Employee of the Quarter
Melisa, Dec. 2015
This staff person sets the bar high with her customer service skills. She works closely with families who have extremely high expectations. Within just a few short months, she not only met those expectations, but exceeded them - her customers are thrilled! She developed a schedule that revolves around activities her clients are interested in, included all changes requested by family members, and incorporated special trips around the county. She is super flexible and is willing to help out with any group, whether in her area or not. She helped organize an art class for clients to make ornaments for our state Christmas tree, a project the clients’ truly enjoyed. She keeps her personal life just that – personal. You would never know if she has had a bad day outside of work, she has a smile for everyone she sees - no matter what!
Kiara, Sept. 2015
The definition of flexible, this employee is always willing to help out – even if it means driving many miles to support a client until 2 am at a new job! She demonstrates the CIS philosophy, is hard working, and stays positive in all situations. Her communication is stellar and everyone enjoys working with her. The clients come first in her mind, she goes above and beyond to support them. She assisted one man to secure a grant so he could go on his dream cruise and another to adopt a cat which provided him the motivation to stop smoking inside his apartment, a “win-win!”
Juan, June 2015
This long time employee has been with Community Interface for over a decade and uses his vast experience to successfully work in multiple programs. He is able to help his clients through difficult situations while maintaining a positive and calm demeanor. He is not usually found just sitting around – he excels at finding and facilitating opportunities for the clients to get into the community. He is reliable and trustworthy and is always willing to help others, by supporting a coworker who is working through a challenging situation with a client or including a client he doesn’t usually work with in a fun activity like going fishing. Competent, cooperative, and caring, this individual is an example for coworkers.
Lela, March 2015
This veteran staff member has shown great progress over the years and has become a shining example of what it means to provide quality service! Concern for the clients’ well-being drives everything she does. From the moment she begins working with the clients until the end of the day, this person goes above and beyond to ensure she provides experiences full of natural learning moments. She is always willing to lend an ear when a client is in need and her gentle and caring approach allows the people she supports to grow and learn. Additionally, the clients truly seem to enjoy their time with her - she plans fun trips and brings a smile to people’s faces wherever she goes. She even has an eye for safety having been caught once by her supervisor pointing out emergency exits and first aid kits while walking out of a worksite so the clients would know what to do in case of an emergency. While serious about her job, she also has a silly side and those around her are frequently laughing at her jokes. This person embodies the very meaning of altruism and it is evident in all she does!
Judy, December 2014
Sixteen years with Community Interface, and this staff person is still truckin’. She keeps the needs of the clients she works with first and it’s obvious that she cares about her job. She brings all that she has learned in her years of experience to work with her every day, and is willing to share that knowledge with others. She always makes valuable contributions at unit meetings and has made presentations on topics that are informative, and quite helpful to all in attendance. She is not only the full time staff person of one of the clients who lives in a pretty remote area of San Diego, but is also a regular ‘go to’ person all around the county – she can be found helping out in El Cajon, Rancho Penasquitos and Vista, often on very short notice. She is a valuable member of the CIS team!
Carmen, September 2014
If bringing a smile to your face were an Olympic sport – this staff person would most certainly get a gold medal as she role models her positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life to clients, customers, supervisors and coworkers alike … others cannot help but smile when she is around! Not only is she a pleasure to work with, she is seemingly pretty darn good at everything she tries around Community Interface. Having helped out in nearly every department, she is highly respected by her co-workers as a true team player. She consistently “rolls with the punches” and is the first one to jump in when someone needs help. She exemplifies the agency belief in “Client First” service delivery. Above all, she is genuinely concerned for and cares about all clients in a way that motivates her (and others) to deliver top quality services day in and day out, regardless of what obstacles she may encounter.
