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Lorena Smalley

Introducing Gaby Sanchez – ED Administrative Assistant/WSAC Board Secretary

Gaby has been with our centre for 8 months now but from day one, she has made an impression with our members! From coordinating our Frozen Meal Program orders to helping members register for programs and activities, her positive attitude and ability to remember faces has made her a much welcome addition to our team!

Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Well, I came to live in Edmonton seven years ago with my family – Hugo, Mateo, Irene, and Chino. My husband and I were born and raised in Mexico City and came to live in Canada after his studies in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the United States. I am also a Biologist, and the reasons we choose Canada as our country of residency relates to its natural beauty and welcoming approach to immigrants. Professionally, I hold a Master’s degree in Environmental Biology. I have managed to complete a certification in Management Development from the University of Alberta, and have seven years of experience working for community-based organizations (before coming to work for Westend Seniors, I worked for ASSIST Community Services Centre, and Sage Seniors Association). Most of my work experience relates to the administration and coordination of resources, but I also have experience teaching and supervising volunteers and staff. Most of our WSAC members see me at the front desk area – handling frozen food orders, helping people with their general queries, membership applications, class registration – and I also support the Board as its secretary.

What do you like most about working here at the centre?
Every day I come to work is the opportunity to interact with people – clients, volunteers, staff. It is great to get to know someone through their stories and day-to-day activities. I also like the food the kitchen staff serve at our Community Café, and enjoy the beauty of the pond in that nature area we have beside the centre (Frank and Eta Wild Natural Area). But what I like the most about working at Westend Seniors is the feeling of being part of a group of people that impact the community in such a positive way, with what they do every day. These days it is what we need the most.

You have a fantastic attitude, any tips for how you manage to stay positive as we deal with all the challenges of living during a pandemic?
Oh, my, thank you for the compliment! I don’t know. I do have my moments. Sometimes, I feel angry, frustrated, and scared with all the uncertainty the pandemic is bringing to our lives every day. But life always provides choices. So, every morning, before starting my day, I have a moment of reflection: Do I want to feel the misery of the moment for the rest of my day? Do I let it go and continue? The choice is always there.

Do you have any great memories or stories you can share with us about working at our centre yet?
When I joined Westend Seniors, I started supporting the Frozen Meal Program. It was very surprising to start receiving tips from people that were pleased with the service they received, just a few months after I started attending customers! The tips have since transformed in every day compliments the members of Westend Seniors have given to me as a form of appreciation.

We hope you have enjoyed meeting Gaby! We will continue to feature the rest of the WSAC team members over the next couple of months!

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