At GERATEC we believe in celebrating the people who demonstrate the passion and hard work it takes to truly make a difference in people’s lives. One of the ways in which we recognise and celebrate our employees’ efforts and achievements is with our annual Awards Ceremony. In the words of our managing director Rayne Stroebel, “We do this because we are who we are, because of the people who work for us”.
This year’s ceremony was hosted at our Support Office, with only the nominees attending in person due to the operational constraints Covid-19 has imposed on us. The remainder of our employees attended the event virtually from their respective units.
The ceremony began with a heartfelt message from Victor Southwell, our Business and Growth Leader, welcoming everyone from GERATEC as well as the clients who joined in virtually. In his opening message, Victor also highlighted the year’s newest appointments and promotions, congratulating and welcoming the following persons to the next chapter of their journey:
- Nadia Diedericks (Food Service Manager, Rusoord)
- Tharine van Heerden (Food Service Manager, Bergsig)
- Remi Jacobs (Food Service Manager, Paradyskloof)
- Linda van Zyl (Food Service Manager, Vonke)
- Madi Nothnagel (Support Office Sales and Marketing Manager)
- Gail George (Support Office Operations Administrator)
- Jan Skippers (Food Service and Housekeeping Manager, Langverwag)
- Colette de Wet (Trainer: Food Quality and Operations Relief Manager)
- Gerswin Isaacs (Project Manager, Helderberg)
- Ide-Marie Venter (Full-time Dietitian)
Although it was a challenging year for GERATEC, especially with the second and third wave of Covid 19, Victor pointed out that 2021 was by no means all doom and gloom. One of the high points of our year was the acquisition of a new client, Huis Bergsig in Riebeek Wes, proving that good things c
This year’s nominees and winners were as follows:
Having to live on-site during various lockdown stages and then be required to prepare an increasing number of meals and maintain operations with minimum staff were just a few of the biggest factors that made 2021 such a trying journey for GERATEC’s Helderberg Teams.
Then, just as operations started returning to normal (and learning to adapt to the “new normal”), we were forced to reassess our services under the growing awareness of the challenges the pandemic had brought to our clients as they struggled to adapt. The result was a radically different business model, seeing 3 kitchens, located on 3 separate sites, merged into one production kitchen at Vonke Park.
As with any business restructuring of this magnitude (especially in difficult economic times), unfortunate retrenchments and demotions were a part of the change. And to top off the dramatic shift, the Vonke team was also tasked with preparing the meals of an increasing number of residents, averaging at roughly 100 meals per day. These meals had to be prepared in totality and packaged the day before, ready to be transported and served the next day.
Compiling a balanced menu that pleases 300 people and meets each person in our satellite kitchen’s special dietary needs, all while ensuring the quality and standard of presentation that our residents have come to enjoy is no small feat.
With all that was expected, the team had to work 3 days in a row to ensure a smooth transition. To add to the complications, the team was faced with malfunctioning storage fridges within the first week, turning an entire day’s hard work to nought as meals had to be disposed of in light of the possible safety hazards. These meals had to be prepared from scratch on the day, along with meals that had to be prepared for the following day.
Going beyond what was expected, the Vonke team miraculously had food on the tables without the residents even realising the drama behind the scenes.
But as we’ve come to learn through the years, the GERATEC family is capable of achieving the impossible once we band together. With team leaders and every single person of the Society Teams coming together to ensure a smooth transition, we excelled in the face of the challenges that threatened to defeat us.
When speaking of Silwerkruin’s housekeeping staff, the first thought that comes to mind is always “What an amazing group of ladies.” Going beyond the simple camaraderie of colleagues, these women have become one others’ “girlfriends”, creating a support system that is utterly unique.
The confines of isolation and Covid-19 quarantine regulations hit Silwerkruin’s kitchen harder than most in 2021. When the entire Silwerkruin kitchen team were forced to self-quarantine after contact with a positive Covid-19 case, the housekeeping team dropped everything to take over kitchen duties in order to complete meal preparations to the expected standard.
