For those considering Seasons Retirement Communities as a place to live or work, we thought we would share some insight into how our company started and how we have evolved over the last decade.
Seasons was established in 2009. Since then, we have grown an impressive three times its original size with 21 locations across Ontario and Alberta, employing over 1,700 people! Our management team has extensive experience in the senior housing sector and has developed a culture that is dedicated to providing residents with superior care and customer service.
“We are proud of our well-developed track record of delivering quality care and service to our residents,” shares Mike Lavallée, CEO. “This would not be possible without our dedicated Team Members, enthusiastic about working with seniors and demonstrating their commitment to great customer service and care daily.”
Here is a look at the most important milestones that shaped the Seasons brand.
A brand is born!
Seasons Retirement Communities was established in 2009. CEO Mike Lavallée and COO LeighAnne Voll were employees #1 and #2. They are our company’s ‘Thought Leaders,’ tasked with establishing our operating platform and corporate brand.
Partnership with Disney Institute
Seasons has always aimed to provide excellent care and customer service. When it came time to form its service culture, our leaders looked for an inspirational model and found it in Disney, an iconic company known for its excellent customer service. We partnered with Disney Institute for three years to learn their business principles and employee training methods. We now make sure to talk constantly about company culture and the importance of interacting with each other and our customers.
Since 2010, this multi-day conference has aimed to educate, inspire and reflect the leadership principles that make our company successful. It is attended by corporate support office team members and all Service Team Leaders from Seasons retirement communities. The conference features award-winning guest speakers, epic team-building activities and an opportunity to strengthen meaningful relationships between Seasons colleagues.
Launch of Seasons Celebrates Remarkable Residents
We believe it’s important to acknowledge the accomplishments of our residents. Established in 2012, the annual Seasons Celebrates Remarkable Residents program highlights the remarkable lives of our residents and celebrates them.
As a company, we believe that when we take time to connect with our residents and show them that we care, we can affect positive change in people’s lives. The Remarkable Residents program has a lasting, positive impact on the residents whose stories are heard. It positively affects our team members, who learn something personal and unique about the residents they serve daily.
Launch of Mildred & Service Fanatics Program
We introduced our employee intranet portal, ‘Mildred,’ to provide team members with direct access to Seasons policies and procedures, training modules, internal communications and directories. Most importantly, Mildred was created to keep service team leaders connected to the brand and one another. Disney taught us that we needed a place to record our company legacy and share our employees’ stories. We hosted a contest and named this spot ‘Mildred’ in honour of the many Mildreds who lived in Seasons retirement homes!
Service excellence starts with our team members. The Service Fanatics program aims to recognize team members who live our culture and values. We give shout-outs when we catch team members being ‘Brilliant at the Basics’ or creating ‘Wow Moments’ for our residents. Name tag flags are awarded at the Culture Huddle to represent the hard work of our employees.
Connect, Care, Change
Our company Vision, “Connect, Care, Change,” was born from our Disney learnings. At Seasons, we believe that when team members take the time to genuinely connect with our residents and show them that we care, we can positively change their lives and our own. We talk about ‘wow moments’ and how small interactions, where we exceed expectations or show we’ve been listening, can significantly impact our residents’ well-being and peace of mind.
Launch of Embrace Today™
The Seasons Memory Care philosophy is based on authentic relationships. Each of our highly trained service team members commits to “Embrace Today:” which means they approach the workday with a promise to do their best to make all interactions positive and meaningful, one moment at a time.
Seasons also fosters an unhurried environment where building genuine friendships with our residents and their families is prioritized over our daily routine. We strive to understand our residents to adjust our interactions and respond with whatever is needed at the moment.
In 2016 Seasons successfully acquired all nine Sunrise Village Communities located primarily in the Edmonton to Calgary corridor of Alberta. The acquisition of this portfolio and The Gardens at West Highlands in Lethbridge provided geographic diversity for Seasons portfolio and laid the foundation for future growth in Western Canada.
