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24-years strong: From Cleaner to Village Administrator

Karen Pohl started her journey at what is now Keyton’s Abervale retirement village in Grovedale, a southern suburb of Geelong, Victoria, as a cleaner. 

She quickly progressed into the role of Village Administrator. 

“They needed someone I guess,” she laughs. “I actually didn’t apply for the job. I filled in for the role a couple of times, and I already knew a lot of the residents as well. Also back then, I was probably a bit more computer savvy than some other people. But I’ve gotten old now.” 

Karen’s mum moved into the village after Karen began working there. 

“It was good having her here. I got to see her and catch up a fair bit,’ Karen said.  

After her mum sadly passed away, Karen found comfort in her work as the receptionist, and interacting with residents and their families on a daily basis. When asked what the best part of her job is, she has a very quick answer. 

“It’s interaction with the residents. And milestone events. There were some really special times. 100th birthday celebrations, the village anniversary, and we even had a wedding here not long ago. This is fantastic. This is when we can make the residents happy.” 

The living embodiment of the Keyton values

A self declared introvert who doesn’t like to talk about herself, Karen feels at home at Abervale. 

“I am very, very introverted. But you put me behind that desk, and I can have a chat to residents and talk about things they want to talk about.’ 

Village manager Andrew Scholten, who has worked alongside Karen for many years, said Karen is the backbone of the village. 

“She holds all the history, knows every resident and their families, she is loved dearly by every resident and every member of staff,” he said during the village’s 40 year anniversary. 

“She is smart, witty, full of fun and vitality and is the living embodiment of the Keyton values. You are such an important person for everyone in the village and we have to let you know that. You are a remarkable person.” 

Will Karen see 30 years at Abervale? 

“I’m going on a holiday shortly, to Canada and Alaska. I will be overseas for three and a half weeks. But other than that, I’ve got nowhere else to go at the moment, so I keep turning up for work,” she said.  

“You’ve gotta be a little bit crazy to be in any job for that long.” 

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