Not once did someone complain about assisting with duties that fell outside of their job descriptions or refuse to lend a helping hand when another team was in need of support.
While no single member can be singled out in the valuable role they played, Shannon Eksteen, Molina Fisher and Caylene Pietersen’s immediate response and assistance have to be acknowledged. Their eagerness set off a chain reaction, with fellow team members wasting no time in rounding up any additional staff to help out as only two of the kitchen staff members were not affected by the self-quarantine.
Team Silwerkruin is a testament to the fact that pride in one’s work cannot be bought; it is something that is a part of your values.
On another occasion, when the kitchen staff quota was depleted, housekeeping supervisor Maureen Joubert and her team jumped in and started to help in the kitchen first thing in the morning. When the housekeeping staff who were off on the day were contacted and asked to assist, the first team members already arrived within half an hour, even at such short notice.
Running a kitchen with only casuals is almost impossible when not even one cook is present, but through teamwork and dedication, we were able to prepare the food successfully with everyone assuming their positions in the kitchen like naturals. Maureen Jacobs and her housekeeping team have come to the rescue on other occasions as well, ensuring that dinner was served on time, even when the responsible kitchen staff were stuck in quarantine.
The most astonishing part is that even on the occasions where housekeeping offered their assistance, their cleaning work never fell behind. An incredible feat to say the least.
It has been an incredible privilege for the entire GERATEC to have such a dedicated and reliable team on our side, knowing that nothing is ever too much, and serving the people around them with a smile.
The Worldmaker Team Award went to Team Vonke with special recognition given to Team Silwerkruin.
For Individual nominations, the following people were nominated in the different categories that are linked to our company values.
Joan Cockerell (Langverwag Care) – Healthcare Manager
Valued employee with 7 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in November 2014. Motivation by trainer on food quality, Colette de Wet, supported by colleague Dez Swarts:
“On 27 August, one of the residents was due back after a visit to his family. Joan went the extra mile by making sure his bedding was pristine, restocking his fridge, and having fresh flowers to welcome him home. She said the reason for doing this was because she didn’t want him to be sad because he was going to be alone after having family around him over the past few weeks.
During the month of July, Joan ordered extra food hampers on her own account, to assist the employees she knew needed it most Joan is someone with a heart made of pure gold!”
Des Leonards (Carlisle Lodge) – Housekeeping Manager
Valued employee with 9 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in November 2012. Motivation by Area Manager Madeleine Schloms, supported by her manager Camilla Morgan:
“Des Leonards, our housekeeping manager at Carlisle Lodge, is one of the most humble, hard-working people I know. During the pandemic, she was asked by the client to sleep in at the unit. During this time, she did all the residents’ washing in the evening between 17:00 and 21:00. She did this from March 2020 to June 2021. Des also worked in the kitchen whenever employees were sent home to self-isolate, never once asking to take time off herself. Her loyalty is an inspiration to all.”
The Worldmaker Individual Award was given to Des Leonards from Carlisle Lodge with special recognition given to Joan Cockrell from Langverwag.
Faith Zindi (Langverwag) – Food Service Assistant
Valued employee with 3 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in January 2018. Motivation from her manager Jan Skippers, supported by the client of Langverwag:
“I would like to make mention of the fact that she is an excellent staff member to have on any team. She is so respectful and because of that, she is loved by all our residents and clients.
I remember when I just started at Langverwag, there were a few days when Faith was not able to come to work and the residents whose rooms she cleaned refused to have anyone else clean their rooms. They only wanted Faith. This says a lot about Faith’s character and how well-loved she is by all.
Faith is a person who will follow instructions, from the client as well as myself, without hesitation. She documents everything in her little black book, which was implemented by Colette and myself. She brings it to us at the end of each day to sign, to witness that all her work has been completed — this is rare! She takes her job extremely seriously and always goes the extra mile.
