Justin McConnell spent 20 years working in luxury hotels across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Indonesia. But like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic provided Justin with an opportunity to re-evaluate his career path.

“I always thought it would be nice to deliver more to the community,” Justin explains.

“I used to watch NGOs [Non-government organisations] and peacekeepers go about their business in the media. I always had visions of doing more and contributing beyond hospitality.”

Justin had not long started a new position at a boutique hotel in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula when the pandemic forced the business into hibernation.

“I didn’t get the first position I applied for with Regis,” Justin says. “But a few months later I got a call asking if I was still interested in joining the company.”

In August 2020, Justin started as the Assistant Manager (AM) of Regis Sandgate Musgrave in Brisbane. He then worked across several Regis Aged Care Homes during the 2020 Christmas period before being appointed AM of Regis Sandgate Lucinda for 12 months. In January 2022 he became the General Manager of Regis Ferny Grove. Justin’s passion and dedication to his new career path are clear for everyone to see.

“We have so many opportunities to impact people’s lives,” Justin says.

“My eyes tear up just thinking about it. This is not a reaction you have working in the hospitality sector. I am trusted with some people’s most private moments and that is not lost on me.”

Justin says aged care is about improving people’s quality of life.

“This is where they live—it’s not just where they go to get care and go home,” he says.

Justin has been offered roles back in the hotel industry but says it no longer gives him the same feeling it once did. Justin’s friends and family are supportive of his new career path. His two teenage children even joined in the Anzac Day service at Regis Sandgate Lucinda in 2021.

“We have discussions about aged care and the perception of what it’s about,” Justin explains. “I think there’s a lot of misconceptions out there. People don’t know what to expect until they start working in an aged care home.”