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The Phoenix Residence Outstanding Leadership Award Nominee - Shawna Zechmeister

Shawna Zechmeister, Program Coordinator, was nominated for The Phoenix Residence Outstanding Leadership Award.

Shawna exemplifies what it means to be a leader, manager and support system.  Shawna sees all the individuals she serves as such- individuals.  Shawna goes above and beyond to not only to  hear individuals concerns, requests or needs, but does everything she can to make it happen.  And, if she can’t, she tries alternative options.  Shawna opened Lydia House and when the residents did not like the menus, Shawna advocated for change.  She incorporated the same philosophy when she assumed the management at Suburban. Shawna is always there for  her residents, not only as a “Coordinator”, but as a friend.  She developed strong relationships and repertoires’ with family members and all members involved with the individual’s lives. If something isn’t right, Shawna never hesitates to reach out.

The individuals at Lydia have thrived and have overcome some huge obstacles, I feel, due to Shawna’s diligence; Family visits, deaths of loved ones, deaths of pets, outings, relationship issues, behavioral challenges, health issues, the list goes on. 

She has also put into place an inventory system within her home when she had concerns about spending and possible over usage of supplies.  To also work smarter, Shawna has utilized her Direct Support Staff hours more effectively.  She has crossed trained many staff between the three homes and has also collaborated efforts in transportation and appointments.  Shawna has also championed more family support and involvement.  This may not help with the workload per se, but has enhanced some of the resident’s lives immensely.  If a family visit isn’t able to occur outside the home, Shawna has made sure that all family members feel welcome at all times within our PRI homes. 

Shawna, herself, is what displays “exceptional customer service”.  The majority of the time, Shawna doesn’t need to be asked to help out or complete a task; she usually is the first one to volunteer.  She does not do it for the recognition, but purely because she wants to.  She is a strong support to ALL people she serves, works with and works for.  She doesn’t complain, she just gets the job done.  She listens, acts and follows up.  You never need to ask Shawna more than once.  If she says that she is going to do something- she does it.  That’s what customer service is all about.  In that regard, she not only exemplifies customary service, but also shows herself to be a strong role model.