Staff profile - Jill-Marie Johnston
18 July 2018
With a background in community newspapers, Activities Coordinator Jill-Marie Johnston can always be found with her iPad tucked under her arm ready to take photos of village life, or scrolling through Pinterest sourcing inspiration for her next creative venture.
Based in Napier’s Summerset in the Bay, Jill-Marie Johnston organises optional events, outings and activities for residents. She knows everyone in the village. “There are always major events that I’m working toward, and I really enjoy organising workshops and seeing people interact with each other and try new activities.”
Jill-Marie has been working at Summerset for almost two years, and started as the Care Centre’s recreational therapist, which she says developed her understanding of aged care. “I’ve learned the procedures Summerset has in place to make sure residents feel safe and well cared for. We have to remember that we are working in their home.” She was drawn to apply for the role after looking after her ill mother.
She also organised events and hobbies in her private life, which she saw as a skill she could use to bring life to the village and residents. “It’s all about people. This isn’t a job to me – I’ve just gained about 200 new friends, all different and all lovely.”
In her downtime, Jill-Marie loves making intricate 3D pop-up cards of complex buildings, such as the Taj Mahal. She also has a passion for ink and paper, having taught calligraphy for 20 years. She’s brought both skills to the village, running workshops for interested residents.
“I love sourcing new ideas for activities. I’m a person who always thinks big. I am a perfectionist by nature, and want everyone to enjoy themselves.”
Many of the skills Jill-Marie uses on a day-to-day basis at Summerset come from more than 30 years of working in the community newspaper sector, where she was involved in layout and design before going on to manage the Napier Mail and Hastings Mail. “I love putting together our village’s monthly newsletter, The Dazzler. I get huge enjoyment out of doing it.”