House Manager Faye Fahnestock demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills when she stepped into not one, but two, difficult situations at the UCP community home where she worked. One was the sudden and unexpected death of the doting mother of Carol, a resident with intellectual disabilities. Second was the concurrent transition in management of the home. Without the slightest hesitation, Faye demonstrated the UCP core principle of "Inspiring Leadership" at its finest.
Carol had a history of behaviors that were primarily triggered by change. Faye intuitively understood that these two life-changing events could quickly result in significant setbacks for Carol, both emotionally and behaviorally. At the time, Faye was a part-time PRN in the home. Still she responded to the need, stepped up to the plate, and offered to take on the role of House Manager in order to stabilize the situation.
Through sheer persistence, and with Carol’s best interests uppermost in her mind, Faye was able to overcome whatever roadblocks she encountered, including a residential structure that was new to and outside the norm for UCP. Faye was intent on making sure Carol could remain in her home and remain involved in community activities that were meaningful to her.
Faye sacrificed the needs of her own family on her own time to pull together all of the supports and resources required to achieve the goal of “life without limits” for Carol. Faye brought together a team of players (including case manager, family members, psychiatrist, medical doctors, and caring volunteers) whose sole purpose was to support and encourage Carol’s continued success. One of the volunteers was a young man Faye arranged to have come into the home to play guitar once a week, because she saw that Carol found his music to be calming.
Faye’s ability to anticipate Carol’s needs, creatively think through scenarios and solutions, and proactively coordinate a variety of services resulted in Carol experiencing no change in behaviors whatsoever.
That, my friends, is a testament to inspired (and inspiring) leadership.
Congratulations Faye! You are a true inspiration!
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