From the confidence she displays speaking to several hundred people, you’d never know Endya Gibbs was once a nervous new professional. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s come a long way. Gibbs’ successful journey now includes a second term as President of the ANHA Activity & Social Service Auxiliary. She was elected by her peers at a meeting in October 2017.
Gibbs is currently Social Service Director for Cherry Hill Rehab & HealthCare Center in Birmingham. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. Recently, ANHA.org sat down with Gibbs to learn more about her and the Activity & Social Service Auxiliary’s plans for 2018.
ANHA: First, how did it feel to be elected by your peers to a second term as president?
Gibbs: It was exciting! I love serving this group. I enjoy being among my peers and helping any way I can. It’s also humbling and an eye opener. It shows me more and more that people are watching me and want to know how I handle my day-to-day responsibilities in my facility.
ANHA: How did you begin in leadership for the Activity & Social Service Auxiliary?
Gibbs: I began as Region 3 Director and was later elected vice-president and then president. In the beginning I was very nervous. Thankfully, some long-time auxiliary members were very helpful to me and guided me. Being around a top-notch group of people gave me the spark I needed to improve and advance my career. It was also interesting to learn the functions of each role while I moved through auxiliary leadership positions.
ANHA: Why is the Auxiliary important?
Gibbs: We are a team of individuals who bring our expertise and ideas together to help each other perform better in our jobs. We come from different walks of life and different facilities and we face different challenges. We’re basically a melting pot of ideas and we’re able to develop different approaches to solve our challenges. We then take those back to our respective regions and share them.
ANHA: What are your goals for the Auxiliary in 2018?
Gibbs: The number one goal is to make sure all Activity and Social Service staff members are informed about the changing nursing home regulations. We want our peers to know that we’re here as a resource and can help you get the education you need.
ANHA: Speaking of education and changes in nursing home regulations, how do activity and social service professionals adapt?
Gibbs: Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It.” That applies to us. Whatever comes along, we just do it and take on the challenge. We put a plan together based on the changes and then we execute it.
ANHA: What’s your advice for new activity and social service professionals who haven’t attended the Auxiliary’s regional meetings or seminars?
Gibbs: Get involved. Please participate. This is a great opportunity for education and networking. You will be surprised at who all you’ll meet and be glad to know that you’re not alone. There is someone you can call when you need advice or even encouragement. Lean on your peers because they can help you through difficult time – both professionally and personally.
ANHA: You’re now a long-time Auxiliary member like the ones who helped you in the beginning. What advice do you have for new professionals?
Gibbs: For new activity directors and social workers breaking into long-term care, it can seem overwhelming at times, but this work brings a lot of joy. Keep working. Keep pushing. I promise you it will pay off in the end.