the senior population.” And senior care has proven to be a perfect fit for Xochitl.
We are so glad to have Xochitl as part of the Helping Hands family, and we congratulate her on a job very well done – it’s not anyone who could fill her shoes! She recognizes that working in the field of home health is not easy – “it takes someone special to be able to do it,” she says. And for Xochitl, it’s about the bigger picture and about personal integrity. “You’re doing it to better yourself as a person, as a human being. When you feel good about something, you know you’re doing the right job.”