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Topeka Presbyterian Manor welcomes Jolene Zirkle

As the new director of human resources, Jolene Zirkle is here to support the employees who care for the residents at Topeka Presbyterian Manor.

Jolene joined our community in July and says she brings a new perspective to her role.

“I bring a fresh set of eyes and a different way of doing things,” she said.

So far, one her favorite things about her new position is the relationship she has established with Executive Director Heather Pilkinton, who often asks Jolene for her take on an established process.

Jolene says when she’s approaching a problem, “I don’t like to hear, ‘Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.’” It’s always worthwhile to examine what’s in place to see if there are ways to make improvements that benefit employees.

Jolene has worked in the human resources field for three years and earned her master’s in human resources in 2020. Previously, she worked in HR for the Kanza Mental Health and Guidance Center in Hiawatha, Kan.

She earned her undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Washburn University with the ambition of working in a correctional facility. While in college, she had her first child. That motivated her to look for a safer, more stable work environment.

“I like working with people, so I really like the employee engagement and doing the fun things” that come with an HR career, she said.

When it comes to the more challenging aspects of her job, Jolene puts personal feelings aside and works to find solutions that serve both the employee and the community as a whole.

Jolene has three children. Her oldest, Sydney, is a junior at Washburn and plans to go on to the Master of Library Sciences program at Emporia State. Newlywed Abigail studies elementary education through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is enrolled in the program remotely from Japan, where she lives with her husband, who is in the Air Force. The youngest, Gabriel, is a sophomore in high school.

When she’s not working, Jolene enjoys reading, particularly books by her favorite writer, Nicholas Sparks. She can often be found in her kitchen, baking a cake — “nothing fancy,” she says.

She travels whenever possible, and her favorite destination is Hatteras Island, part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

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