Welcome to those who recently completed our Management Core Training series! Let’s get to know a little more about them:
Michael Wallace – Vancouver Program 34
Crystal Wipf – Snohomish County Program 46
Adriana Ramirez – Oak Harbor Program 2
Tracy Jones – Statewide Program 70
Soraya Sultan-Meer – Tacoma Program 3
Zuzana Madrigal – Tri-Cities Program 45
Tamara Clemmer – Lynnwood Program 570
Fawn Lantz – Planned Respite Program 23
What does a Program Manager do?
Adriana: We oversee our sites and the supervision of our staff along with the programs that we work with.
Soraya: We ensure that the clients’ lives are running smoothly and safely.
Tamara: I am a bit different with the services I provide, as I run the teams of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) facilitators and Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Specialists. I ensure they are doing what needs to be completed, such as DBT activities, and group visits for the In-Home Support, along with the PBS plans to help the clients live better lives.
What does a typical day look like for a couple of you?
Michael: Hectic is a very accurate descriptor.
Adriana: Lots of time management. Being able to keep everything straight and in line with the work that needs to be completed is important.
Michael: Time management is a really big thing too. Being a community-based program, I do a lot of group check-ins with my team along with seeing how everyone is doing. I also ensure my team is staying connected and not just out there floating around in the community or the office. Every day seems so different! There is always something new and exciting, and no two days are alike.
Tamara: There’s an unlimited amount of Zoom meetings now adays. They are never ending!
Adriana: There’s a lot of paperwork upkeep, filing, keeping things going, and making sure everything is put together and organized.
Soraya: I try to be as organized as I possibly can so that it is better in the long run.
Was there anything normal or typical that happened?
Soraya: On Monday’s we do PPE count.
Michael: I sanitized a bunch of pens for the office. I try to use this time for some mindfulness as well during the cleaning of the office.
Tamara: It was payroll day, so ADP timecards were due, along with end of month tallies.
Adriana: My program does weekend pass down every Monday. Weekend pass down is when the staff and manager get together and make sure that all information has been shared, as some managers/staff don’t work weekends, and the information that happened over the weekend needs to be shared with one another.
Soraya: We process petty cash, checks written for clients, and making sure that the client’s weeks were started correctly and are heading for a good week.
Crystal: I don’t know what typical looks like anymore, everyday is such a surprise!
Was there anything uncommon about your day yesterday?
Adriana: Cell phones and internet went out in Oak Harbor. We had no access to anything. When four o’clock hit I felt like I started my day because my phone was going off, emails were going off, it was crazy! So, it made my day not all that smooth.
Tracy: It is just so difficult because my job is so different from other Program Managers with being a part of Licensing throughout the state. I work directly with the licensors and the recruiters. Every day is different and there is not anything that is unique or mundane because it is really based on what is going on for the licensors. Yesterday, we had several CPS items that we had to sort through, and work on intake calls and follow up. This requires working with lots of different people, such as Krista, who is our lead recruiter on recruiting strategy. Every day is so unique and has its own challenges.
Do you work with clients and or customers?
Michael: I spend most of my time working with the employees, especially now. I work a lot with our Case Managers because we do a lot of collaboration. I miss working with the clients directly. It has been nice with covid, because clients come to the office a little more than they used to. I can maintain that connection with them more than ever before.
Crystal: I have been working the weekends with covering shifts at some of the sites. I am getting that one-on-one time with the clients and with guardians and staff. Its been great to be able to do that again.
Adriana: I do cover some shifts when it is needed. We are short-staffed currently, so I fill in. I also like to go and check in or help with shopping trips or any little item. I love checking in on clients, and it really helps for them to know that I am still around and everyone is taken care of.
Tracy: No, I do not work directly with any of our kids in our foster care program. But I do work with DCYF Regional Licensors across the state. I also work with our customers.
Soraya: I do not for the whole shift, but I will try and stop by at least four times a week to see the clients. I want to see everyone and see what they are up to and check in with them. I feel that it is good practice. It helps me stay connected with them. My job cannot be only about paperwork and living behind a desk.
Zuzana: I check in with Case Managers a lot and do continuous work on communication with staff and clients. If something pops up and I am needed out in the field, I am more than happy to take over a shift and work directly with the client. I also communicate with DCYF or any BRS managers if something is not right or needs clarification.
Tamara: I work indirectly with clients. I’ve worked with them directly before, but since I’m now overseeing the different programs I spend more time interacting with the facilitators and those specialists.
How do you make sure that you are showing a deep profound respect towards the clients and customers that you do work with?
Adriana: Ensuring we are always listening to our clients. Staff often come to me and want support or advice. Listening and just being there and advocating for staff and clients as well is crucial.
Michael: For me with CFS and working with kids, I think a lot of it is advocacy for the clients and making sure that we are providing the structured environment they need to be able to heal and learn. The goal is to move to the next, hopefully less restrictive, environment. I think the best part about my work is being able to see and watch the progress of clients and then see the result.
Tamara: It’s important to know client goals in order to help them get there. A lot of DBT is trying to figure out what their goals are and what skills they can learn and use to get to that goal.
Soraya: That we follow through on the things that they want. We have one client and he was very specific about what he wanted for his birthday. We followed through on what he wanted and the end result was perfect. We have another client who has had a specific goal to go into Seattle and see his favorite places. So even though it was during a pandemic, we arranged for it to happen in the most secure manner possible. Following through on things that the clients hold dear shows respect. And is so worth seeing the client enjoy and grow from the follow through.
Adriana: When going into clients’ homes, we always respect their homes and make them feel like it’s their place and we’re not just walking into their home and checking off boxes. Interacting, communicating and investing in the client and their home is such a huge form of respect.
Tamara: I have a client who likes to tell everybody, “She’s (Tamara) a nice lady and she makes me meatloaf!” I know that this client likes specific foods, so I want to help make those and enjoy it with them! Listening to the client in their wants, needs, and likes is so important for a growing relationship.
Crystal: Engaging with them and doing things that they want to do is important. I have a client that just went grocery shopping and she bought a Hamburger Helper box dinner and the she’s excited and is waiting for the next time that I go over so she and I can cook it together. It’s small things that so many people take for granted but mean the world to the people we work with and help. It made such an impact for her, and she wants me to experience it with her.