Meet The Team
Howard Dunkley | Executive Director
Howard Dunkley has an extensive background of in-depth industry knowledge and fosters deep a commitment to elevating the senior living experience. Howard’s journey to his current role is as inspiring as the mission for which he advocates.
With a master’s degree in social work, Howard embarked on a multi-faceted professional path before entering the realm of senior living, which happened by chance. Intrigued by a neighbor’s suggestion, he undertook a specialized MBA program at the University of Maryland with a focus on senior living, which in turn altered the direction of his career entirely.
Howard first entered the industry at Sunrise Senior Living, a prominent senior living corporation based on the East Coast with multiple locations. Inspired by the owner’s mission and the sense of purpose, Howard found himself deeply aligned with their empathetic philosophy. Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest, he continued his journey in the industry with Emeritus, another large senior living corporation, which then merged with Brookdale, to become the largest senior living provider in the country.
Howard’s dedication to senior care is driven by his personal history, from growing up living with his grandparents to spending extensive time with older adults throughout his adult life. His empathy-driven approach draws inspiration from his social work background, and he weaves the ethical principles of holistic consideration into every decision.
As Executive Director of Laurel Parc, Howard’s genuine empathy for others roots his leadership style, a hallmark of his social work background. Guided by the belief that understanding the “why” behind actions leads to compassionate solutions, Howard approaches challenges with a gentle spirit, fostering a nurturing environment that encourages others to be their best selves. His willingness to lead by example, no matter the task, creates a culture of service and camaraderie emblematic of Laurel Parc.
One of Howard’s most touching encounters underscores his unwavering commitment to our residents’ needs. His connection with a terminally ill resident, also named Howard, epitomizes the depth of care he extends. Enduring medical hardship without family to turn to, Howard’s guidance and companionship with this resident reflected his dedication to ensuring a peaceful journey for a man who had become more than just a resident, but a dear family member.
Rooted in personal experiences, Howard’s passion exudes in his leadership. He embraces the responsibility of being a compassionate advocate and a beacon of kindness for those around him. Through his devotion to enriching the lives of seniors and fostering a sense of family within Laurel Parc, Howard embodies the heart and soul of a leader who recognizes that exceptional care is not just a duty, but a privilege.
Robin Flower | Executive Chef
Robin Flower is a culinary master with a rich heritage in baking and cooking. Hailing from England, Robin’s passion for food began early in life at his granddad’s bakery, which – along with his mother’s exceptional cooking – instilled a deep appreciation for the art of cuisine.
Upon completing a rigorous 5-year apprenticeship at a prominent hotel in England, Robin pursued a 3-year intensive culinary school program from which he earned his City and Guilds certification. This cemented his foundation for a career as skilled professional chef.
After moving to the United States, Robin made his mark as the Corporate Chef for Gustav’s and Rheinlander, overseeing their five famous German restaurants in the Portland/Vancouver region. His creativity shone in the development of numerous recipes, and he gained valuable experience collaborating with store-specific General Managers and Executive Chefs, cementing his reputation as a respected culinary expert.
Despite his success, after many years, Robin sought a more meaningful path in the hospitality industry, one where he could contribute in a deeper way with more manageable working hours. He heard about the experiences of fellow chefs who found fulfillment cooking for seniors, and it eventually led him to Laurel Parc.
At Laurel Parc, Robin’s philosophy revolves around offering residents a wide array of choices, ensuring their dining preferences are met with finesse and thoughtfulness. His diverse menus cater to every palate, with options addressing various dietary needs, all while evoking a sense of delight and satisfaction among residents and their loved ones.
Robin’s culinary expertise, deeply rooted in the French style of cooking in which he trained, imbues many of the dishes at Laurel Parc with a classic touch, supplemented by a myriad of international flavors. However, he believes is the key to Laurel Parc’s food excellence lies in the use of the highest quality ingredients, elevating each dish to an exceptional level of taste, presentation, and nutrition.
Among the many experiences Robin cherishes from Laurel Parc, a standout memory remains when he connected with a very ill resident battling cancer. In responding to the resident’s request for a special meal item not on the menu, Robin created the dish and immortalized it on the Laurel Parc menu with the resident’s name. Their friendship blossomed, and the resident shared poignant stories of his experiences during World War II – a privilege and memory Robin treasures deeply.
For Robin, the true essence of his work lies in uniting residents and family members through the pleasure of good food and fostering an environment where friendships can flourish. He feels that the profound impact and the joy his food brings to residents every day makes his role at Laurel Parc the most fulfilling and rewarding endeavor of his career.