When we implemented our little “brag book”, the comments from the residents and the client regarding Faith’s outstanding work made us so proud. To see their praise and comments on her quality work and trustworthiness makes a world’s difference.
Just this morning, as on every other morning, I went to do a room and passage inspection. I use this same routine to get feedback from residents on how they feel about the cleaning service and so on. As with most mornings, the general feedback was good. But when I arrived at Faith’s rooms, the feedback was exceptional. This stands out for me, and in the little time I have been at Langverwag, I have to say that I agree 100% with the residents’ feedback.”
Alison May (Silwerkruin) – Food Service Assistant
Valued employee with 3 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in August 2018. Motivation from her manager Lottie Aylward, supported by Sr Kobie Hansen:
“I would like to take this opportunity to share the outstanding work that Alison is doing. She is always friendly and willing to help where needed and the residents really appreciate her. Alison is never impatient with extra requests and shows true compassion and understanding for the residents. She shows respect to everyone she deals with, which I have seen first-hand with the cleaning of my own office, where she always asks when the most suitable time will be for me, adjusting her schedule around others’ time.
She works thoroughly in the sections she cleans. I have even found her on her knees, scrubbing corners and skirting boards, which is not a comfortable position. I often see her cleaning the doorknobs and handrails in the hallways, all extra measures introduced since Covid-19 broke out last year. She works hard and fast and has a good rapport with her colleagues, especially in the care department. She works with dedication and thoroughness, which just proves her integrity and self-respect.
Alison deserves the extra recognition that goes beyond just saying “thank you”. She is an example to us all and a role model in what she does to ensure that her work is of the highest quality.”
The Respect Award went to Alison May from Silwerkruin with special recognition given to Faith Zindi from Langverwag.
Fagmeeda Williams – (Support office) – HR Officer/Payroll
“Fagmeeda started with GERATEC in 2019 as the HR Officer/Payroll for our Support Office. Motivation by her manager Kaye Mostert, supported by her colleague Gail George:
Fagmeeda is the salt of the earth! She is one of those people who pushes through the storms with a smile on her face. Throughout the pandemic and the difficulties employees faced, she was always there to lend an ear. While everyone else is running around in the craziness, she takes the time to stop and listen when someone needs to talk after suffering any form of trauma in their personal lives.
Besides the clear display of compassion, Fagmeeda has always shown a high level of integrity. If we consider the definition of “integrity”, it is the practice of showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values, and Fagmeeda shows consistency in everything she does on a daily basis. She takes on anything that comes her way and does it with a smile, cracking a friendly joke, showing compassion, and recognising the urgency needed to ensure everyone’s satisfaction.
I could not be more pleased to have her on my team – she makes challenges easy to work through by always being there to lend a helping hand and calling to ask if there is anything she can assist with.”
Salome Hendricks (Langverwag) – Food Service Assistant
Valued employee with 2 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in April 2019. Motivated by our trainer on food quality, Colette De Wet, supported by Health Care Manager Joan Cockrell:
“Salome is one worthy of a nomination for integrity. Without divulging too much of the details of the matter, as it is of a sensitive nature, Salome’s honesty has been recognised in the manner in which she conducts herself in her interactions with residents.
Thank you, Salome, for being a prime example of honesty and integrity. This motivation is short and sweet but speaks volumes for this employee’s character.”
The Integrity Award went to Fagmeeda Williams from the HR Support Office with special recognition given to Salome Hendricks from Langverwag.
Maritza James (Langverwag Care) – Carer
Valued employee with 5 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in November 2016.
“Maritza recently started offering full-time support to a resident who faces many challenges. Quite often, new residents end up falling asleep in front of their televisions. Not with Maritza around, though. She spent hours teaching the resident new things, and he now talks in full sentences where before he hardly spoke. His family are amazed at this progress. It would have been easy for Maritza to just sit with him, but she accepted the challenge to make a difference in his long day.