Sally, June 2014
In the year she has worked for CIS this staff person has accomplished a ton - exceeding her supervisor’s expectations. She is patient in the most difficult of situations and with clients who can be pretty aggressive. She has taken her positive behavioral intervention to heart and truly understands the mission and philosophies of Community Interface. She has received numerous compliments from co-workers, family members, clients, etc. She is always the ‘yes’ person when her supervisors call on her to help out and has been super flexible with her schedule, always open to changes. She individualizes her teaching strategies and supports each client in reaching their objectives and long term goals. She has great communication with supervisors and families, and always has a positive attitude. Overall, she is an outstanding example of a Resource Counselor!
Mark, June 2014
This long term staff member is often referred to by others as being 'such a nice guy!’, but it doesn't stop there ... he has also been noted as helpful, professional, polite and most importantly great at working with the client he serves! He never misses a beat when supporting that client and has proven his steadfast commitment even in the most difficult of times. He enjoys sharing stories about their adventures together and truly seems to love his job. He helps support and involve his client with creative activities in the community – fishing, going to the theater, swimming, movies, and even a cruise to Mexico! His help with site visits gives prospective employees a realistic view of services and supports. Always positive at unit meetings, he often brings fun resources for coworkers to share. He certainly is an example to others and an excellent staff person!
Nancy, March 2014
Three times is a charm. Yes, Nancy has been the EOQ winner not just once, not twice, but 3 times now, proving that she has always been at the top of her game. Even after being on this job for many years, this staff person stays motivated and in doing so, motivates others who see her in action with her clients. She calmly but confidently sets high expectations for herself and for her clients - and then as each person meets those expectations, she raises them, which challenges everyone to continually improve! She works well serving the needs of different clients. If she encounters someone with a negative attitude she lifts their spirits rather than letting the negativity bring her or others down. Nothing seems to bother her on a day to day basis and she gladly tries to keep things fresh for her clients. She sets the bar high in terms of work ethic and each of her worksites appreciates her and the crew. What a great role model she has been!
Norma, December 2013
The families of Norma’s clients say she’s the best! She is all about supporting her clients to have the active social life they want. She helps them plan weekly date nights, outings with their dog, trips to Catalina, dinner parties, and regular ‘get togethers’ with friends and family. She is very independent at planning and organizing these events and is always searching the community to find new and interesting places they might like to visit. She recently helped her clients and their families purchase a home together. She is extremely creative with helping her clients get exercise and cook creative, healthy meals, even when they don’t feel up to it! She has encouraged them to switch out that soda and candy for fruit and water! She takes initiative in all aspects of her work, gets the job done and does it all with a friendly attitude.
Nivine, September 2013
Talk about setting the bar - this employee sets it high in regard to professionalism! She maintains a great attitude at all times and is the very definition of “on top of it.” She works hard to ‘push’ the clients she serves toward their goal of maximum independence. With a firm and caring approach that embodies the Community Interface mission, she takes the initiative in all aspects of her work. She recently received rave reviews from a parent that couldn’t be happier with Community Interface’s services. She is truly a valued asset to Community Interface!
Sonya, June 2013
This staff person is always flexible and never says “no” to adding an extra client to her group or covering a group in a different part of the county. Her creative teaching style has really individualized her curriculum strategies. Her paperwork is always on time and very thorough. She takes initiative to communicate weekly updates to her supervisor to make sure everyone on the planning team is on the same page. She anticipates what her supervisor may need and has it ready or even turned in before she is asked for it. She has truly embraced site development and is actively looking for (and finding!) sites with her group. She has built a great rapport with clients, families, worksites and the community. She is very engaged in her work and never hesitates to go the extra mile for CIS. She does all of this with a positive frame of mind and a smile to prove it!
Trent, March 2013
This staff person is in demand! He is specifically asked for by clients and families. He puts the extra effort into all that he does and provides services that really meet the needs of those he serves. He works across several different programs and is especially savvy with clients who have a history of behavioral issues. Additionally, this staff person is a fabulous teammate to his coworkers having the exceptional ability to complement their techniques and personalities when confronted with a client who has challenging behaviors. He is dependable, on time, and has a positive attitude at all times!
