It was spring of 2001 and Kathleen was looking for a career change. She had worked as a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in Plymouth and an EMT in Milwaukee and wanted to try something new. She saw an ad in the local newspaper for Caregivers at Homes for Independent Living (HIL), A MyPath Company, and decided to apply. To her delight, she was hired as a Manager at Drake House in HIL’s Washington region. Over the span of 18 years, in addition to working as a Manager at Drake House, Kathleen worked as a manager at several other homes in the region and was promoted to both the Coordinator and Program Specialist positions.
In 2019, HIL was hiring new trainers for the Training Department. With Kathleen’s skills and experience as an EMT, Firefighter and healthcare instructor, she felt she could really help the current training manager. Recognizing Kathleen’s assets and her potential, the training manager approached Kathleen about a permanent position in HIL’s Training Department. She readily accepted the full-time training position, while continuing to work in the homes and provide other assistance in the Washington region for the next three years.
In 2022, Kathleen’s role changed again, as HIL needed someone with extensive experience and leadership skills to support the Washington region. Always willing to help, Kathleen decided to move back into the Program Specialist position.
Kathleen says, “The best part of my job is that each day is different. I help clients, staff, guardians, and Care Management teams. I like that I am not just sitting behind a desk every day and I am still able to work with the clients in the homes. I am not ashamed to say that I have ADHD and this is the PERFECT position for someone like me who really does well and excels with having a dozen different tasks to complete on any given day.”
Her experiences over the years have helped Kathleen grow professionally and personally. She learned that not everyone will do things the same way she would do them and that is ok. One of the most important things to remember is to make sure to tell your staff they are appreciated and are doing a good job.
Kathleen recalled the many people who have come and gone from within the programs and each one of them brought something new to the region and the company. She says that it’s incredibly important to be open to different ways of accomplishing the same task. No one way, is the only way.
Kathleen enjoys being a part of clients’ amazing accomplishments. She recalled a time when she helped a client with Cerebral Palsy during a Baclofen trial. Prior to the medication trial, this client couldn’t hold a spoon or a toothbrush. The client was lying in a hospital bed and after the injection, she reached up, opened her hand, grabbed a balloon string and pulled it to her! Kathleen said, “It was the most amazing thing to witness and be a part of. I am forever grateful to have been able to do my small part of transportation and accompanying her to the procedure.” Kathleen went on to say, “A good day is when the people we serve are healthy, can do the things that bring them joy, and that we accomplished something today that we didn’t accomplish yesterday. A good day is when you walk into work and no matter how bad of a day you were having, the minute you walk in a client smiles and says how happy they are to see YOU! Your ‘bad day’ isn’t so bad anymore because you are where you feel appreciated, where you feel you make a difference in their lives, and you are confident that they are receiving the best care you can possibly offer.”