Not too long ago, new Admissions Director Chidera Ekweghariri had become disillusioned with her healthcare career. Then, she came to Broadway House for Continuing Care.
What’s your backstory?
I was born in Nigeria, and came to the United States at age 7. The cultural differences are like day and night. Plus, both of my parents are pastors. African Christianity is very strict compared to the way things are in America. Even ear piercings for me were an obstacle. In fact, I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 21. I finally told my parents, “I can still serve God and have my piercings.” Inside the four walls of our home is like being back in Nigeria. Step outside and it’s America in all its glory. My utopia would be a place where there was a bit of both.
When I was very young, my younger sister passed away before she turned one. This was due to the lack of quality healthcare in Nigeria. I always knew I wanted to be in the field of healthcare. First, I went into the clinical side, but it took a toll on my back. Then, I decided to move into admissions, taking a position as Admissions Coordinator for Lantern Hill in Summit.
You thought about leaving healthcare.
Yes, in the midst of COVID, I lost my passion for healthcare. It seemed that heart, empathy, and ethics were neglected. It became all about numbers and there were no boundaries—no detachment from work. Then, I heard about Broadway House from Joe Badru, the previous Director of Admissions here. He told me to keep an open mind and go on the interview. Immediately, I was touched by the calming environment. There is a sense of peace here. So I accepted the position, joining the staff on Feb. 26. Within a month, I felt so much warmth from the residents. They are literally the sweetest.
What makes your day?
With both parents being pastors, the spirit of servitude was engrained within me, so I’ve always liked helping people. Being able to provide shelter and rehabilitation to change the course of someone’s healing is what is so fulfilling. My wish every day is to help residents utilize their second chance—to tap into their greatest potential. We cater to those stigmatized by society. Broadway House represents a second chance for the residents to be the best versions of themselves. I want every resident to be a success story.
How do you unwind?
I love music! I believe you are a product of what you listen to. When I am in a reflective state, spiritual music helps me. I also like rap, although it doesn’t elevate me. I like to look for music that helps to better me. I am from a musically based family so I love to sing as well, and I also love to dance.
Tell us about your travels.
I could go to Nigeria over and over again. But if I had to pick just one place, for a one-time only trip, it would have to be Greece. It is beautiful. I love the aesthetic, the white stone. I like the old world with the new world. There’s a great balance between the older structures and cultural history and hi-tech. Another favorite place is Jamaica. I love the warmth, peace, and tranquility of the island.