“Honestly, I didn’t think I would be here long,” says Wyndell Mewborn, St. John’s Home Dining Services Manager. Twenty-four years later, what started out as a part-time job for a local high school senior doing pot washing at a nearby nursing home, turned into a rewarding career marked by continued growth in responsibility and proven value to the organization.
According to Wyndell, his positive impressions of St. John’s were cemented early on by a demonstrable act of leadership by then St. John’s Home Vice President Charlie Runyon. Less than a month or two into Wyndell’s first year on the job as a pot washer, he was asked to come in during a snow storm and had to stay from 6 a.m. one Saturday morning into Sunday evening because the inclement weather prevented other colleagues from getting to work. During the night, he noticed a leader walking around talking with the staff members that were working relief–he would later learn that the person was Charlie. “He came up during the middle of a snow storm to tell us ‘thank you for being here’ and that has always left a lasting impression on me about Charlie. It was pretty cool that he did that,” says Wyndell.
After holding various jobs within dining operations over more than a decade, namely eight years as a full-time pot washer followed by seven years working tray line, Wyndell was recognized by a supervisor, Linda McCoy, during the time when he was transferred onto the floor to work as one of St. John’s first dining captains. Under this new dining model, the aim was to make operations more resident-centered. “Linda took notice and provided me good feedback during that time saying that she was impressed with how I handled it (the role),” says Wyndell, who credits this time working up on the floors as opening the door to further opportunity.
Shortly thereafter, Wyndell was given the chance to spend a day with a consultant, Bob Banfield, who was brought in to provide feedback on St. John’s Home operations. According to Wyndell, it was Bob that encouraged Linda and others “to take a longer look at me and see if there was more that I could do for the company.” Bob also offered to donate his own time mentoring Wyndell for a few months, which involved twice-weekly coffee sessions at a local Tim Horton’s when they would go over management skills and other professional development topics. “I will always be very grateful for that,” says Wyndell, of Bob’s help during that time.
Additionally, throughout this period of professional development, Wyndell was asked to assume greater responsibility within the department. Wyndell held the the consecutive roles of assistant dining services manager and lead assistant dining services manager as a stepping stone to his current role assumed in December 2015 of St. John’s Home Dining Services Manager.
Throughout this time working in dining services, Wyndell says that he has always held a second job outside of St. John’s, working in security. In addition to working his way up the career development ladder at St. John’s, Wyndell simultaneously pursued higher education in the area of criminal justice. At about the same time that Wyndell was offered a full-time position in a supervisory role at St. John’s, Wyndell had other offers to consider from the armed bank companies for which he worked part-time. “It was a fork in the road,” says Wyndell, who said that after talking with Linda about his future, he decided to choose St. John’s. “I needed to know that we were going on the same path.”
Ultimately, Wyndell has never regretted his decision and points to people that he has forged relationships with over the years, like Linda and Charlie, as the reason for his still being here. “It was a good choice,” says Wyndell.