Smiling housekeeper in hospital hallway

Meet Tamara Stronks, a Housekeeper Breaking Barriers at Sodexo

Published on : 12/3/23
    • Tamara smiling in hospital hallwayYears of service with Sodexo: 1 years 
    • Location: Regional Hospital, Alberta
    • Segment: Healthcare
    • Role: Center Core Housekeeper

    For International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), we invite you to meet Tamara Stronks, a housekeeper at one of our hospital sites in Alberta.  

    Tamara is no ordinary employee, as she has a disability. She tells us about her day-to-day life at Sodexo and what this job means to her.  

    Her Career Path 

    Tamara joined Sodexo’s housekeeping team in 2022 thanks to Lethbridge Family Services (LFS), a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to improve the well-being of individuals and families in southwestern Alberta. One of these services is DaCapo Disability Services. It helps adults with disabilities develop skills and relationships that enhance their wellbeing, independence and connectivity to the community. 

    Tamara started as a DaCapo Disability Service client and is delighted to have joined the Sodexo team. 
    Tamara plays an invaluable role, as her daily tasks include cleaning the hospital's common areas and offices. As a result of her employment, teams can now benefit from this valuable additional resource and lighten their workload.  

    Her Integration at Sodexo  

    Tamara's job search was not without its setbacks, as not all employers are open to hiring a person with a disability, and it is sometimes difficult to overcome prejudices. 

    "I was sure I could work four days a week, but not everyone thought I could. It's hard to prove to people what I can do, but I know I can do it." 

    Kim and Tamara in the officeOn joining Sodexo, she confides that her colleagues have been particularly welcoming: "They like me because I've made things easier for everyone. They're nice people to work with; they help you whenever you need it, and my managers and supervisors are very supportive." 

    For Logan Mcinnes, her senior manager, it's been a real success: "We've had very positive feedback from everyone. Tamara's smile is a ray of sunshine for the teams every day." 

    According to LFS, Tamara's recruitment and onboarding process at Sodexo was easy and efficient. It's not the first time they have done this kind of work placement and for them, Sodexo shares LFS's inclusivity values. "From the outset, there have been no concerns about Tamara's accommodation. The Sodexo team has always ensured that she is supported and maintains open communication with us, which is essential for our customers." 

    Her Daily Routine 

    Working has given Tamara greater confidence in her abilities. "I feel like my work has helped me learn, it's even helped me clean my own house!" 

    She can also engage more with people in the community. "Sometimes familiar people from the hospital ride the bus with me and I get to know them better." 

    Tamara is also very committed to disability awareness. She is involved with the Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association (SAIPA), the Mission Thrift Store and the local transit committee to improve transit routes and processes for everyone. 

    Her job gives her a good work-life balance and allows her to take care of herself. For Tamara, taking care of herself sometimes simply means going for a coffee or expressing her creativity through colouring and clay projects. She is already considering taking calligraphy classes to broaden her artistic side.  

    Tamara has big ambitions and goals for the future. She is very committed to her work and wants to progress within Sodexo and take on more responsibility.

    She would like to make the transition to cleaning patients' rooms and continue to contribute to the well-being of others. 

    "You can do anything you put your mind to, but you have to love it."

    Discover how we champion inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities.