March 2024

IWD Meet Simona Varga-Pali Home Manager at Charrington Manor

Meet Simona, the incredible Home Manager at Charrington Manor who has been fearlessly leading her team through challenges with passion and empowerment. As we celebrate International Women's Day over the course of March, we couldn't resist sitting down with Simona to gain some insight into her inspiring journey to success, how she climbed the corporate ladder, and her advice for all the amazing aspiring female leaders out there. Ready to be inspired? Keep scrolling!

What year did you join the Hamberley team?

I joined Hamberley in February 2022 as a Home Manager.

Why Hamberley?

As a Home Manager at Hamberley Care Homes, I joined the company because I believe it is the right fit for me. The unique and modern Homemaker Model resonated with me, as it empowers team members and aligns with my values. The focus on tiny details that make residents' lives special, the opportunity to be a friend and companion, and the chance to provide holistic, person-centred support, all contribute to why I chose Hamberley. It simply felt like the right place—a true "home" for me. Hamberley isn't just a workplace; it's where compassion meets innovation—a place where I can make a real difference in residents' lives.

How long have you worked in the care industry?

I qualified as a Nurse in 2007 and began my journey in various healthcare settings. Initially, I worked in private luxury clinics, followed by a stint in a laboratory. Later, I transitioned to the emergency hospital-cardiology department. In 2010, I made a shift to private social care (nursing homes), starting as a care assistant. Over time, I worked my way up to becoming a registered nurse for Sussex Health Care and Care Uk, then moved on to roles such as Clinical Lead for Journalist Charity, Deputy Manager, and finally, General Manager for Gracewell Healthcare (part of Sunrise Senior Living).

What challenges have you faced along the way?

As a home manager for a care home, encountering challenges is an integral part of the job and is expected. Some of the most common challenges I have come across include:
Public Perception of Care Homes. Overcoming negative perceptions about care homes has been a significant challenge. Many people hold misconceptions about the quality of care provided in these settings. However, it's an amazing feeling when families of residents tell me that their view of care homes has changed positively due to the care provided in our homes.Recruitment and Retention: Staffing is a national problem in the healthcare industry, and care homes are no exception. Recruiting and retaining skilled professionals can be challenging. Despite this, I am proud to say that I have not used any agency workers since 2017 in the homes I managed and currently manage.

Regulatory Compliance: Meeting regulatory standards can be demanding, but it's essential for providing high-quality care. I have worked hard with my amazing and dedicated teams to achieve an overall outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for a previous care home and a good rating with outstanding on the Responsive Key Line of Enquiry (KLOE) for the new nursing home I opened with Hamberley in 2022.

These challenges require dedication, creativity, and resilience to ensure that residents receive the best possible care. As a home manager, overcoming these obstacles contributes significantly to improving the lives of those we serve.

If you have any advice for any women who would like to be in a leadership role in the future, what advice would you give them?

Believe in yourself, learn continuously, build support networks, embrace challenges and change , communicate effectively and with empathy, lead by example demonstrating integrity and hard work , advocate for diversity, learn from setbacks, balance confidence and humility, and celebrate achievements.

What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful leader?

In my opinion, the most essential qualities of a successful leader include having a clear vision, empathy, adaptability, decisiveness, integrity, effective communication, empowering others, problem-solving skills, emotional intelligence, courage and accountability


Who are some of your female role models?

I have several female role models who inspire me and shape my perspective. Here are a couple of remarkable ones who have left a lasting impact and come to mind first: Margaret Thatcher, known for her unwavering leadership and determination that shattered gender barriers—her impact on history is undeniable. And Michelle Obama, who exemplifies grace, intelligence, and resilience. I enjoyed reading her memoir; it inspires embracing one’s own journey with authenticity and purpose.


How do you maintain a work-life balance in a high-pressure leadership role?

Maintaining a work-life balance in a high-pressure leadership role can be challenging, but it’s essential for both personal well-being and effective leadership. Some of my strategies include reading to clear the mind, prioritizing rest, focusing on healthy eating, finding moments of joy, and spending quality time with loved ones.