In her former job at a law firm, Debra Vlahakis worked with several clients at Lantern Hill, an Erickson Senior Living community in New Providence, N.J., which was located one block away. “Clients shared with me what life was like at Lantern Hill, and I kept wondering if there was a way I could work there,” she recalls. Vlahakis says that she was not offered full benefits at her old job, which necessitated her being covered by her husband’s policy.
“In 2018, my husband had an accident that required him to be out of work for six months. Thankfully, we still had health care coverage, but it made me think: If this had happened to me, I would have had no protection. I felt vulnerable. The benefits offered at Lantern Hill were the main driver for me to apply here,” says Vlahakis, who is now the business office manager at Lantern Hill and notes that her husband is now on her health care plan.
In addition to multiple health care plans and choices, Lantern Hill offers tuition reimbursement, 401K with company match, generous paid time off, online training classes, advancement opportunities, and more.
“Our team members embrace the culture and utilize their talents to help residents and each other live better lives,” says Nicole Walker, Vice President of Human Resources at Erickson. “In turn, Erickson Senior Living recognizes the invaluable contributions that employees make and provide a robust package of benefits that reflect our commitment to financial stability, health and well-being, and work-life balance.”
Vlahakis says that of all the benefits she enjoys, the 40 paid hours available to her to volunteer is her favorite.
“Philanthropy is very important in my personal life, and I serve on several boards of local nonprofits. The fact that I don’t have to take personal time off in order to volunteer is amazing. Not all fundraising events are on the weekends, so I can take time off during the week to help out,” she says. “In fact, human resources encouraged me to use the hours dedicated to volunteer work.”
Recently, she organized a group outing where 25 members of the Lantern Hill management team volunteered together at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside, N.J. “Food insecurity is a passion for me. I consider myself a foodie, so I am very sensitive to the fact that there are people in our community with food insecurity,” she says. “It was a great team-building exercise, and my colleagues have said they want to do it again.” Vlahakis also collects money each year to help buy Thanksgiving dinners for the needy, and over the past eight years has raised over $10,000.
She adds that she also loves the work-life balance atmosphere at Lantern Hill. “At my old job, it was hard to take time off, as there was no one to fill in for me. Last summer, my family took a two-week dream vacation to Greece. We are of Greek decent, and it was fun that we could share the experience with our sons who joined us on the trip. Taking vacations is encouraged at Lantern Hill.”
She also likes how her office is in the continuing care neighborhood at Lantern Hill. “I keep my door open, and the residents stop in and chat and know that I am accessible to them. I’ve gotten very attached to the residents here,” she says.
“Lantern Hill also does a lot to show their appreciation for its employees. It seems there is some sort of celebration every day—birthday parties, food trucks, ice cream socials, and more. I love the atmosphere here.”
Anyone interested in exciting career opportunities at Lantern Hill should browse the company’s careers website.