As part of our continuing series highlighting our staff, this week we talked to Jennifer Shaffer, our Administrative Director. Although her days are very different than our Direct Support Professionals, Jennifer is deeply involved with our client population and their families.
“I love the clients and getting the chance to meet with them and their families.”
Jennifer came to HCBS as a Direct Support staff in 2013, when the company was four years old. She has a degree in English from West
Chester University with a background in writing and had been working as the office manager for a family physician. Although she didn’t have an educational background in the field, having a family member with special needs as well as a close friend who worked for HCBS Provider convinced her it was the right career path. In fact, like herself, Jennifer says a lot of their staff members have come through referrals from other staff members.
“We have staff that are referring their friends and friends of friends to us because they know that that person is in that line of work and that they think highly of us.”
After a family issue in 2015 forced her to consider pulling back from her Direct Support position, Jennifer was asked if she wanted to join the admin team to give her more flexibility.
“It grew organically because [I’d] worked in an office… so it just it worked out really well and my role grew and grew to the point that it is now.”
Although she hadn’t been looking for the change, Jennifer is very happy it worked out the way that it did.
“I enjoy it. It’s a fun job, it’s a fun environment. I have great teammates. The rest of the admin team is wonderful – a close knit group.”
Jennifer says things changed a bit when COVID hit.
“I’m not getting out there as much as I used to…during COVID our admin team started doing daily zoom meetings every single day at 4:00 o’clock. We’ve gotten away from that within the last few months but we’re still meeting weekly. We talk all the time.”
In addition to her other duties, which include budgeting and incident management, Jennifer trains all new staff who come on board. She has trained a total of 217 of our staff members since taking on this responsibility in 2016.
“I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to meet our staff one-on-one. I’m their point of contact whenever they have questions.”
We asked Jennifer what she thinks is the key to having a good team. She points to the low turnover rate.
“We probably have at least 30 of the original staff that came on board during the first few years of the company. We have about 120 staff now.”
She says that the admin team doesn’t spare praise for the direct care staff.
“I’m always amazed when I’m talking to the staff…just how devoted they are to their clients. Very, very professional…We really have a phenomenal group of people.”
Are you thinking about a career change that will provide you with lots of flextime and the opportunity to work with a great team? Check out our current job opportunities!