Carmen, December 2012
Talk about an outstanding employee – this staff person brings a smile to the face of every person she encounters. She has a fun and bubbly personality, but is also very professional. She is engaged in her work and is often heard telling people how much she loves her job - that she couldn’t imagine working anywhere else! Community members, family members, and care providers recognize her hard work and enthusiastic personality. She is flexible and always willing to help out wherever she is needed. She really gets the philosophy, mission and team approach that Community Interface is all about. Without a doubt, this staff person deserves to be recognized.
Casey, September 2012
As someone who truly loves her job, this staff person is quick to promote Community Interface and jumped right into “Operation Replication” by referring folks to Community Interface within her first few months on the job! She puts 100% into her work, and is always looking for ways to improve. She puts a lot of creativity and effort into developing objectives and activity schedules with the person she supports. She has come up with new and meaningful activities like hosting dinner parties that provide a fun but supportive environment for socializing. She is also flexible and dependable, frequently offering to help out her coworkers. What a great addition to the team!
Maria, March 2012
For this staff member, who has been with the agency for over 4 years, consistency is the name of her game and that works for the folks she serves! Since taking over a group in Valley Center she has proven to be resourceful and creative in helping her clients achieve their objectives. She establishes firm boundaries and high expectations for her clients. Using this approach, she has been able to help one of her clients expand his ability to communicate when even the Service Coordinator was skeptical that it could be done. Another one of her clients is excited to have progressed under this staff member’s tutelage to reading simple books, when she started she could only read single words. This counselor is consistent in the way she approaches her work daily, in the way she interacts with her clients, in her attendance, monthly paperwork and ISP/SAR/PT meetings. And, she consistently performs this high level of work with a big smile on her face.
Rosio, December 2011
Talk about being flexible and willing to help out. This staff person never says ‘no’ when asked to work with a new consumer or even help out in a new program. She is willing to jump in wherever needed and does so happily. She has a positive and friendly attitude in all work settings, and it shows even in stressful situations. She provides excellent direct service, and has been successfully working with someone who has had a tough time with previous staff and other sites in the county. She presents very professionally and communicates well with clients, staff, families, and other care providers. She is an advocate for clients and truly follows the philosophy and mission of Community Interface Services.
Mary, September 2011
Flexible, innovative & responsive to change... describes this staff person to a T. When called with a request for help, she always responds quickly with a yes! Not only is she on board with last minute changes, but she picks up difficult shifts in other programs. She has been with the agency for many years and during this time she has embraced change and supports her co-workers through it. She knows the ropes around Community Interface and it shows. She is always on top of her game and keeps her supervisor in the loop with all information. She runs her group smoothly and strives to make the jobs of those around her go smoothly.
Lourdes, September 2011
Still fairly new to Community Interface but much deserving of recognition, this staff member might not be well known yet around the office; however, she is sure earning a name for herself with clients, family members, and service coordinators out in the field. She enjoys a challenge and has an impressive level of patience and ability to change her teaching style to match the needs of each consumer. When asked to help out, she has never said no, has driven all over the county and gone above and beyond on multiple occasions. In order to meet with the folks on her caseload, she has quite the flexible schedule, regularly working late into the evenings and on the weekends without blinking an eye.
Aaron, March 2011
A long timer at the agency, Aaron is on top of his game – he knows the people he works with very well & follows through on what needs to be done in a timely manner. His positive approach & actions are always noticed by his coworkers & supervisors & frequently recognized by people outside the agency. When a coworker asks for coverage for their vacation or a coordinator is looking for some extra help, he says yes with a smile, willing to help whenever needed.
Lora, December 2010
Exceptionally committed to her job & the people she serves, Lora goes above & beyond the basics of her position every day. She is consistent about providing quality service to her clients as well as steadfast support to her coworkers. She knows her job inside & out. The ability levels of people on her caseload vary & she does an outstanding job varying her supports to meet their individual needs & providing meaningful activities for all. She has built a great rapport with all of her clients, care providers & planning team members. She helps out with subbing needs & doesn’t blink an eye about where in the county she needs to go. For this year’s Angel Gala, she worked with her group & got multiple donations from local companies for the raffle. Her hard work & dedication are greatly appreciated!