This is innovation on a new level, which had the greatest impact on the resident’s wellbeing. Maritza also gave up a permanent position in January 2021 as she did not want to abandon the resident she supported.”
Denise Willemse – (Rusoord) – General Assistant
Denise has 5 years of service. Motivated by her manager Nadia Diedericks; supported by Assistant Food Service Manager Lizal Adriaanse:
“Denise really showed her dedication in the month of July 2021. Her entire shift was sent home to isolate after being in contact with a positive staff member. When I was unable to arrange replacement casuals to assist her, Denise ended up running her kitchen’s production all on her own with a little help from Lizal. She took over the roles of Cook, Assistant and GA all by herself without hassles or complaints. Not once did I need to check on Denise or assist her in preparing the food. Her dedication truly deserves a Golden Star.”
The Innovation Award went to Maritza James from Langverwag with special recognition given to Denise Willemse from Rusoord.
(Maritza was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony and Joan Cockrell, her manager, accepted the award on her behalf.)
Andrea Tobie (Langverwag Care) – Caregiver
Valued employee with 6 months of service; became an employee of GERATEC in March 2021. Motivation from her manager Joan Cockrell, supported by clinical nurse Retha De Jager:
“One of our residents has been wanting to visit his son, who lives on a farm outside of Carnavon, for many months. During the lockdown, this resident never left his flat. What got him through this period were thoughts of the visit to his son that was to come. Andrea Tobie, who is the resident’s caregiver, volunteered to go with him to his son’s farm, knowing that he would still require care while he was away. And Andrea’s own two young children would have to be looked after by her mother.
When I discussed this with her, she told me that she and her family were willing to make this sacrifice. It would make his dream become a reality. She said that she has learnt so much from him that she wants to give something back to him.
They left on the 9th of August and returned on the 29th of August. Understandably, Andrea missed her children terribly during this period. But while at the farm, Andrea did not only support the resident but also cooked her favourite dishes for the family on occasion, getting to know them better. The family have even asked that they both visit again.”
Marie De Koker (Langverwag) – General Assistant
Valued employee with 15 years of service; became an employee of GERATEC in April 2006. Motivation by her manager Joan Cockrell, supported by colleague Meagan Adams:
“Over the past months of Covid-19, my workload has grown extensively and with that, there are many days when tea, lunch, or breaks of any sort are not given a thought. There have been days where I worked from 06H30 and only left after dark.
But through this, there has been one person who has made a huge difference to my personal wellbeing: Marie. She notices these things and will ask me when putting out the carers’ soup if I would like a cup. Sometimes when running around upstairs I will come down to a tray of tea in my office. She once even bought me pancakes (which I love) after a hectic, emotional morning. A simple thing like a glass of water, placed on a saucer sitting on my desk, can make my day.
While one is so busy for everyone else, it is awesome to know that there is someone who also cares about my well-being. Thank you, Marie!”
The Compassion Award went to Andrea Tobie from Langverwag with special recognition given to Marie De Koker from Langverwag.
Following the handover of individual awards, our long service awards were handed over at each unit by a member of the management team.
GERATEC’s Long Service Awards are handed out for 5, 10 and 15 years of service. Well done to the following employees on their achievement.
5 Year Awards:
|Unit||Full Names||Surname||Years of Service|
10 Year Awards:
15 Year Awards:
Congratulations to each of these dedicated staff members, and a heartfelt thank you for being part of the team.
The ceremony ended with a special word of thanks to the people who make a difference in so many lives each day:
“I want to take this opportunity to thank every employee at GERATEC – you create worlds of possibilities every day in everything you do. Thank you for pushing through tough times with uncompromising service and loyalty. You are the perfect embodiment of GREATEC’s values. So just because you did not get an award today, I want to offer you all special recognition for showing up every day. You are what makes GERATEC what it is, and we are grateful to each and every one of you.” Afterwards, everyone enjoyed coffee, tea and light refreshments together, reminding each other that GERATEC, at its core, will always just be people caring about people.