Rising Stars


The Rising Stars initiative recognizes outstanding Belmont Village employees who have risen through the ranks due to their dedication to service and our seniors. A new group of Belmont Village Rising Stars and their stories are featured on a regular basis on our careers page and posters are distributed to each of our communities to recognize individual career achievements among teams.

To learn more about team members who have experienced career growth at Belmont Village communities nationwide, check out the interviews below!

Leonardo Mallare Jr.

BUILDING ENGINEER ASSISTANT – THOUSAND OAKS

ABOUT LEONARDO: Leonardo began his career at Belmont Village as a PAL and Housekeeper before advancing to the role of Building Engineer Assistant. He was born in the Philippines and has two daughters and a son.

Was there one person/resident who inspired you to start your professional growth?
“There’s a resident that’s been giving me advice since I was a housekeeper. He is always telling me that I can be more. That advice made me what I am today.”

What was the first step you took to express your interest in advancement with Belmont Village?
“The first step would be my willingness to learn a new skill and apply the skills I have learned in my previous jobs or education.”

Florina Conales

NURSE – HOLLYWOOD

ABOUT FLORINA: Florina began her career at Belmont Village as a part-time PAL and has advanced to the role of Nurse (LVN). Her mother was also a PAL at Belmont Village. In her spare time, Florina enjoys cooking and baking pastries.

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“I am most proud of being voted by a landslide by my co-workers as most supportive co-worker and voted by the residents by a landslide as friendliest attitude in 2014.”

What advice do you have for other employees who are eager to experience career growth at Belmont Village?
“My advice is love what you’re doing, work hard and everything will fall into place.”

Christal Knox

ENRICHMENT LEADER – TURTLE CREEK

ABOUT CHRISTAL: Christal began her career at Belmont Village as a PAL and advanced to the position of Enrichment Leader. She loves working in senior living because of the connections she makes with residents and families. Christal has been a part of the Belmont Village family since 2013.

What inspires you each day?
“Seeing my residents, saying good morning, and the hugs.”

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“Having the residents trust me, knowing they can talk to me about anything.”

Radhika Singh

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – SUNNYVALE

ABOUT RADHIKA: Radhika began her career at Belmont Village as a Dining Room Server and advanced to the position of Executive Director. She will receive the 2018 Northern California Outstanding Executive Director Award at the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) Spring conference. She is a huge foodie and loves trying new restaurants. Radikha also enjoys roller coasters and visiting amusement parks.

What advice do you have for other employees who are eager to experience career growth at Belmont Village?
“Never give up, work hard, stay faithful and humble, and have a positive outlook on everything.”

How has your role at Belmont Village changed since you’ve started?
“My role has drastically changed. I started as a dining room server looking for advice and now I’m the one giving the advice.”

Derek Douse

DINING ROOM COORDINATOR – WEST UNIVERSITY

ABOUT DEREK: Derek began his career at
Belmont Village as a PAL and advanced to the role of Dining Room Coordinator. In his free time, Derek loves to travel and most recently enjoyed his first international adventure on a trip to the Dominican Republic.

What inspires you each day?
“The residents inspire me. When I get to work, I am excited to see whose day I can brighten up. I understand we all won’t have good days but I pride myself on being able to spread my positive energy throughout the community.”

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“I am most proud of receiving the Customer Service Award my first year at Belmont Village. It not only showcased how genuine I am, but it showcased how driven I am to make each resident and their family/friends always feel welcome.”

Jaimi Velazquez

NURSE – THOUSAND OAKS

ABOUT JAIMI: Jaimi began her career at Belmont Village as a PAL and has advanced to the position of LVN. She was inspired to enter the nursing field during high school, after her grandmother became ill.

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“I would have to say that I’m most proud of the many things I’ve learned, and continue to learn. Not just as an LVN but all the different things I learn about and from each resident every day.”

How has your role changed since you’ve started?
“When I was first hired at Belmont Village I was hired as a PAL. Once I received my LVN license, I was transferred into an LVN position where the learning and fast paced days continued.”