Patrick H, September 2010
This seasoned staff member impresses people not only in his home department but also in the program where he regularly subs. He frequently saves the day in both programs by dropping his schedule and driving anywhere needed around North County, often times at the last minute. He provides whatever direct service is needed based on each person’s individual situation, and has done it all … from attending sporting events to providing personal care to assisting with wedding planning. He certainly has mastered the knack of switching hats, and is very much appreciated by all those he interacts with on a daily basis.
Myesha, June 2010
Myesha continues to “wow” her supervisors and gets regular compliments from her coworkers for helping them out. She continues to be happily willing to go wherever and whenever she is needed. She works all over the county...north, south, east and west often going right from one shift to another. She is ready to go at a moment’s notice whether it be at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m. She seeks information on each person she works with to make sure she understands their specific needs and provides them with top quality, terrific supports. Its not easy finding someone so willing, ready and able to help out.
Alex, March 2010
Alex has shown the utmost dedication over the past several years. He is flexible and reliable covering work in more than one program. His steadfast work ethic could easily go unnoticed as he quietly goes about his work days but his efforts are deserving of recognition. He has been observed in many situations, and always has a smile on his face and a kind word to share. He is well-liked by those he supports, and is always willing to help out.
Bridget, September 2009
Bridget is in demand; requests for her come in left and right from service coordinators while clients and families just rave about her. She seems to be able to do it all, and approaches everything with a great sense of humor and strong determination. She has become quite savvy in her two year tenure with Community Interface, especially in regard to helping people get the support they deserve. She recently advocated for a consumer to get food stamps, worked countless hours with someone else to trace her Native American roots resulting in increased benefits, and is in the final steps of working through a $17,000 Social Security overpayment with another person. She has provided supports in vocational and community living services, even landing one person a job…in a remote area of the county…in these economic times!
Mary, December 2008
Consistency is the name of Mary’s game! Mary does a good job in all areas of her position. She knows her group inside and out, has an excellent rapport with all family members and service coordinators, and is even tempered no matter the circumstances. She is reliable and has great attendance but when she does need time off she is quick to make all of the arrangements so that her time away is seamless. Her supervisors and coordinators truly appreciate that they know what to expect in this staff person and have faith that the folks in her group always receive top notch services!
Pauline, September 2008
Known for her ability to calmly work with a consumer who has challenging behaviors, Pauline has provided top notch support for years. No matter how difficult the situation, she stays positive in her approach. She has managed to build a great rapport with all team members and puts in extra hours to make sure that new staff are well trained. Pauline knows her roommate so well that she is prepared to handle the behaviors almost before they occur. She has a bag full of tricks to choose from and willingly shares her tips with others to ensure consistent support is available. She continuously challenges her roommate and works through the rough spots with her. To top it off, she excels in doing her paperwork and her documentation always clearly details consumer needs and progress. Pauline is a role model for others!
Gerianne, December 2007
After injuring her knee in the 6th grade, Gerianne “Geri” Wuillmier found herself reassigned to an adaptive physical education class. The majority of the students in her new class had autism. What seemed a hapless accident at the time turned out to be quite a fortuitous event in young Geri’s life; she had found her life’s passion. Geri began working as a volunteer assistant for her fellow students, and from there a decades-long career, defined by compassion and dedication, was launched.
Almost 15 years ago, Geri joined the Community Interface Services team and quickly proved herself to be an invaluable asset. As a roommate in the Supported Living (SL) Program, she served Floretta for eight years, and Lisa for six years and counting. For Geri, the roommate position is actually a family affair, as her 14 year old son, Ryan, has grown up with two SL roommates. The roommate position made it possible for Geri to be at home with her son, while inspiring a sense of dedication and advocacy in Ryan. With her full schedule, Geri still finds time to support other Community Interface clients by substituting in the day program and organizing social events for clients.
