The Winners of Benchmark’s 21st Annual Awards Gala

Benchmark senior living annual gala 2024

For the past 21 years, Benchmark Senior Living has held an Annual Awards Gala that recognizes associates and communities for outstanding achievements, such as compassionate caregiving, outstanding operational leadership, highest resident and family satisfaction, highest employee trust scores, and more. We’re proud to announce this year’s winners of our highest awards:

Benchmark 2023 Compassionate Caregiver Award

Luis Condezo of Brentwood, N.Y., lead aide at Whisper Woods of Smithtown, a Benchmark assisted living with memory care community, has received the Benchmark 2023 Compassionate Caregiver Award, the company’s highest honor. At Benchmark’s 21st Annual Awards Gala held on March 7, 2024, Condezo was selected out of over 6,700 associates for best fulfilling the company’s mission of meeting individuals where they are and connecting them to the people, passions and things that matter most to them. He was recognized by residents and fellow associates for not only providing excellent care, but for going above and beyond to get to know residents and providing the personalized attention they need to feel at home.

“Luis lends tremendous heart and soul to our community,” said Desiree Krajnyak-Baker, executive director of Whisper Woods of Smithtown. “His passion for people has transformed the lives of many residents at our community and we feel so fortunate to have him as part of our team.”

Each year, Benchmark asks their residents and families to nominate a caregiver to be honored. Over 300 nominations were submitted this year, including one from Susan Henderson, whose mother is a resident at Whisper Woods.

“Luis has taken the time to get to know all of us who come to spend time with my mom, and we think of him as an extension of our family,” said Henderson. “He has been a source of strength and joy. He isn’t just staff, he’s the heart that makes it feel like home. What a gift.  My mom, at 85, is truly living her best life.”

To watch the 2023 Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Finalists video, click here.

Condezo has been a Whisper Woods associate for over three years. Born and raised in Peru, he previously served in the Peruvian Air Force before moving to the United States.

Benchmark 2023 President’s Award

Nick Barash of Andover, Mass., executive director of Benchmark at Rye, a Mind & Memory Care community, has received the Benchmark 2023 President’s Award, which is the company’s highest honor for associates in a senior leadership role. Barash was selected for exhibiting outstanding operational leadership at his previous community, Benchmark at Haverhill Crossings and at his present community, Benchmark at Rye, a memory care assisted living community.

From carefully created living environments to providing unique opportunities for residents to find joy in each new day, Benchmark at Rye’s assisted living with memory care community is committed to meeting each resident’s needs.

Benchmark 2023 Circle Award

Greystone Farm at Salem, a Benchmark assisted living and memory care community, has received the Benchmark 2023 Circle Award. The Circle Award is an annual award honoring the Benchmark community that consistently achieves the highest ratings from resident and family surveys. Greystone Farm was hailed for consistently meeting the needs of residents and family members with family members often praising the community for the incredible care their loved ones received in a warm and inviting environment.

One family member recently wrote, “The staff — from reception, to housekeeping, to cooks, to aides, to nurses, to directors — are amazingly caring to both the residents and the families. I feel blessed my mother had their knowledge, comfort, and companionship.”

Greystone Farm executive director, Lisa Collins, LPN, accepted the award on behalf of the community. “Staying true to our mission of transforming lives through human connection is something that’s very important to our entire team. We really take it to heart and feel proud that our dedication has been recognized by those who matter most, our residents and their families.”

Benchmark 2023 Ripple Award

The Atrium at Drum Hill, a Benchmark Mind & Memory Care community, has received the Benchmark 2023 Ripple Award. The Ripple Award each year recognizes the Benchmark community that consistently achieves the highest employee trust scores through surveys while also maintaining the highest associate retention and the lowest turnover rates.

The community was applauded for their success in creating a powerful “ripple effect” that makes it a great place to work. Residents, families and associates understand and feel connected to one another because strong leadership flows throughout the community.

Associates, both tenured and new, praise the community for making them feel respected, cared for and appreciated. Also, that the team is always on the same page and willing to do whatever it takes to meet a resident’s needs. As one associate said, “I really like the way they love to include everyone … it really makes us all feel at home.”

Michelle Bianchi, The Atrium’s executive director, accepted the award on behalf of the community. “Associate satisfaction is critical because when our associates are happy, our residents and their families are happy. Our team members love what they do, and it shows in the compassionate care they provide.”

Compassionate Care at Benchmark Senior Living

“The compassion and care our associates exhibit daily is truly inspiring,” said Tom Grape, founder, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “Our annual awards gala is a time when we all can come together to celebrate the good work that the associates at our 65 communities do every day to transform lives through human connection. I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s winners and all they’ve accomplished.”

To learn more about a Benchmark Senior Living community near you and to schedule a tour, click here.