2017 Nominees Section

View Nominees

Kristina Watanabe-Hylton

Kristina Watanabe-Hylton

Position: Executive Director

Organization: The Groves of Tustin


What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Kristina brings 18 years of experience in Assisted Living 12 of those as an outstanding Executive Director. Kristina is also a very intelligent person who is not deterred by taking on multiple challenges. She makes her great ideas come to fruition with hard work, persistence and dedication. She respects and safeguards the rights of all residents in her community and takes seriously her commitment to manage the business for the owners and Management Company with integrity and dedication. Kristina was recently a finalist for The CALA's Outstanding Executive Director.

Why should this person be nominated
An example of her caring attitude toward our residents is that of a World War II veteran who had fought at Iwo Jima. His mind was sharp, but he wanted to talk obsessively about his war experience, and after residents heard his stories several times, many of them became frustrated and complained to management about being forced to listen to the same stories repeatedly. When the resident found that other residents had complained about him, he became angry and began isolating in his apartment. Kristina was aware of his pain and looked for a solution. She couldn’t force other residents to be his friends, so she decided that she would be his friend. She took time each day that she was at the office to spend ten to fifteen minutes with this resident. She would sit down with him over a cup of coffee and actively listen to the experiences he wanted to talk about. His mood greatly improved as a result of this kind gesture on her part. This resident passed away after a short time with us, but it was obvious that Kristina made an important contribution to improving his final days with us. This was not an isolated example of her dedication to the residents. She always takes the time to get to know the residents, where they came from and what their background is. She realizes the importance of families, and makes it a priority to meet the family members and get to know them as well.I believe the greatest “Wow Factor” about Kristina is in her management style with employees. She is a mentor who willingly shares her knowledge with her staff. If a question arises to which she doesn’t have the answer, she will do the research and we will learn together. She also leads by example. During New-Hire Orientation Kristina always makes the statement to new employees that, “We are people working for people. That we have to have a title on our name tag for accountability” but she will never ask someone to do something that she, herself, wouldn’t do. She has been known to come in on weekends and work as a caregiver, which involved all the aspects of care, including bathing, dressing and toileting. If there is a need, she will be found in the kitchen chopping vegetables and washing dishes. She demonstrates genuine teamwork on a continual basis with her own example. She empowers her employees and supports their decisions 100%. In addition, she encourages and rewards professional and personal growth whenever possible. Under Kristina’s leadership our community is enjoying high occupancy and happy, satisfied residents and staff. I attribute this to her superior organizational skills, commitment to our residents and company and consistently fair management style.