It was love at first sight when Sunrise Supported Living village manager, Nicole McMullen began working at the Tuncurry site.
And judging by the reaction from residents as Nicole casually strolls through the village, stopping for a friendly chat, the love is mutual.
The youngest village manager in Australia, 45-year-old Nicole embraced the facility with enthusiasm, passion and affection from the time she walked through the front gates.
While Nicole has a successful resume of flipping average businesses into thriving enterprises, she credits support from owners Paul Greenup and Peter Leschke for helping to ensure Sunrise has a 'sunny' future.
"My focus is struggling businesses; a business which is starting to fold; I like to flip them around then move on."
However, Nicole won't be moving on this time; she has her feet firmly planted on the Sunrise ground.
Nicole says when the time arrives she will move from her nearby home to an independent living unit at Sunrise.
When Nicole came to Tuncurry five years ago as a part-time book-keeper there were just 10 residents in the rental village.
Today, the one and two bedroom self contained villas now accommodate more than 90 residents, with additional units becoming available in the not too distant future.
Before changing the model from rental to buy-in, Nicole did extensive research, visiting nursing homes, Google and studying the latest and best trends.
I have always been an active, busy person; I think I will sleep when I am dead.Nicole McMullen
"I have done a lot of research to keep this business alive.
"I had a look at the best of every model I found and took the best and hope I have put it back into Sunrise."
The facility now offers residents independent living right though to palliative care.
"I say the biggest asset are our residents and staff.
"I have empowered every employee to do their best; everybody has a strength."
Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships to staff members, Nicole likes to lead by example, undertaking a range of studies from a diploma in counselling to leadership and a management diploma.
"Once you get to the top you don't want to become complacent.
"I am training just like everyone else."
Nicole explained staff at Sunrise were multi-skilled, like the chef who also is a trained carer, or the registered nurse who is a massage therapist.
Nicole attributes her 12-year stint in the navy for her discipline, business leadership and organisational skills.
Rising through the ranks to captain, Nicole completed her accounting degree - which she began at Newcastle University - during her stint with the navy.
Catch up: Why I Do What I Do
She moved with her former builder husband out to Cobar, raised a family and began a book-keeping business.
Not one to be idle, Nicole continues to look after her ex-husband's books and is happily on-call 24 hours a day.
"I have always been an active, busy person; I think I will sleep when I am dead."
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