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Employee Spotlight- Kellyn Lopez

Interview by Stephanie Parmlee:

Kellyn is a clinical supervisor in our Living Well Program. She has been with Vital Decisions for 8 years and in that time has advanced into several new roles. Kellyn started her career at Vital Decisions directly delivering services as a Specialist and helped to test a new role in the organization focused on outreach. Several years ago, Kellyn was invited to join the clinical operations management team where she has served as a clinical supervisor and also helped to pilot a new role of intake coordinator.  Kellyn, a board certified art therapist, has a master’s degrees in art therapy. Prior to joining Vital Decisions, she worked for several years in the mental health field and worked with people seeking help with substance use disorders.

“I came to Vital Decisions looking for a new challenge, the opportunity
to expand my experience, and grow my clinical skills.” -Kellyn Lopez

☀  What values are most important to you when you think about your own career advancement and how has your cultural heritage shaped you for this work?

When I was a child, I grew up in Puerto Rico. My family lived in poverty. I was surrounded by very strong women who worked hard and valued education, eventually putting themselves through college in order to succeed. So these values were ingrained in me – you work hard, seek education, and you persevere. Failing is not an option. I also learned the value and priority of helping others. Not surprisingly, the majority of my family in Puerto Rico ended up with careers in the medical field.

My cultural experience allows me to see our clients through a lens of understanding and compassion, especially those with similar backgrounds. It’s common for families like mine to put the doctor on a pedestal, and have complete faith in their decisions.

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

I feel the culture at Vital Decisions is one of a kind. It far supersedes that of any other employer I have ever worked for. Both the all-around support from the company and the focused encouragement to identify, embrace, and nurture our clinical strengths is something that makes Vital Decisions unique. I’ve had great supervisors here at Vital Decisions who have pushed me out of my comfort zone in order to grow and become more confident as a clinician. And it’s not just the supervisors, it’s the whole team; I learn from them, we work together in achieving the same goal. The company values our opinions and weighs them when making changes.

☀ What about your work engages you the most?

My team. Having an amazing specialist team and supervisory team brings me to work every day. They push me to be my best and more, which has helped me to grow both personally and clinically. Also hearing client stories and the impact of the work that we do with them makes the work worthwhile.

☀ You’ve held a lot of different roles here, what’s helped you achieve this?

Having a strong leader to turn to and other strong supervisors that bring different talents to the table. Also being presented with new challenges and having the support to meet and resolve those challenges as well as the unique perspective that the specialists provide have all played a part in my growth over the years.

☀ What’s a lesson you feel like you’ve learned in working here?

To not take life for granted, appreciate every moment of everyday because nothing is promised and things can change very quickly. And make sure you are prepared. I had a pivotal experience when my father was on his death bed and I went to Puerto Rico to be with him and my family. Having worked at Vital Decisions for 4 years at this point, I came in and asked the doctors a million questions. I had a lot of eyes on me, because like I mentioned, you don’t question the doctors. It was eye opening to experience our work firsthand in this way.

Michael Naughton, Specialist
Michael Naughton, Specialist
Kellyn is always so helpful and responsive whenever I have a question. She is a very dedicated person. We are lucky to have her.
Kellyn is an amazing and kind-hearted person! She is really invested in her work and her team of Specialists. Kellyn has been with the organization for quite some time and worked in various roles over the years. Because of this she is quite knowledgeable and willing to take on new tasks – even if it is something she has not done before. I’ve really enjoyed working with her and look forward to her continued growth!
Erika Herits, Living Well Supervisor
Erika Herits, Living Well Supervisor
Jillian Brancatelli, Specialist
Jillian Brancatelli, Specialist
Kellyn is an exceptional supervisor who shows up for her team every day. This quote reminds me so much of her. “Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.” She has not only given me confidence in my role as a specialist but she has also made coming to work more enjoyable. She leads by example, showing us she understands, which is exactly what we as specialists then go and do on the phones. From the moment I became part of her team it was obvious that every team member valued her both professionally and personally. This is what makes her lead so easy to follow and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with her this year.
Kellyn is such a grounding force of understanding and practical wisdom. She brings an admirable and unique combination of project management skills, clinical attunement and artistic creativity to the work. She is also a calming presence – I always feel better after talking with her!
Pamela Edgar, Living Well Supervisor
Pamela Edgar, Living Well Supervisor
Andrew Joworski, Specialist
Andrew Joworski, Specialist
I’ve enjoyed working with Kellyn over the years; she manages in a way that makes you feel valued as an equal. She is the best.
Kellyn is a tremendous leader who balances the art of listening with empowering others to be their best. Simply put she is a joy to work with. She truly embraces every opportunity presented to her with high integrity, hope, and creativity. We are so very fortunate that she chooses to share her talent at Vital Decisions.
Tracy Brubaker, COO
Tracy Brubaker, COO