Manager Bonnie Duff’s upbeat outlook causes ‘outbreak’

‘Bonnie’s spirit is contagious,’ say peers of Inspired Leader awardee

When music starts playing at Almonte Country Haven, you can be sure that if Bonnie Duff is nearby, her feet will start twitching. Soon enough, she’ll up and ready to dance and looking for a dance partner in a resident or fellow staff member.

This is just one of the ways the long-term care home’s environmental services manager (ESM) can often be seen causing an “outbreak” of love and laughter.

“Bonnie’s spirit is contagious – laughing, singing and dancing at every opportunity,” Duff’s peers say.

It was largely for this upbeat outlook that Duff was chosen by her colleagues to receive the 2016 OMNI Health Care Inspired Leader award for Almonte Country Haven.

Bonnie Duff dancing with a resident of Almonte Country Haven, Fran Murkar.

Bonnie Duff dancing with a resident of Almonte Country Haven, Fran Murkar.

Speaking with The OMNIway, Duff shares that she believes a positive outlook is a choice. She intentionally strives to bring this attitude into the home every day she comes to work.

“You have to leave your negative attitude at the door and just do the best you can,” she says. “When you become negative, change your way of thinking. We have the control over (our attitude). No one else is making us be this way.”

Duff worked as a health-care aide for about 20 years before moving into the ESM position about eight years ago. As manager, she has a team of nine people looking after all the laundry, house-keeping and maintenance needs of the home.

Besides a positive outlook, Duff says it’s important as a leader to take the time to listen well to her team.

She also emphasizes how critical it is that they all work together.

Her colleagues attest that Duff models a co-operative spirit. “Bonnie jumps in daily to help as needed, whenever needed,” they say.

“It’s about working with (the team) instead of against them. That makes a huge difference,” Duff says, adding that a large part of what shapes her leadership is remembering her 20 years as a health-care aide.

“I don’t forget where I came from.”

OMNI Health Care’s Inspired Leader Award is presented to staff members from each of the organization’s 18 long-term care homes. The accolade recognizes people who demonstrate OMNI’s mission, vision and values and outstanding leadership and dedication to their work.

Duff says that learning she’d received the award was both a shock and a rewarding experience.

“It certainly shows that your hard work does not go unnoticed,” she says.

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