Health and Human Services (Community Mental Health)
Executive Director at Parent Network of WNY, which provides 1-on-1 support and education on disabilities, special education, and services to families, educators, and the community.
I am responsible for providing overall leadership, growth, marketing, and administration for Parent Network, which means I make sure everyone has the tools to do their job well. I work with an amazing staff, many who are parents of children with special needs. My goal is to create a work environment where every employee feels valued and respected, contributes toward the mission, and has fun while doing it. I believe this work environment leads to quality services for our stakeholders.
There are so many things I like! Probably at the top is the ability to interact with amazing colleagues in the human services field. At Parent Network we are always looking for ways to collaborate to meet the needs of the community.
I was very fortunate that my career path led me to some amazing organizations, and with each position, I gained more experience and developed my leadership skills. I am a continual learner, and after graduating from the University at Buffalo, I went on to obtain my Master’s Degree at Buffalo State College and Educational Doctorate at D’Youville University, which allowed me to build on the strong educational foundation I received at UB.
My first major was English and Writing, thinking I wanted to go into advertising. Then, I got a job working in a group home, and discovered human services. I really enjoyed the work and when I learned I could have a career helping people reach their potential, I was sold. I switched my major and never looked back. What kept me engaged was knowing I could immediately apply what I learned in class, often the next day or week. Another draw is the range of work that this major reaches. While I started with direct care work, I was able to move up into management positions and still apply the lessons I learned at UB. My career started with individuals with disabilities, however, I was also prepared to work with children, older adults, and people with mental health challenges throughout my career thanks to my education.
The courses which introduced me to different cultures, people, and ideas. I grew up in a small town that did not have much diversity, so I was very interested in learning about people. What I learned was that in many ways people are actually more alike than they are different.
I don’t think I really understood how broad human services is. It can be the foundation of so much, and you can always find work that you enjoy.
Explore all career options encompassed in the major. You’ll be surprised at the range, and this will either solidify your first choice or introduce you to something you’ll enjoy even more.
I love all Buffalo sports teams (including UB sports - #HornsUp) and my friends and I have had season tickets to the Buffalo Bandits Lacrosse team for 30 years.