Geri says what drives her life’s work and advocacy is the satisfaction she finds in each consumer’s personal success and accomplishments, especially when they have the opportunity to shine, showing off their abilities and potential. The Community Interface Services family proudly recognizes Geri’s expertise and steadfast dedication to the agency and the clients she serves.
Sylvie, September 2007
Before joining Community Interface Services, Sylvie Rocca was already an experienced caregiver. That experience, coupled with her very nature to care for others, continues to radiate from Sylvie in extraordinary ways. During her first three years with Community Interface Services, Sylvie served as a vocational resource counselor in the Community Integration Training program. More recently she transferred to work in Independent Living. There, her dedication is made visible by the improved quality of the lives of her clients, such as the gentlemen who now has In-Home Supportive Services as a result of Sylvie’s determination to help him live a better life.
Sylvie’s ability to balance the needs of the people she serves, while incorporating the needs of their families and Regional Center, is a skill to be admired and emulated. Sylvie credits the love of her job to her clients: “They inspire me to go to work everyday. Serving them makes me thankful to be who I am.” Because of her positive attitude, and her willingness to be a flexible team player, Sylvie’s co-workers and clients trust her. She is a valued and honored member of the Community Interface family.
Adorna, June 2007
Adorna Trax, Community Interface Services’ most recent employee of the quarter, joined the agency more than three years ago as a Job Coach in the Supported Employment program. She spends her days (and sometimes evenings and weekends!) at places like Von’s, Albertson’s, Ross Dress for Less, Kohl’s, and WalMart helping adults with developmental disabilities become independent on the job. Adorna’s dedication and enthusiasm are exemplary, and she is always a great help to her clients. She genuinely respects her clients’ rights and choices, she advocates for them at every opportunity, and she encourages them to be all they can be. Currently, Adorna is helping someone start automotive repair classes to pursue a new career, and another individual to modify his behavior by controlling his anger and frustration. Adorna is always willing to help out in other agency programs, too, and she shows us how to remain positive and upbeat, even when things are getting a little crazy!
Norma, March 2007
Wow, talk about dedication! Norma Pena has worked as a roommate in the Supported Living program for just over 11 years. She has lived with several different clients over the years, sometimes long-term and sometimes temporary arrangements to help people get through emergencies. Whatever needed to be done, Norma has packed her bags and gone to help. She has always put the needs of her clients first. Just recently, she cancelled her own family’s holiday plans to support a couple of clients who would have had no one to spend the holidays with. Helping people with disabilities is not just a job for Norma; she is committed to her clients like they were her own family members, and she has even recruited her own family members into the agency!
Rey, May 2007
Since he joined Community Interface Services about two and a half years ago as a vocational resource counselor, Rey Lunario has demonstrated the kind of work ethic and compassion that have made him a great addition to the team. With experience in the Army as a medical specialist, Rey has an ability to take it all in stride, always remaining easy-going and polite. He learned his job quickly, and helps his clients work all over North County, including Escondido, Vista, and Fallbrook. Rey is very independent, organized, and dependable, and is always timely and thorough with his paperwork. He always has a great, energetic attitude, and is well-liked by his clients, family members, and co-workers.
Nancy, March 2006
Nancy joined the agency almost 12 years ago with a degree in social work and experience working in senior facilities, and she has shown incredible commitment and dedication to her service recipients over the years. Despite our many attempts to promote her, we can’t seem to drag her away from direct service. She continues to work tirelessly and effortlessly as a Resource Counselor in the Community Integration Training program, helping persons with developmental disabilities to learn basic job skills and become more independent in the community. She is an exemplary role model for applicants and new employees alike. Nancy has a natural, warm personality that comes across in all of her interactions. She never fails to make everyone’s day just a little better. She has a positive attitude and lots of energy, always finding new resources and connections in the community for her group. In fact, she recently helped a couple of her service recipients pursue their passion for aviation by helping arrange free airplane rides with local pilots. A parent of a service recipient that Nancy works with says she is “one in a million” and we can’t argue. Nancy is a true inspiration to us all.