Aaron Drizin

MEMORY PROGRAMS COORDINATOR – HUNTERS CREEK

ABOUT AARON: Aaron began his career at Belmont Village as an Enrichment Leader and advanced to the role of Memory Programs Coordinator. He has lived in Boston, Las Vegas, San Diego and Houston and is also an avid traveler, having visited countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

What advice do you have for other employees who are eager to experience career growth at Belmont Village?
“Stay motivated, let your supervisor know and keep a great attitude no matter the situation.”

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“Resident Spotlight and leading Shabbat services.”

Erick Angel

DINING ROOM COORDINATOR – SAN JOSE

ABOUT ERICK: Erick began his career at Belmont Village as a Food Server. He is a huge fan (and season ticket-holder) of the San Francisco 49ers. Erick loves spending quality time with family and friends and enjoys staying active through bowling, basketball and football.

What inspires you each day?
“My inspiration is putting a smile on each resident’s face.”

How has working at Belmont Village changed you as a person?
“I’ve gained much more knowledge and wisdom by interacting with the residents every day.”

Brandy Jones

WELLNESS COORDINATOR – TURTLE CREEK

ABOUT BRANDY: Brandy began her career at Belmont Village as a Nurse. In her free time, she loves prepping and cooking cuisine from many different cultures. She also loves to read and finds inspiration through motivational books.

What is your favorite thing about working about Belmont Village?
“The entire staff works as a team, most of all we’re a family. We all come in to do the exact same thing, take care of our residents.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
“When we lose a resident, I feel the warmth from the family of being pleased that I gave my very best to the resident’s quality of life.”

Victoria Tufts

STAFFING COORDINATOR – ST. MATTHEWS

ABOUT VICTORIA: Victoria began her career at Belmont Village as an Activity Assistant. She enjoys camping, hiking and Starbucks. Victoria met her husband (a minister) through her father, who is also a minister.

What was the first step you took to express your interest in career advancement with Belmont Village?
“I had expressed interest to one of our nurses about wanting to do more with my degree. I had been an Activity Assistant for a year and desired to challenge myself through career advancement. She guided and encouraged me through the process.”

James Arp

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – WESTWOOD

ABOUT JAMES: James began his career at Belmont Village as an MPC before advancing to Executive Director in Training and becoming Executive Director at Belmont Village Westwood. He received the 2018 Community Leadership Award at the national Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference. James has completed more than 40 half and full marathons. He is also an avid tennis player and former actor whose previous roles included impersonating Cher in a dinner theater performance.

What accomplishment during your journey at Belmont Village are you most proud of?
“The best accomplishment during my journey has been helping create a strong Circle of Friends program for people with memory impairment. I have been able to do this in all my different roles since I started at BV 9 years ago. I also am very proud and honored to be selected as the ED of the Year in 2015. There are such wonderful Executive Directors in the business, specifically at BV, that I still marvel that I was selected.”

Estevan Ortiz

SOUS CHEF – BUFFALO GROVE

ABOUT ESTEVAN: Estevan began his career at Belmont Village as a food server and cook. He has two children, Joseph and Hailey. He enjoys sharing his love of cooking with them through baking together at home or watching their favorite show, Worst Cooks in America.

What is your favorite thing about working at Belmont Village?
“It’s hard to narrow it down, but one of my favorite things is that the Belmont Village team feels like a family. There’s potential for career growth. Also, Belmont will recognize employee accomplishments. The reasons why they are my favorite aspects of my job are because they are part of my core values.”

Tajuana Davison

STAFFING COORDINATOR – MEMPHIS

ABOUT TAJUANA: Tajuana was initially hired as a PAL and has risen to her current position as Staffing Coordinator. In her spare time, Tajuana loves to shop and spend time with her children.

What is your favorite thing about working about Belmont Village?
“I love the fact that my role encompasses so many different areas. I get to work closely with not only the staff, but our residents and families, who always keep my day to day life interesting.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
“I was very proud to be named Employee of the Year in 2015. What an honor!”

BELMONT VILLAGE NEWS