The Extraordinary Staff Among Us

Let's give a hand for all the managers, support staff, and nursing team who were nominated! 

Managers Nominated:

Kim Guderjan - Chaparral House (2 nominations)

#1: "She goes out of her way to provide the needs of everyone including the clients. If a staff is having issues and cannot come to work, she provides reserve to back up that staff's shift, making sure the clients' needs are met. She assures clients when she is at Chaparral that they are well taken care of, and they are loved. That they are not just clients but our family at Chaparral. She puts her all into her work and is a good listener when you want someone to vent to about your issues without judging. The clients' families respect and appreciate her as well for the care she gives their loved ones."

#2: "Kim Guderjan as Program Manager of the year. Kim goes above and beyond in everything she does. Kim has come in when staff does not make it. She makes sure the house runs smoothly. Kim's clients at Chaparral thinks she is the best, amazing and generous. Kim goes out of her way to make sure they have great birthday and holiday parties. Kim is a great boss and deserves to have this award."

Shelley Peltier - English House (2 nominations)

#1: "In a field where compassion and tireless commitment are essential, Shelley goes above and beyond in demonstrating it every day. There are countless examples of Shelley showcasing leadership and a deep sense of responsibility to the people she cares for. This fall, when nursing was unable to obtain seasonal shots for the English House residents, she took all of them to Walgreens on her own to ensure they received the care they deserve. She doesn't just manage; she fosters an environment where people feel valued, comfortable, and at home. Shelley engages with the families of her residents with empathy and understanding. Her ability to navigate the difficult circumstances that arise in this industry with compassion while maintaining the highest standard of care is deserving of praise. Her actions have made her universally loved and appreciated by both the residents and families of English House. Not only does Shelley keep her own house in order, she also extends her support to other houses when needed. Her support elsewhere showcases her selflessness and dedication to the greater good of our community."

#2: "I’d like to nominate Shelley Peltier for Manager of the Year. Shelley is amazing and always goes beyond her manager duties. She is excellent at communicating not only with her staff, but family members and the leadership team as well. If you reach out to her with a question, she always gets back to you right away. And if she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it out for you.

For many years, she’s helped Ted fundraise to go to Camp Courage, a camp for individuals with disabilities. This camp gives him the chance to experience life and partake in everyday activities we may take for granted, like swimming, fishing, riding a motorcycle, and zip-lining. So, for Ted who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, this is a dream come true! It’s such a sweet moment to hear how excited he gets before he goes to camp – she’s literally making his dreams come true!

There are very few managers that take initiative like that. I appreciate everything she does for Phoenix! We are so lucky to have her! Thank you for all you do, Shelley!"

You can read all of Shelley's nominations here.

Patty Caughron - Drexel Court

"I’d like to nominate Patty Caughron for Manager of the Year. Patty has only been here since May, but she has certainly made an impression! Right from the beginning, Patty has stepped up and been a fantastic manager for Drexel House.

Although she was new, that didn’t deter her from getting her hands dirty. From the very beginning, she’s been very hands-on with the individuals at Drexel House, and she communicates so well with everyone in the company. Most of the time, she is the first to respond to manager requests and you never have to remind her about anything. She is always on top of her duties!

She sincerely wants us to do well, and she’ll do everything she can to make that happen. I specifically remember, within two months of starting, she volunteered to raise money for her house for our Made in the Shade 5K walk—even reaching out to her own friends and family to raise money for Phoenix! She’s always bringing the individuals on community outings, especially Phoenix-wide events, like our Made in the Shade 5K walk, Bingo Night, and Holiday Party.

More recently, Patty has navigated the complexities of helping one of the individuals in the home have a g-tube placed. Unfortunately, there have been so many complications along the way. While most people wouldn’t have the bandwidth to continue after 4 or 5 times, Patty is more determined than ever to help him figure out the right one – advocating for him every step of the way.

I am so impressed with her willingness to jump right in and offer new solutions from her past experiences. Patty is already off to a great start, and we are so glad to have her here at Phoenix! Thank you for all you do, Patty!"

Nakia Hammond - Newport House

"Nakia Hammond is wonderful to be around and always helpful with any questions from staff or guardians. Nakia is person centered with the residents that live within the house. Nakia is always on top of everything making sure the residents have personal items or anything that they need or what staff need for the house. Nakia is very welcoming to any new staff members that walk in the front door, helping new staff members not be nervous. Nakia takes care of a lot in the house and is always willing to cover a shift if a staff member needs off. She is very professional and great with her communication skills."

Zockinna Bell - Douglas House

"Zockinna Bell should be the manager of the year. She is very good at communicating, helping us when needed. She does a great job with the residents."

Others Nominated (no write-up):

Mat Beconovich - Howard House


Support Staff & Nursing Team Nominated

Sarah Hansen - Human Resources 

"I’d like to nominate Sarah Hansen for Employee of the Year. I have had the opportunity to work with Sarah closely as our team on-boards and provides new employee training for new staff. In this process, Sarah is always responsive, communicative, and helpful in this process. She is well organized, and we are always on the same page and have a plan we can work with whenever new employee orientation day comes around. If issues arise, she problem solves them quickly and sometimes on the spot. She communicates any changes that come up (and they are frequently) as quickly as she can and does as much as she can to make things work. 

Sarah’s focus on the bottom line, her efficiency and understanding of the different systems at Phoenix have been instrumental in the fact that we have cut our open hours in half in the time I have been working at Phoenix.  Sarah is the sort of person that you can say any employee’s name, and she will know which house they work at and what shift. It’s magical honestly! Sarah is always prompt in her responses and regularly helps others in better understanding the mechanics and systems behind hiring and scheduling. 

Sarah is also incredibly gifted at keeping her cool in uncomfortable or challenging situations. She never sounds frazzled and keeps an even head, even in a stressful room. She responds gently and professionally to communication and regularly amazes me with how kind her voice and demeanor are, even when she is not being treated as such herself. Sarah’s general disposition is approachable and calming, which is invaluable on stressful days.

I could go on and on about how instrumental Sarah is to the progress that Phoenix has made due to her influence. I just hope that she understands how much value she adds to our work, even on the frustrating days when things go wrong. I appreciate Sarah so much and feel that she deserves to be recognized with this award."

Nichole Usuku - Nursing Team

"She is a great nurse, understanding and helpful. She answers anytime we call, even if she isn't on-call. She comes to the houses, checks on the residents, making sure everyone is doing well."

Congratulations to all of our nominees! You are our heroes!