Meet the Team – Michael Lombardo
Recruitment Lead, Kerry Noonan caught up with Michael Lombardo who joined Green Light in May 2020 from a successful career in the Hospitality sector. Michael now works with a team at Tresleigh, a home in Grampound Road, between Truro and St. Austell. The team support four adults with autism, epilepsy and learning disabilities. Michael is well known for his energy, creativity and artistic abilities.
Q: Why did you decide to join Green Light?
A: Quite simply I required work at the time back in April 2020 at the start of Covid. I had previously worked as a Teaching Assistant and loved it. I had always seen Green Light’s Facebook adverts and been really interested since moving to Cornwall almost 10 years ago. I hoped my interpersonal people skills from Hospitality might aid me in being a suitable candidate. Also I saw an opportunity to not only help others and give something back, but also to hopefully learn a lot myself from the individuals I may assist; seeing life from another angle.
Q: What previous experience of autism or learning disabilities did you have?
A: Minimal, mostly from interaction with individuals whilst working and serving guests in my hospitality career.
Q: Do you have any special skills, hobbies or interests that you have found transferable to your new role?
A: Despite graduating in Product Design, another area of my life I love, I decided to follow Hospitality. I learned very early on that I had a real passion for the industry, always aiming to give my guests the very best experience possible whilst in my care. Always wishing to strive to learn more about the industry, and always reaching for higher goals to eventually build enough experience to open my own establishment. From starting at the bottom, to managing the 3rd best restaurant in the Top 100 UK restaurants at the time. This has given me so many elements transferable to my current position. From managing teams I learnt the crucial importance of team work and that every individual’s role is as important as the others. Communication, listening, building rapport, trust and being able to read situations and individuals quickly, using my empathy has really helped in this role. My experience taught me the importance leading by example to help team motivation and positive morale. Alongside my professional skills, I love the outdoors and almost all active sports from surfing, skateboarding, rollerblading, cycling, walking, climbing, swimming. The list goes on! This has really helped in this role, where you might be supporting someone to try new experiences and trust you when learning new skills to grow as individuals. Also from running ‘Secret Spot Hospitality‘ a food truck catering business, I love to bring my passion and love for diverse foods and nutrition to the breakfasts lunches and dinners we create. I enjoy involving people as much as possible in the cooking process. It’s satisfying knowing they have really enjoyed the meals we cook together.
Q: What’s been your best experience so far?
A: I guess I feel happiest, or proudest, knowing individuals I have supported that day are in bed, having had an anxiety-free day of opportunities for involvement, participation, learning, growth and good outcomes. If this happens I go home happy :). I love every element of my work. I simply love the diversity. You can be helping someone with everyday routines and household chores then encouraging them to learn new skills, sports or activities. Everyday is different. You never know what to expect.
Q: Do you have any experience you would like to share with others considering a move from the Hospitality to Health & Social Care sector?
A: Since working in care and after starting, building and operating my successful food truck catering business it has definitely given me greater stability, structure and free time. The hours and working rota can be very flexible, working with you, as well as giving your best time to the individuals we support. I have been very fortunate through working at Green Light to have seen more of Cornwall in a year than living here for almost 10 years now. The training you receive is great, and so transferable to other employment sectors, with great opportunities and encouragement for progress and career progression within Green Light itself. Having the time to work for Green Light has benefited my life in so many ways from self-development and growth, to understanding in great depth the reality of living with autism, or any other spectrum associated abilities. I relish every day I am with the people we support at Green Light.
To see life through others is a great blessing, and opportunity for growth.
Thank you Michael for sharing your experience!