Gloria Betancourt’s career journey has exposed to her many interesting places, cultures, and people—from Tiffany and Co. and Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, to Puerto Rico, and then to Florida, at Consulate Health Care of Kissimmee.

Additionally, Betancourt’s bilingualism—she’s fluent in both English and Spanish—has opened up many doors in her career, and allows her to connect with more people. “Being a receptionist involves meeting people from all different walks of life.” She said, and explained that in this role she has made many friends—from fellow staff members to visiting family members of residents—because she has the opportunity to chat with them in this liminal place between the outside and the world of the care center.

For almost 18 years, Betancourt has faithfully served CHC of Kissimmee as the first friendly face visitors see when they walk through the door. At the time of her initial employment, CHC of Kissimmee was searching for a bilingual (English and Spanish) receptionist. They were so impressed by Betancourt, that they hired her on the spot.

Overachieving and shining bright seem to be a consistent theme in Betancourt’s career journey, all while her passion and work ethic form the driving force and backbone.

“When I was six years old, I fell in love with shorthand. . . I love office work, and my passion is office work, and it has been for all my life,” she said.  At 16 years old, Betancourt started working as a page at Tiffany’s. Next she moved into a typist job, but dreamed of becoming a secretary. She carefully observed the secretaries in her office and how they managed taking down the dictation. When the next secretarial job opening arose, Betancourt had gradually taught herself the necessary tasks and skills, and jumped at the chance. She got the job and exceeded her boss’s expectations.

From Tiffany’s, she moved onto her next role as a bilingual secretary in a government office in the tourism department. She was the only employee who spoke fluent Spanish, and over the years, continued to hone her skill and understanding of the language. Betancourt continuously impressed her supervisors, and was eventually recruited to work as assistant to the vice president of a bank in Rockefeller Plaza.

“Being a receptionist involves meeting people from all different walks of life.”

Eventually, Betancourt and her husband decided to relocate and find a new home for themselves in Florida. Here, Betancourt once again discovered a route for bridging the gaps between language barriers, and took an administrative assistant job working for a Japanese travel agency outside Orlando. As the only native, fluent English speaker, Betancourt helped her supervisor mend her broken English and translate her messages on paper. “It was so interesting and I learned so much,” Betancourt said.

During her early years in Florida, Betancourt connected with a Consulate employee, and when CHC of Kissimmee put out a recruitment call for a bilingual receptionist, Betancourt rose to the occasion.

Fortunately for CHC of Kissimmee, Betancourt found her way through their front doors and has been welcoming others in for almost two decades. Initially apprehensive about greeting the public, Betancourt quickly warmed up to her role. She said, “It’s been a long road, but a good road. I’ve always done my best.”

Her co-workers boast about the “fabulous job” she does day to day. Lauri Hinton of Human Resources nominated her for this recognition and honor, writing: “Staff, visitors and residents all speak highly of Gloria and her professionalism. She greets all who enter with respect, integrity, and is very compassionate in her job. Gloria is an asset to the Consulate family!”

For Betancourt, it comes down to passion, respect and integrity. “To be good at anything [in your career], you have to have the passion,” she said. She emphasized the importance of respecting one’s co-workers, and avoiding and shutting down gossip at all costs. She also believes in self-respect. “When you respect yourself, you know how to respect others, and then others will respect you.”

Betancourt has been described as a “dedicated worker” and “the quiet one who loves to tango.” She has experienced so much on her journey, both personally and professionally. She explained, “I just want to continue what I’ve been doing. I have had many challenges in the past, and I want to keep moving forward like I always have.”