The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence: Mansi Arora
We are delighted to introduce Mansi Arora, from Calvary Elanora and winner of The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence award program. OSCAR Care Group recognises Mansi’s for her exceptional leadership skills.
At only 28 years old, Mansi has worked her way from a Food Service Assistant (FSA) to Head chef to now Chef Manager at Calvary Elanora. Mansi’s unstoppable, yet humble nature, creates a beautiful mix of ambition, passion, politeness, and heart in the kitchen.
Where it began
Upon migrating from India at 18 years old and not knowing what the future holds, Mansi started at Calvary Elanora as a Food Service Assistant (FSA).
“I have loved cooking from the very beginning. My mom was a cook back home and my grandmother as well. So cooking is a part of me. I love working in kitchen environment and working with the elderly people. The residents remind me of my family. Seeing a smile on their face, making their day. It makes me happy. While I was in my kitchen-hand role, I grew relationships by talking to them, loving them, giving 5 minutes of my time just to make their day. It’s what they look forward to.”
Calvary discovered an amazing chef right under their noses.
With the promotion process still fresh in her mind, Mansi reflected on the offer to go from second cook to Chef Manager last June.
“I'm going to be honest; I felt I wasn’t ready for the promotion. I was a bit nervous because I've never done that before. Knowing the environment, knowing the kitchen, knowing the work, I was quite confident on that side. Being the leader kind-of scared me. Fortunately, I had very good support - Maura George (Calvary Regional Hospitality Manager) was amazing, and my Home Manager, Liz Ngari was absolutely amazing and have supported me throughout.”
Now a year into the role, the nerves have gone. Mansi is thriving in the role, bringing her organisational style to the kitchen and has blossomed into an inspiring leader. By believing in her team, Mansi empowers them to continue the good work, even when they are short staffed.
“My team is my everything! There were times during COVID when I had only one or two people in the kitchen, but we always pull through. I work alongside and not in front of the team. My team are amazing!”
Mumma of the kitchen
Due to her age, Mansi laughs at the concept of being known as the ‘Mumma of the kitchen’ and considers some of residents to be mothers to her. It is her leadership style that awards her this title of Mumma, as she assures everyone’s voice is heard and continues to inspire her team.
“They call me ‘Mumma of the kitchen’. I'm only 28, quite young! I understand what they want and make sure their voices matters. I was a kitchen-hand once too; I’ve had leaders who didn’t listen and it really does affect your performance. So, I ensure listen to my team. They're working on the floor every day, they know what's going on and what's not, what the resident likes and dislikes, and most of all what makes the residents happy. I make sure to compliment them, and I make sure the feedback is actioned.”
“I get compliments from the residents and from my Home Manager, that makes me really proud that I'm leading this team.”
Managing dietary requirements
With the attitude of meeting the residents’ needs and dietary requirements at the forefront, Mansi provides delicious dishes to a wide range of dietary requirements and dislikes. The new standardised menu caters for specific needs and has been rolled out to all the Calvary homes. This was a huge project for the hospitality team. The new menus ensure residents receive food that they enjoy with confidence without a reaction and follow the IDDSI guidelines.
One particular resident with many food allergy requirements and complications, had completed a feedback form stating, “this is the first place I’ve been happy with the food” and “I’m now getting a variety of food instead of getting the same thing every day”. This is all thanks to additional variety of allergy appropriate food options to address all this resident’s concerns.
Smiling makes all the difference
There was a lot of emotion during the lockdowns over the last few years, and residents were missing their families, friends and loved ones terribly. During this time, the kitchen staff at Elanora did what they could to bring some joy to the residents through small gift hampers of care items with snacks decorated with ribbons.
“Every day we did something to cheer up the residents to make them happy. Even if they're not going outside, they've got something to look forward too. It is very important to give them something that is appetising and that they would love to eat. Something that keeps them going.”
Mansi expressed the struggle during the pandemic in Victoria where so many people lost family members, colleagues and, residents to COVID-19.
“It was hard. It was emotional. But that smile on my face kept everyone going. Not just me, but other staff too. We leave our personal lives behind, we come to work with a smile on our face to make residents happy, to make them smile and to make a difference. No matter what comes along the way, our leadership team here at Elanora, are very caring. The staff are very understanding. We've got through it.”
Building beautiful relationship with the residents
When asked about the residents at Elanora, one came to mind. There was a beautiful resident who loved and looked out for Mansi. They met when Mansi was doing her tea rounds as a new immigrant from India all those years ago. Mansi didn’t know much about Australian culture at the time, and after this resident enlightened her on the range of teas available here, a beautiful friendship began. “She was a good friend and a caring mother-figure to me. She was a big part of my life. When I lost her, I was literally devastated.”
With her positive attitude, Mansi makes herself available to the residents and welcomes all feedback. “I'm have a lot of family here. Everyone just accepts me as their daughter. Every resident here has taught me something I'll take it on board. Doesn't matter if it's positive or negative. I welcome all feedback.”
No task is too small
Mansi is dedicated, driven by results and enjoys a challenge. Having the confidence to be herself motivates Mansi to continue to strive. Receiving praised for the work she does encourages her to perform and excel even further. “I do everything from my heart, I give 100% to everything I put my mind too!
Mansi is inspired by the home manager who continues to lead the team by example. Especially during COVID times, the Elanora team had to wear many different hats to ensure the residents were catered for. The attitude is that no task is too small, and we need to look out for each other. It was this above and beyond care that provided extra comfort in a time of need.
“My Home Manager, Liz Ngari is a very good leader and mentor. She taught me it doesn't matter what position you are in, everyone should be treated equal. Doesn't matter if you have to step down or step up. What matters is creating a safe, caring, positive environment.”
A second home at Elanora
Mansi was nominated by the Regional Hospitality Manager, Maura George for her Leadership.
“Mansi has transformed the Elanora Catering department through her thoughtful and inclusive leadership. Setting standards that meet expectations every time. Mansi is loved by the residents and staff at Elanora alike. Her attention to detail and thoughtful presentation has met with many compliments since she was appointed Chef Manager. Congratulations Mansi. We are so very proud of you.” Maura George, Regional Hospitality Manager
Elanora is a big part of Mansi’s life, since arriving in Australia by herself at 18, then finding her partner, starting at Elanora, getting married and now with 2 beautiful children.
"My partner has acted as my backbone throughout this journey of mine, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for his support. Not many people take a backseat and encourage their partner to aim for their career and dreams and my partner did that for me. And, I am really thankful to him."
“Everything is special to me when it comes to Elanora. People here have become my family. I don't have family here, apart from my husband and my kids, all my family is back home. Every day that I leave from here, I leave with a positive attitude, and I come back with a positive attitude. Doesn't matter what's going on.”
“Being able to do whatever you want to do with your whole heart, that's what matters. And that's what we do here at Elanora. And that's why we are all still are standing here today.”
Your inspiring leadership and dedication make you magnificent winner of The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence award.
If you know of someone who’s doing amazing work in the Aged Care and Childcare industry, we would love to know about it.