Title: Unit Director
Company: Boys & Girls Club at Connecticut Juvenile Training School
Town where you work: Middletown
Town where you live: Bloomfield
College: Springfield College and University of Hartford
What I do for fun: I like to play basketball, watch movies and travel.
Friends/Family that influence me: My mother set expectations early on failure isn't an option.
My Charity/Cause: Major advocate for the educational advancement of at-risk kids, by providing educational opportunities to change the socio-economics of disadvantaged children.
My Passion, Hobby or Special Talent: I am passionate about making a difference in my community and leaving a legacy for my kids to follow.
'Providing a working environment where constructive feedback amongst colleagues is promoted is healthy for a highly functioning team.'
I direct/manage overall daily operations of the Boys Club at Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) with the primary concern for programs and service delivery, supervision and training of staff, facilities management, community relations and membership administration. I work with DCF adjudicated youth, ages 12-20, who are committed by the court to serve their time at CJTS. During this process my staff will provide life skill programs and, in post release, employment and mentoring. I am tasked with managing the scope of service, my team, community relations and being a change agent.
My career path began at the University of Hartford working for LEAP, a non-profit geared towards achieving academic and social outcomes for children living in high poverty urban neighborhoods. I worked several years as a substance abuse counselor with Department of Correction inmates on parole in a halfway house. In 2006, I became the program director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford and within one-and-a-half years, I was promoted to the unit director of the Boys Club, a specialized re-entry program for adjudicated youth. In the process of managing the scope of service, leading and developing staff, I was inspired to further my education. I received my MBA, with a concentration in management.
The biggest challenge has been allowing others to grow by not doing it all. I always tried to be involved in all areas and functions of my program. After doing a 360 assessment with my staff, I realized I needed to trust and empower others to develop and make mistakes. Providing a working environment where constructive feedback amongst colleagues is promoted is healthy for having a highly functioning team. Learning when to take control and when to relinquish the wheel is vital for building healthy employee morale.
In 10 years I will be president and CEO of my own social media enterprise or working in an executive position with a socially responsible firm. In addition, I will be the co-founder of Girls for Technology Inc, a STEM and Leadership Program for girls 12-18.
One advice I received early on was to take control of your career, because no one will do it for you. Also, be humble in the process of achieving success.
I serve on the board for OPMAD, an after-school enrichment program. I work with kids playing basketball and I provide mentoring and life coaching advice. I am on the planning committee to revitalize the African-American Parade in the City of Hartford.