Sande Esparza, Trisha Roman, and Alena Scandura are bringing our Housekeeping department up to the next level by becoming certified members of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA).

Each Housekeeping Supervisor attended an intensive two-day “bootcamp” course where they worked one-on-one with Michael Patterson, the association’s Executive Director, to learn 2,000 pages worth of material. The bootcamp was then followed by an exam that tested their knowledge of advanced housekeeping concepts such as chemistry, techniques, policies, and procedures.

Passing the exam earned them entrance into the association and is a mandatory step for those who wish to be a part of IEHA. “Now that we are certified members we have access to a wellspring of information,“ Trisha Roman said. “Anything we need to know from floor care to accounting practices to infection control, IEHA has the resources we would need to find those answers.”

IEHA places significant value on education. As certified members, Trisha, Sande, and Alena each must earn 30 Continuing Education Units ever two years in order to maintain their status. “I’ve realized how much there is still to learn and now have a better understanding of how we can make our operation run more efficiently,” Sande Esparza said.

Before earning their certifications, Trisha, Sande, and Elena did not have a formal background in upper level housekeeping management. “We all came into the Housekeeping department from different sectors,” Alena said. “We realized there was a gap of knowledge that was missing, so we looked into how we could educate ourselves.”
Now that the Housekeeping Department has three formally trained Supervisors, the base of knowledge that the department has to work off of is larger than ever.

With so many members all over the world, IEHA has expanded the department’s resource circle exponentially. “We now have access to 1,300 others who are doing the same thing as us and can compare experiences and share solutions,” Alena said. “We also have access to IEHA’s database, which we will use to reevaluate our practices and find more effective ways of doing things to benefit the company and our residents,” Sande said.

IEHA, formerly known as the National Executive Housekeepers Association (NEHA), was founded in 1930 by Margaret Barnes, a hospital nurse who saw the need for a more efficient way to keep places clean. On November 1, 1930, Barnes held the first meeting of executive housekeepers in New York City. Over the next few years, NEHA expanded and began having annual conferences and galas. In 1974, NEHA’s 320-hour education program was established.

NEHA went international in 2000 with the creation of the Aruba Chapter and officially changed its name to the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), what it is known as today. In 2016 the Boot Camp Road Show that our Supervisors took part in was launched, bringing in-person education to Executive Housekeepers all across the nation.

“We are so proud to be part of this organization, but we couldn’t have done it without the support of Plymouth Harbor,” Trisha said. Each of the Supervisors were awarded a $2,000 Foundation Scholarship to use towards the course fees, transportation, and lodging. “We are so grateful to the Foundation and its donors for this opportunity,” Trisha said.

“Trisha, Alena and Sande’s commitment to the Housekeeping department, the staff, and to Plymouth Harbor is evident by their efforts to increase their skills,” said Tena Wilson, Vice President of Resident and Employee Relations. “Certification of all Housekeeping supervisors through the IEHA is an important achievement – a first in Plymouth Harbor’s history. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with this awesome team!”