Meet the Tamarisk Team
Drew Kowalski, Executive Director
In the summer of 2019, Drew was hired by CJE SeniorLife as the Executive Director of Tamarisk NorthShore because of his reputation for successfully opening other senior living communities and his natural ability to build a staff that truly understands the importance of delivering excellent customer service.
Drew started his career in the financial arena, but found his passion working with older adults when he joined another senior living organization over 14 years ago. Since then, he has opened four other senior living communities in the Chicagoland area. “I felt a strong calling to be part of CJE SeniorLife and this beautiful new community. I am in total awe that my team and I have now opened it to dozens of new residents. I consider myself very blessed to be part of this amazing community and organization”.
Drew has been involved in every aspect of launching this long-awaited community that is the first of its kind for CJE SeniorLife. “It has been exhilarating to be part of this project, almost from the ground up. Our leadership team alone has over 70 years of experience in senior living and hospitality industries, and we are hiring the best of the best to meet the needs of our residents. We hope that you’ll visit Tamarisk NorthShore soon and see for yourself why Tamarisk NorthShore is the talk of the town”!
Drew earned a bachelor’s in finance from Indiana University, and a master’s in business administration from University of Illinois.
Dorge Jean-Baptiste, Director of Dining Services
Dorge joined the Tamarisk NorthShore Team in January 2020. Originally from Haiti, he grew up in Florida and moved to Chicago to begin his professional career. Dorge has extensive experience in the hospitality industry that includes over a decade of creating new dining programs for senior living communities.
To quote Dorge: “I fell in love with this industry at a young age. Over the years, my passion to serve seniors has grown because I know that I have the opportunity to make someone’s day by delivering an excellent meal with exceptional customer service.” He is honored to be a part of the new Tamarisk NorthShore Team and is looking forward to bringing a new, exciting dining program to our community.
Dorge graduated from Palm Beach State College with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism.
Jim Betke, Director of Maintenance and Housekeeping
Jim is a real “go-to” person and we are thrilled that he joined our team in January 2020. He comes to us with over 12 years in senior living management, most recently as a Maintenance Supervisor for a community in Lake Forest. His previous experience includes working for a Park District where he was responsible for overseeing the operations of multiple business spaces. Earlier, he worked in commercial and residential construction.
Residents will find that Jim is very results-oriented — he thrives on finding creative solutions to problems: “The most gratification that one can have is going to work, helping seniors maintain their beautiful apartment homes, and becoming part of a community that is really like a large family.”
Laurie Gens, Director of Life Enrichment
Laurie joined Tamarisk NorthShore in May of 2020 to develop and manage life enrichment and wellness programming. Laurie, who has a background in hospitality, sees this as her mission and says, “Our Community programming was up and running on day one of opening, and since then the variety of classes and activities has been growing daily.”
A focus on Life Enrichment has always been the centerpiece of CJE’s programming, and the philosophy at Tamarisk NorthShore is no different. “I am excited to meet you and learn about what makes you unique. Knowing more about your hobbies, interests, and passions will help me design programming and the experiences you will want to attend”.
Laurie graduated from Michigan State with a Hospitality Business degree and worked in Client Services for several hospitality companies, including Marriott, Franklin Covey, Viper Alley, and Michael’s in Highland Park.
Ray Eliot, Business Office Manager
Tamarisk NorthShore welcomed Ray in February of 2021. She is responsible for managing our Concierge team as well as resident billing, customer service and human resources. Ray brings years of experience as she previously was in the same role at another senior living provider.
Ray earned a degree in Accounting, and a JD in Law both from Universities in the Philippines.