Featured Content

Employee Spotlight – Elizabeth Tornari

Interview conducted by: Brooke Davidson, Specialist

A dedicated and compassionate Specialist, Liz has thoughtfully served our clients with serious illness for over 5 years. Liz holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Rutgers University. Before joining Vital Decisions, she counseled cancer patients, and worked with nursing home residents and children in foster care. Liz navigated personal loss and was inspired to write a bereavement guide for fellow employees experiencing grief.


☀ What brings you to this work?

There is so much meaning in the work we do with helping those with serious illness think about and prepare for future medical decisions. I enjoy being a sounding board – helping people think out loud about their goals and values and how that can be incorporated into care they receive. This is not easy for people to think about or talk about so I enjoy helping clients get clear about their motivation to do the work. Personally, I have had four of my own family members pass while working here so I feel I really connect, on a deeper level, with clients. My work has changed how I talk to my own family and friends about Advance Care Planning.

☀ What sustains you on a personal level?

I practice self-care and self-awareness. It takes time. Professionally, I pride myself on staying very organized each day to prioritize who I need to reach. It has been important for me to always be open to learning. I am honest and open in communication with supervisors regarding my needs and challenges. These commitments have helped me be successful.

☀ What makes Vital Decisions different than other organizations you’ve been a part of?

First thing that comes to mind is all of the support from coworkers and management. I love everyone I work with. People are caring and passionate about the work. In addition, I appreciate the training offered at Vital Decisions- starting off with thorough training and routinely having refreshers. Finally, there is a good deal of flexibility offered and that is helpful when needed.

☀ What’s been your biggest accomplishment in your career? What do you hope to achieve moving forward?

So far, my biggest accomplishment has been achieving licensure as a social worker. Moving forward, I would love to continue being involved in the end of life care movement. I am hopeful to see what has evolved over time in the movement. I would love to see more research occur around managing loss in work place. I have passion and curiosity for professionals working in end of life who are personally dealing with loss.

Alexa Wichert, Specialist
Alexa Wichert, Specialist
“Liz is so passionate about our work and is one of the hardest workers I know. Listening to her on the phone is inspiring and I can always tell she truly feels for the person she is speaking with. Our clients are lucky to have her as a Specialist and I am lucky to work with her and learn from her”
“Liz’s passion for our work with clients has personal and professional meaning to her. This extends to her peers as she has developed an employee bereavement guide, which has provided support and guidance to her co-workers.”
Steve Gramiak, Supervisor
Steve Gramiak, Supervisor
 Tracy Brubaker, COO
Tracy Brubaker, COO
“Liz compassionately and thoughtfully cares for our clients. Liz has a wall full of handwritten notes and letters of gratitude from her clients – the highest form of acknowledgement of her work. She also cares for her fellow employees and has served as an Ambassador, welcoming and supporting new and current staff.”
“When I think of Liz, I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote, “Still, I Rise.” Liz’s strength and perseverance to become the best version of herself is so admirable.”
Irene Dougherty, Senior Specialist
Irene Dougherty, Senior Specialist
Markita Billups, VP, Clinical Operations
Markita Billups, VP, Clinical Operations
“Liz is a tremendous individual, colleague, and Specialist. She brings a deep passion in her work with clients and their families. She is extremely caring and she is driven to give back to our organization. This has been demonstrated over and over again through her roles as a mentor, culture ambassador, and through her passion project – the bereavement guide. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Liz and am honored to have the opportunity to acknowledge her.”