Pennies for Poppies
Seasons is proudly home to many veterans. Since 2016, each Seasons Retirement Community has participated in our Pennies for Poppies program by collecting pocket change donations supporting its local Royal Canadian Legion in November. Seasons team members’ plant’ hundreds of paper poppies in the gardens to create a visual display of commitment to honour the brave men and women who served our country.
Kickin’ It UP at Seasons is a company-wide initiative that started in 2017 to encourage our residents to move more. Physical activity has many health benefits: Improving strength, endurance and balance, preventing falls and health decline, improving energy levels, cognition and more!
Supporting Local Food Banks
While our retirement communities regularly give back to various charities, Seasons’ primary corporate giving efforts focus on food banks to combat food insecurity in the communities where we operate retirement homes. Since 2016, Seasons has donated over $180,000 in funds and food to local food banks.
In 2018, we established The One Can Make a Difference Challenge, a friendly competition among our retirement communities. Each home collects canned goods for its local food bank. The one home in each province to collect the most cans receives a fabulous prize and bragging rights!
Many Seasons residents are lifelong volunteers. To facilitate our residents’ desire to give back and enjoy the benefits of volunteering, Seasons Retirement Communities launched Seniorosity™ in June 2018. This program allows residents to select the organizations, charities or individuals they wish to support. Through creative acts of kindness or fundraising efforts, Seniorosity™ teams have made a difference in the lives of many community members in need.
Fire it UP started in 2019 for residents who reside in memory care. The underpinning of the program is to ensure that residents have opportunities to learn something new regularly. This program runs bi-monthly and is for learning and building new skills.
Great Place to Work and Best Managed
Since 2020 and 2021, Seasons has been certified as one of Canada’s Great Places to Work®, after a thorough and independent analysis, based on direct feedback from our employees about their workplace experience.
Seasons has also been honoured as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. The Best Managed program award winners are among the best-in-class Canadian-owned and managed companies demonstrating leadership in strategy, capabilities and innovation, culture and commitment, and financials to achieve sustainable growth. These awards recognize our company’s commitment to excellence and the important work our team members contribute each day.
Seasons Celebrates International Day of Older Persons
In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons. We believe in #EverydayisSeniorsDayatSeasons, but starting in 2021, we acknowledge this day every year as a way to celebrate our residents by showing appreciation for their contributions to our communities.
In 2021, the International Council on Active Aging called to ‘reclaim health and well-being for older people by integrating wellness throughout all organizational strategies and operations.’ In February 2021, Seasons became the only Canadian RH operator to have Corporate Membership with the ICAA and the only Canadian operator represented on their website. Seasons embraces the concept of a ‘wellness culture’ and actively participated in developing the ‘wellness culture audit’ and piloted the audit in the spring of 2022.
“What the Heck?!” Education Bursary
In 2021, General Manager Donna Heck retired early from Seasons Olds. When she left, she was Season’s longest-standing employee. Donna is passionate about the importance of education, having fun at work and making our residents feel surrounded by genuinely caring people. In her honour, Seasons announced the “What the Heck?!” Education Bursary for all Seasons employees. Seasons awards ten employees a $1000 gift each calendar year to help pay for their tuition or education costs.
The Introduction of Sitasauraus
Sitasauraus is a symbol of friendly competition among our communities. It started in 2021 with a joking request for a new office chair in the shape of a dinosaur. COO LeighAnne Voll purchased two of these chairs for each province, seeing the potential to spark some team spirit! LA challenged the General Managers to name it. Sitasauraus (affectionately called for being able to “sit” on the “dinosaur”) became a playful trophy for the homes that won various challenges, ranging from sales targets to signature program participation to compliance and audit results.
Seasons Learning Hub was established in 2021 as a video-based learning vehicle to offer residents lifelong learning opportunities in various topics that we can broadcast to their in-suite channel.
If you would like to join our growing team, please click here for current opportunities!
If you would like more information about living at Seasons, please go to the Contact Us page and select the Seasons home you are most interested in. Complete the form and one of our team members will happily get back to you!