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Employee Spotlight – Kiliko ‘Kay’ Jones

Kiliko, who also goes by ‘Kay,’ joined Vital Decisions in 2018. In just two years she has achieved Senior Specialist title; a nod to the expertise and advanced clinical skill she has demonstrated delivering  services to individuals facing serious illness. A graduate of New York University, Kiliko has a graduate degree in Counseling for Mental Health & Wellness and is licensed as a Mental Health Counselor. Prior to joining Vital Decisions, Kiliko worked as an individual, family, and group therapist in multiple clinical settings including homebased and outpatient care.

☀ What brings you to work every day?

My work focuses on supporting people with serious illness and helping them prepare for future medical decisions. There’s a lot to think through and navigate. These conversations can be very scary for  some people. Some are facing life and death decisions, others may be earlier in their illness.   I always think about the positive impact the work has for the person I’m helping. I feel good that I am also helping the entire family or support system. I have the opportunity to support people as they think through decisions they may face and put plans in place to that ensure their wishes are honored and reflected in their medical care.

☀ What brought you to Vital Decisions?

I joined Vital Decisions because I was looking to advance and grow my clinical skills and do work in the area of palliative care. Also I was looking for a clinical role that allowed me to experience a balance in my work and personal life. I liked how HR was very transparent about the job and benefits during the interview process.  I really liked the focus on work life balance.  I had previously worked in jobs in other organizations where transparency was lacking and supports were minimal.

☀ What keeps you working at Vital Decisions?

At Vital Decisions, I am able to have balance in my work and personal life and that is most important. When I worked at other organizations, there was not enough support and increasing demands and it led to me feeling burned out even though I felt I was doing good work. At Vital Decisions, I like that I am checked in on and asked how I can be supported. It makes me feel valued as an employee. I appreciate that I can reach out to my supervisor or other colleagues for support.

☀ What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of in Your Career?

My biggest accomplishment has been achieving my counseling license.  I graduated in 2010 right into the recession and it was very difficult to get a job fresh out of graduate school with no experience. There was a time where I didn’t think I would become a therapist. I was feeling hopeless about the situation and thinking about going back to school to study something else.  It wasn’t until my second job, I finally felt someone took a chance on me. It was because of my supervisor who helped me go outside my comfort zone and grow so much. Because it was such a hard journey to get my license, it was very meaningful and changed everything.  I finally was able to do what I wanted to do my whole life.

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

I have been humbled. To be thankful for my health and supports I have in life.  Not to take things for granted like getting up from the chair without struggling, being able to cook my own food, drive, or go take a walk. It puts things into perspective and to not worry about things that are trivial.  You realize that anything can change tomorrow.

Natalie Menendez, Specialist
Natalie Menendez, Specialist
“It’s a pleasure to work with Kiliko in team meetings- she brings a peaceful element to our group dynamic. While Kiliko might present as being reserved, she puts a great deal of thought and consideration into her feedback, which is always so meaningful. I have a deep respect for Kiliko’s integrity and respect her accomplishments this year as she’s become a senior specialist.”
“Kiliko is a gift to Vital Decisions. Her strong work ethic, commitment to clinical growth, and detail-oriented style have made her a gift on special projects and to those she serves and has led to her recent Advance Care Planning (ACP) Certification. Kiliko has a calming presence with clients, and is able to guide them through deep ACP conversations with great empathy and understanding. I am inspired by the ways she challenges herself to go out of her comfort zone, both for her own growth, and in order to support others.”
Pamela Edgar, Living Well Supervisor
Pamela Edgar, Living Well Supervisor
Alyssa Galletto Living Well Supervisor
Alyssa Galletto Living Well Supervisor
Since meeting and getting a chance to work with Kiliko, I have consistently been impressed by her. She is poised, professional, and extremely self-reflective. It has been wonderful watching Kiliko continue to grow in her specialist role and do some amazing work with our clients!
Kellyn Lopez, Living Well Supervisor
Kellyn Lopez, Living Well Supervisor
Kay is such a pleasure to work with. She is kind, compassionate, and extremely dedicated to our clients. Her attention to detail on what’s most important to clients is a true representation of the work that we do
Ruth Ena Ackerman-Offer, Specialist
Ruth Ena Ackerman-Offer, Specialist
It’s been a privilege to get to know Kay as a coworker and also a friend. She is one of the most thoughtful and supportive people I know. Both professionally and as a friend, she has a way of validating every feeling you have and never letting you feel judged. I admire and respect her professionalism and her desire to continually learn and grow.