Appreciating Our Managers

Today is all about thanking our Program Managers from our Clinton and Furness homes and our Assistant Program Directors from the northwest group.

As we near the end of the week, we’ll spend today thanking several of our program managers and another long-term Assistant Program Director. Today, we’ll start with Program Manager Tanazia Morehead from Clinton House!

Tanazia Morehead - Clinton House

Tanazia is definitely someone you want on your team! Tanazia joined Phoenix as a Direct Support Professional at Clinton House in 2017. She was doing  such a great job, we promoted her to Program Manager in 2020—and she’s been the perfect person to lead Clinton House!

One of her most attractive qualities is her calm demeanor. Whenever a crisis arises or something doesn’t go as planned, she takes it in stride and does whatever she can to make sure everything is taken care of. She doesn’t ask for help often, but when she does, she’s dedicated to solving the problem! If you need help, she’s always quick to respond and happy to help!

This is exactly why she’s a great trainer for new staff at the house! You’ll often see her training new staff in on medication observations, like she’s pictured here with Deb who lives at Clinton House. Tanazia and Deb also love watching movies together on Disney+ and chatting about the day with Deb’s speech device.

Thank you, Tanazia, making those little moments count with everyone at Clinton House!

Shirlena Wilson - Furness House

Although Shirlena is still fairly new to the manager team at Phoenix, she’s certainly settling in and making her mark! Shirlena joined Phoenix as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at Furness House in 2018. After several years as a DSP, she started taking on more management tasks about a year ago, with the help of Program Manager Lisa Plaster from Ludden House. For a while, the two co-managed Furness House, until Shirlena felt comfortable taking it over on her own.

And she’s doing a remarkable job so far! From the beginning of her Phoenix days, she has always outdone herself—never calling in late, working double shifts, and always staying after her scheduled shift when needed. There have been many times, she’s helped train 3-4 new staff members at the same time and stayed overtime to do so! Not only that, but Shirlena graciously volunteered to quarantine with an individual we support, should we have a positive COVID case in the home.

Additionally, she is consistently being nominated for her work, both internally and externally. Many times, she has been nominated for Manager of the Month, and last year, she was nominated for an award with our trade association. You can clearly see why!

And we can’t forget to mention the happiness she brings to Furness House! She is so fun to be around and she has the best sense of humor! Always cracking jokes!

And she loves including the gals from Furness House in on the fun! Take, for example, Teresa, who lives at Furness House. They both love listening to music. They jam out to everything—Teresa’s favorite artist is Shania Twain, while Shirlena loves listening to everything. “Every day while we listen to music, Teresa smiles and moves her head to the beat,” said Shirlena. “She also loves going for walks and going to the park.”

Thank you, Shirlena, for all you do and for making Furness House a fun place to live!

Shawna Zechmeister - Assistant Program Director

Happy Manager Appreciation Week! Now, we’d like to take the time to thank another one of our long-term Assistant Program Directors Shawna  Zechmeister, who oversees our Janet, Ludden, Viking, and Western homes.

Shawna certainly knows a thing or two about what it’s like to work in this field! She joined us right out of high school in 1995. After working direct care at the main building for five years, Shawna helped open our Lydia home and ran that program for 10 years, while simultaneously managing our Suburban and Howard homes at the same time. Several years later, she became Program Manager of Ludden House, working in that position for about a year before transitioning to Assistant Program Director in 2019.

Shawna is excellent at what she does. She knows what she’s doing, and it really shows! Everyone goes to her for advice and expertise. More than likely, she’ll know the answer—but if she doesn’t, she will find out for you!

Not only that, but she has built amazing relationships and takes very good care of everyone she supports. Take for example, her connection with Bill who lives at Ludden House. About a year ago, Bill moved into Ludden House and Shawna made him feel right at home! He fits gets along great with the everyone at the home and is really enjoying life right now!

This past spring, she helped him and his roommates start eating healthier and living a better lifestyle—and Bill is embracing the challenge with excitement! “I am so glad to be losing some weight,” said Bill. “I love Ludden and this healthy living challenge we have here.” And Shawna has been there every step of the way in his healthy living journey. Bill has already lost weight and looks forward to keeping that up!

Another one of Shawna’s favorite memories with him was the birthday party they hosted for him last year at Ludden House, as pictured here.

Thank you, Shawna, for helping the individuals reach their goals and have a good time doing it!

Thank you to you all for helping lead our direct care staff!