Lauren Waltz ’15 was raising a child and working full-time at a restaurant, but “didn’t feel like I was helping humanity,” she says.
She also watched all four of her grandparents go through dementia.
“I knew I wanted to go into aging services from my research of where the industry was going and from my own past experience of going through this with my grandparents,” Waltz says.
One of her grandmothers was just 62 when Alzheimer’s hit, and because of the cost of care Waltz’s grandfather had to sign her over as a ward of the state.
“I wanted to be part of something that was helping that,” Lauren says. “With baby boomers aging I knew there would be more people faced with this issue than ever. I saw a lot of opportunity to feel like I was contributing.”
She scouted degree-completion programs and was impressed by CUI’s networking opportunities.
“That was the defining factor,” Waltz says. “I like that Concordia had real-world professors who were in the industry teaching us. I wanted to feel like I was learning from people in the trenches.”
Three weeks into the program she found out she was pregnant with twins.
“I thought, ‘How am I going to do this?’ But the support I got pushed me through,” she says.
Her all-female cohort “became like a sisterhood. That was so powerful. We were all going through life changes and it was like Concordia kept us together.”
Waltz earned a BS in healthcare management, and Concordia secured her an internship at Silverado Memory Care assisted living in 2014.
“Concordia set me up to look good,” Waltz says. “They gave me the knowledge I needed to really wow them. I was so blessed. I had a vision of what I wanted and Concordia really got me there.”
Waltz was hired by Silverado as business office manager in Tustin with 42 beds. Within six months she was promoted laterally to Silverado’s Escondido community with 92 beds, doubling her responsibility. She serves as liaison between the home office and the community, which offers 24-hour nursing services because every resident has dementia. Waltz oversees six direct reports. Ultimately, she wants to be an administrator.
“Life is so much better,” Waltz says. “I can leave every day and pick up my son from school. My work-life balance is phenomenal. I get to cook dinner for my kids, and I have a pretty good income, too— ninety percent higher than when I was in hospitality. I’m happy in my job and with my education, and I built lasting relationships with my cohort and my professors. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.”