The father-son relationship that began with baseball and continues in senior living

13 June 2018

Justin and Dan Stein bring a shared family history and work ethic to Brookdale Senior Living. On this Father’s Day, Justin is reflecting on the life lessons his father taught him that have impacted both Justin’s personal life and his career in senior living; an industry that is a big part of the Stein family.

In a letter to his dad, Justin pays tribute to all the things Dan has done:

Hey Dad,

I’ve been very reflective over the last month or so since my promotion, the awards I’ve recently received, as well as turning thirty. As I sit back and think of how I got to where I am and where I’m heading, I realize what it took to get here. It’s not as much about the effort I’ve put in, but the effort you put in and the example you set.”

The father and son both work for Brookdale Senior Living in the Phoenix area. Dan, with more than 18 years of success in the restaurant industry, is the Dining Services Director at Brookdale Springs Mesa. His son, Justin, was recently promoted to Executive Director at Brookdale Chandler Regional. It just so happens that the matriarch of the family, Barbara, is also part of the Brookdale family as a Sales Director at Brookdale Broadway.

This is not the first time that senior living has been a part of the Stein family, Justin’s grandmother lived at a senior living community where both of his parents ended up working and where after college, Justin also volunteered. It was there that Justin was able to work alongside his dad and see firsthand the work ethic that his father had.

“My dad used to work 70-80 hours a week,” said Justin. “He’s one of those guys who will give the extra effort. He never had a sick day in 14 years of work at the restaurant. But it came at a cost for our family.”

Justin didn’t let the short time he had with his dad bar him from having a relationship or learning the value of hard work.

“Our bond had always been baseball.” he continued. “Growing up, we both played baseball. So the small amount of time with him was centered on that.” Justin also credits his work ethic to his dad. His dad taught him how to hit a curveball, and how to handle the curve balls in life and work.

Justin recalls one pivotal piece of advice that Dan gave him, shortly after Justin finished college. He had moved home after graduating and was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do. “Justin, you’re one of the smartest people I know and anything you do, you’ll be successful at.” While that may not seem like much to some, for Justin it was what he needed to hear to have the confidence to move forward; hearing that from his dad really made him believe he could.

He has indeed succeeded thus far; from starting as a night security guard to activities director and now, his second post as an executive director for Brookdale, all in just six short years in the industry.

Not only does he work like his dad, but he has been told he walks and sounds like his dad. During his previous position at Brookdale East Arbor, a resident who transitioned from the community where his dad worked to East Arbor saw Justin walking down the hallway. Justin greeted him and asked how he was doing. The resident replied, “I’m good Dan. How are you?” While it’s not uncommon for residents to call Justin the wrong name, what he realized was that he called Justin by his dad’s name because he saw Dan in Justin.

“The fact that he saw my dad in me made me fill with pride.”

“Kids are in the plan,” said Justin. “And I hope that I can be the kind of dad to them that mine was to me.”

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