Excellence every day.
That statement is what every Campbell County Health employee strives to
be at work, and beyond. There is one employee at CCH who very visibly
embodies it, and today we are naming her a Legend—Jonni Belden,
RN, the Administrator of
The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.
For those who don't know, CCH defines a Legend as, “those people
who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds
and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation
for greatness make someone a legend.”
“A legend should be someone who has consistently demonstrated excellent
work, commitment to the organization, and compassion to their residents
or patients over an extended work history. Jonni has certainly done this,
and continues to do this every day,” says Andy Fitzgerald, CEO,
who has known Jonni for nearly 20 years. “I wish I could clone Jonni.
She has made me a better CEO by encouraging me, challenging my ideas in
a respectful way, and constantly reminding me that we are here to serve
others, not ourselves. She is in every way a CCH legend.”
A Wyoming native, Jonni grew up between Riverton and Lander. While attending
Casper College, she met her husband, Scott. She went on to receive her bachelor’s
degree in Nursing from the
University of Wyoming. The Belden’s moved to Gillette in 1990 when Scott went to work
for Powder River Coal Company at North Antelope Rochelle Mine, now owned by
Peabody Energy. Jonni has retained her registered nurse (RN) license, and is also licensed
in Nursing Home Administration.
Jonni says she found her path to a career in health care when she was 21
and was seriously ill. “My experience with doctors and nurses and
the other technicians influenced me to pursue nursing. Some of these caregivers
were great; some were not. It helped me discover the one I wished to be,” she says.
Jonni worked in nursing and management at
Campbell County Memorial Hospital for years, and then took a job working in the
Quality, Risk and Care Management department working on quality measures for long-term care—essentially looking
at health care processes, outcomes, patient perceptions and systems that
allow CCH to provide quality health care. CCH was looking for an administrator
for Pioneer Manor (now The Legacy), and Andy Fitzgerald asked Jonni to
step into the role.
“I had missed management and being a leader of change,” says
Jonni. And, since she was already working with the quality side of long-term
care, she felt she was able to take on the role. “I love my job
at The Legacy. I love caring for the residents who call this amazing facility
home. I believe I am at The Legacy to help usher in the transition from
a nursing home to a living center.”
The Legacy opened in October 2016,
after a long haul. The project was approved by the CCH Board of Trustees in 2012. Families
of residents, the public, CCH representatives and employees as well as
The Legacy advisory board members were all invited to meet with
Lantz Boggio Architects in 2013 to give input on the features of the new long-term care facility.
Demolition of the site began in February 2013, with the official ground
breaking of the site taking place in August 2013. For the last two years,
the Gillette community has watched
J. Scull Construction bring The Legacy come to life on South Gillette Highway near Lasting Legacy
Park. Its emphasis is truly on providing dignified care and purposeful living.
As the Administrator of The Legacy, Jonni is responsible for the division’s
strategic plan—she manages the budget, quality initiatives and overall
resident care. She is also the director of nearly 200 employees who work
there. In Jonni’s exact words: “I work with a group of dedicated
professionals to provide quality
long-term care and
short-term rehab care to our residents.”
And those who work with Jonni tell you that she’s always willing
to roll up her sleeves and jump in to help where every help is needed,
and no matter the job.
Elise Necklason, who works as a Care Manager at The Legacy and has known Jonni for 10
years, Jonni exemplifies every day the attributes she asks of others,
“She is always willing to assist, problem solve, and chip-in when
help is needed,” she says. She recalls a time when some residents
needed to be moved to a different room, and Jonni stepped in and helped
make up the beds. “Jonni views herself as part of our team, as well
as being our leader,” says Elise. A true mark of selfless leadership.
“She has been known to throw on scrubs and work the floor as a CNA,” says
Tiffany Fager, Administrative Secretary at The Legacy. “Jonni walks the walk and
talks the talk. She would never ask her staff to do anything she wouldn't
Tiffany, who has worked with Jonni for five years and submitted her Legend
nomination form, says that she truly believes That Jonni has the best
interests for the residents of The Legacy. “Her work and dedication
to the success of The Legacy is unparalleled. She is committed to providing
a safe, loving and beautiful home to our residents, as well as a superior
workplace for her staff. All the detail you see in The Legacy is largely
due to Jonni—something she’d never take credit for.”
Sue Ullrich, Director of CCH’s Quality, Risk and Care Management
department, has known Jonni for 20 years and she too says Jonni’s
No. 1 priority has always been the patient or resident. Sue credits Jonni’s
success in long-term care by setting expectations and holding others accountable.
“Jonni has always embraced quality improvement and has a wonderful,
nonthreatening way of asking the hard questions. She has good facilitation
skills to assist people to focus on the issue rather than blaming people,” says Sue.
For Jonni, the Excellence Every Day statement means that she is striving
to do the right thing even when no one else is looking. “It does
not mean being perfect. It means doing your best, being humble, being
a role model and admitting if you make a mistake, and being a solution
oriented team player,” she says. And she not only exudes this herself,
she expects it of everyone she works with, and will hold you to it.
“She is tough, and expects excellence every day from all her employees;
but she is always fair, thoughtful, helpful, and a great teacher,”
Jonni’s other full-time love is her family. They enjoy spending time
together hiking, playing games, traveling, seeking out new experiences
and building memories—and they volunteer some of their time together
at The Legacy. Her husband, Scott is an environmental manager at Peabody.
Her son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Megan and their two beautiful children,
Abby and Judah live in California, and Jonni says that they make her heart
smile. Her son, Gabe is in college in Oklahoma studying music. And their
beloved daughter Ana lives on in their hearts and memories.
When asked what receiving the Legend Award means to her, Jonni said that
she was humbled by the award, and honored to be among such great company.
“What means the most is it comes from those I lead. The greatest
attribute of leadership is being someone others wish to emulate. There
are Legends and heroes every day in healthcare who go about their job
quietly making a difference in people's lives.”
There sure are, Jonni. Your personal integrity, values and high standard
of character are one of the many reasons CCH is Excellence Every Day.
We count it a privilege to have you on our team. Congratulations on such
a well-deserved award.