Aaron, December 2005
Aaron started with Community Interface Services as an Independent Living Resource Counselor about a year and a half ago. Although he did not have a lot of direct experience in the field, he brought a unique combination of skills and enthusiasm that made him well-qualified. (It also didn’t hurt that he came with the unfailing support of a long term and valued Independent Living counselor who staked her reputation on his future success!) Aaron did not disappoint her or us. He hit the ground running, quickly learned the job, and has proven himself a great addition to the agency. He is very flexible, and works on weekends, evenings, or whenever his service recipients are available. Aaron has a positive, upbeat attitude that really helps to boost coworkers’ morale. Laughter can usually be heard coming from staff meetings when he is in attendance. Since he started with us, Aaron has also become a new parent. He now works with a lot of service recipients who have difficult parenting issues, and with his own experiences to guide him, he is great at helping these fellow parents find and access valuable resources. Aaron has developed a great rapport with all his service recipients, families, and service coordinators. A parent of a service recipient that Aaron works with recently informed Aaron’s supervisor that “He’s a keeper!” He seems to have found his niche, and we are sure glad to have him!
Pauline, September 2005
Pauline was hired about a year and a half ago as a live-in support person, or “paid roommate.” Pauline came to us with a graduate degree in psychology and some very diverse life experiences that made her especially well-suited for the job. And this was no easy job. Pauline threw herself into her new position with determination and a can-do attitude. Pauline has been a rock of stability and professionalism for her roommate and family through some very difficult times. Despite the stress and difficulty, Pauline never gave up. She remained focused on finding positive solutions and kept the team in constant communication. Pauline worked with the service recipient, the service recipient’s parents, Regional Center, and doctors to develop and refine plans to minimize negative behaviors and maximize productive ones. All the while, Pauline educated herself on various medications and side effects and continued to establish a rapport with her roommate. Pauline has stayed the course and developed a very positive and effective relationship with her roommate. Pauline has always been open to trying anything to help her roommate have a better quality of life, and her dedication and hard work have really paid off.
Iliana, December 2004
Iliana Keenan came to Community Interface Services about two years ago, starting out as a vocational resource counselor and transferring after a year to independent living. She has a BA in psychology and previously worked as a job coach. Iliana is very dedicated, working long hours including a lot of overtime, subbing for co-workers, and basically doing whatever needs to be done to cover cases. Her communication with clients, family members, and service coordinators is top-notch, and she manages to stay on top of her paperwork and quickly adapt to any changes, all while keeping a positive attitude.
Norma, March 2004
Norma joined Community Interface Services seven years ago as a live-in staff person to provide support and companionship for one individual in the Supported Living program. Talk about taking your work home with you! Norma’s roommate job was always far more than just a job for her; it’s a whole lifestyle. As a roommate, Norma has shared a home and a life with a consumer; she has offered support, advice, friendship, care and companionship to help an individual live safely, productively, and happily in the community.
Not only has Norma provided wonderful long-term in-home support for individuals, but she has also always been ready to help out as a substitute vocational counselor or serve as a relief worker for another roommate. Since last year, Norma has taken a break from her live-in work, but continues to be an integral part of the Community Interface staff, helping out in emergencies and working a myriad of temporary assignments. Whatever the challenge, Norma is always up for it and finds a way to make things work!
Valerie, June 2004
If you’ve called or visited the Community Interface Services office recently, you’ve no doubt had the pleasure of getting to know Val who is Director of First Impressions and Administrative Assistant in charge of the front office. Val joined Community Interface in March 2004 and proved herself a great asset in her first few months on board. Val’s vibrant and radiant personality lights up the office whenever she’s there, and she somehow always seems to be in a good mood! Val’s positive attitude and friendly demeanor serve her very well in her job, as she spends all day interacting with others. She had big shoes to fill in her position, but she stepped right in and quickly and efficiently learned a difficult job. Val works hard and looks for new work to do and better ways to do things and keeps everyone smiling! She is greatly appreciated.