Employee Spotlight: Jackie Roy brings grandmother’s lessons to work and life


Jackie RoyJackie Roy brings grandmother’s lessons to work and life.

Jackie Roy’s grandmother taught her how to cook and how to bake a cake from scratch. More importantly, Lula Mae Sellers taught her granddaughter lessons in being a good manager.

“If you’re ever in charge of people,” she would say, “treat your staff well, and they’ll work well for you.”

It seemed irrelevant at the time, but now, her grandmother’s prescient words are with Jackie every day. From starting at Homeland Center as a housekeeper in November 2007, she has risen to assistant director of housekeeping and laundry.

“She was right,” Jackie says of her grandmother’s advice. “You have to come to people with the respect you want in return, and it works well. I live by her words.”

Jackie joined Homeland at a difficult time in her life. She had worked cleaning jobs in state government and nursing facilities, but she was mourning her grandmother’s death when the call came for a Homeland interview. Getting the job and interacting with residents and families helped her snap out of her blues – perhaps a sign that Lula Mae was still watching over the granddaughter she called Peaches.

“I was definitely her girl,” Jackie says.

With her love for cleaning, she had no trouble earning accolades on the job, and one day, her supervisor said he wanted to talk. She was being promoted to supervisor. A couple of years later, she became a manager.

Since rising to assistant director in 2015, her father calls her “Boss Lady” and reminds her that her grandmother, too, was once in charge of laundry at the Dauphin County nursing home.

“That’s when my father said, ‘You truly are a vision of your grandmother,’” she says. “I think of that, and that’s what helps me get through.”

Whenever opportunities open up, Jackie seizes them with the support of Homeland management and staff.

“They gave me the tools, and I went for it,” she says. “Everybody’s willing to help you out if you need it. We work in different departments, but all in all, we’re a whole team. It takes all of us to get the job done, and that’s what I like about Homeland. There’s definitely some excellent teamwork here.”

Her wide range of duties – from carpet cleaning to ordering cleaning products to managing staff – “makes me better. I like the responsibility of it all.”

Jackie Roy with Gretchen Yingst“I can’t think of a better place to work,” she adds. “It’s just like home, and we get along so well to make things work for the residents. It’s good when you work for caring people because this is what we do.”

Outside of work, the lifetime Harrisburg resident spends time with family, including her parents, Doleris and Ellis Roy, and her four children, ages 6 to 21. In August, she became a grandmother for the first time.

She teaches her children everything her grandmother taught her. When she cooks, she hears her grandmother’s voice advising her on the right measurements and spices. At work, Lula Mae’s influence flows through everything she does.

“She was so strong,” Jackie says. “I could look at her and know everything was going to be okay.”