My career began in 1973 after receiving my Master of Arts degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I was hired as the first female Associate on the Inpatient Unit of the Mental Health Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee, promoted to Unit Manager and eventually moved to the position of County Manager of the satellite office in Winchester, responsible for all mental health operations and administration within the county.
In July of 1983, I was hired as a counselor with the Concern: Employee Assistance Program of Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, Tennessee, working my way up to Manager and acquiring the position of Director of Health Promotion. During my tenure, I was privileged to be appointed to a team to be the first service organization in the country to implement a system of Quality Control into its operational structure.
With a desire to experience the West, I moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1987 to begin work as the Assistant Director of the Employee Assistance Program with Southeast Counseling Service. We provided services to the trona mines, which is the largest trona patch of ore in the world, and anywhere from 300 to 1200 feet down in the mines, provided services to the employees. I also became the Rehabilitation Therapy Coordinator and my career finished there with promotion to Director of the Adult Day Treatment Program and member of the Administrative Management Team.
I was offered a position of Clinical Supervisor of eight Master's level clinicians and four PhD candidates, which I accepted and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1993 as an employee of Southeast Counseling Service (now Peak Wellness). I then became the Supported Employment Program Coordinator and implemented a novel employment model serving individuals with severe mental illness diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and major depressive disorder. Relationships were rectified successfully with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to further assist in the successful employment of these individuals.
My path then took me to Sheridan, Wyoming in 1999, when I became the Coordinator of the Supported Independence Program of Northern Wyoming Mental Health Center, with duties also including representation on the Middle Management Team, being CARF chairperson to oversee our accreditation and coordinate Psychiatric Services for the Center and Program. In 2006, I was promoted to Quality Assurance Coordinator and responsible for Northern's successful accreditation in all four counties, in addition to training and participation in Middle Management meetings, and assistance to the Executive Director in the design of State mandated Regional Clinical Services for Northeast Wyoming. In 2009, Clinical Director duties were added to the position, and in a somewhat complex time, I also served as Interim Director. Within 4 months, the Board of Directors appointed me as Executive Director, which I proudly served until January of 2016.
I retired in January and upon not quite feeling “done”, I became a counselor with Volunteers of America in Sheridan in February of 2016. The organization had 2 Substance Abuse Residential Treatment Centers, male and female, and it was a refreshing change of pace to return to the world of counseling – tough work, but worth it. I finally retired a year and a half later, and after visits to friends in Georgia over many years, I decided to shake up my life, leave Wyoming and move to Georgia. So here I am!