What brought you to Destination Hope?
I worked in the restaurant business for 18 years, but I was always interested in the field of psychology. Throughout life I’ve been around people in recovery, and it always had a special place in my heart. I knew I eventually needed to make a change and follow my passion. I had loved ones in recovery and when I would go to the Family Programs and support them, I realized a lot of people don’t really understand addiction. They would think it was something so simple to change. I realized there needs to be more people in the world in this profession, so I applied as a behavioral health tech almost 5 years ago. I’ve loved it ever since. I love working with the clients on the ground, supporting them, making an impact in someone’s life. It was very fulfilling. I know this is where I’m meant to be. I became a Behavioral Health Tech Supervisor and now I’m the Director of Housing and manage all the techs and supervisors.
How did your position as a BHT and BHT Supervisor help you to become a more effective leader?
One of the things I’m really focused on is setting our team up for success. I know what that feels like being that I was a BHT not too long ago. I work very hard hands-on with the techs and show support. It’s great to be in a leadership role because I can make sure that we’re offering continuous care and safety for the clients and staff.
You’ve worked with many different techs over the last 5 years. What traits do you think are most valuable and what do you look for when you are hiring someone?
I oversee 20 techs and 2 supervisors. It’s very crucial that you hire the right person. It takes a very, very specific individual for this position. We work cohesively as a team and even though finding somebody with experience can be valuable, what’s most important is finding someone with empathy and the willingness to learn. Someone who cares. Our clients are someone’s mom, someone’s son, etc. going through the hardest time of their life. The techs are with the clients the most – we work 3 shifts 24/7. We observe and report the good things, the concerns, how everyone is doing. Ensuring everything is safe. The techs are trained to understand that the main goal is to support the client and realize they’re going through a very difficult time. That they’re coming to us to help them get through this and come out at the other end to move on with their life in a positive light. We’re not therapists but we need to be able to listen and make the client feel heard. Displaying good judgment, having good instincts, and prioritizing properly are also critical in de-escalating situations and handling them proactively.
What do you love most about your job?
That I still get to interact with the clients, and I’m involved with them. That’s what we are here for. That’s what makes me happy. That’s my passion. Being there to still support them, talking to them, listening to them. I’m excited to come into work every day.
Is there something you’re most proud of in your role as Director of Housing?
That I care about my staff and want to be able to support them, be hands on and give them the tools that they need to do their job properly. It’s very important to me to train them so they feel they can do their job 100% and feel good about it. I’m proud that I make that happen, that I take the time to set my team up for success. To make them efficient and give them the tools they need to do their job.
What do you wish more people knew about Destination Hope?
We are like family here. We all work really well together. Everyone in every department cares. That’s why a lot of us are still here. You feel that culture. We live and breathe that. We see it all around us and we work together to find solutions in any situation. We collaborate and all share the same goals.
What is something you love to do in your free time?
I love to go fishing! My dad is in the fishing industry. He makes saltwater fishing lures! I have a two-year-old and I enjoy taking her to the pier. It’s exciting to pass down the love of fishing to her. It’s something we all collectively do in my family. It’s a lot of fun and relaxing,
What do you love most about living in South Florida?
I’m a big outdoors person. I love having the option to do things outside – going to Parks, biking, paddle boarding, going to the Everglades, being on a boat or laying on the beach. Having all of that available is what I love. And of course, having my family here.