Team Member Spotlight: Kelly Gillispie - Penn-Mar

Team Member Spotlight: Kelly Gillispie

Posted on January 24, 2023

Each month, we highlight a “behind-the-scenes” team member whose work supports our mission, but whose face you might not often see on our social media pages.

We’re excited to help you get to know our innovative team and the complex work we do.

So, tune in for our #TeamMemberSpotlight, where our team members share in their own words a bit about themselves!

Kelly smilingWhat is your job title? Administrative Assistant

How long have you been with Penn-Mar? Just about 2 ½ years now.

How did you get connected with Penn-Mar? I first learned about Penn-Mar from a friend at church whose daughter attends the Day Program. I also have several friends who work for Penn-Mar.

What was your previous work experience prior to Penn-Mar and how did it prepare you for your current role? I was the Communications Director for the Grant-A-Wish Foundation. That position gave me the opportunity to learn what goes into making a non-profit organization work and how to be an advocate for spreading the message about their mission. After staying home with my three boys for 12 years, I began working at an elementary school and was the admin assistant for my church. Working with kids prepares you in many ways…mostly learning patience!

What does your work entail? I am at the front desk of the Maryland Line building. I greet and assist visitors, answer phones, order med and office supplies and support the MD Residential and Day Programs with any administrative needs that they may have.

What’s an average day like for you? Busy! There’s a great deal of multi-tasking involved. You have to be ready to switch gears continually throughout the day. Every day is different which keeps things interesting!

What’s one thing you wish people realized about your job? There’s more involved than just opening the front door! 😊 The best part of my job is getting to know so many people, including PM co-workers, clients, and their families. When someone comes through the door, you never know what challenges they may be going through so no matter how busy things get, it’s important to take time to listen first. Sometimes being heard is all someone needs to turn their day around.

In another life, your career path is . . . Librarian. I love everything about a library… the organization, the books, even shelving them (Ok…yes, I’m a nerd) I worked in the University library in college and have worked in an elementary school library… it was my happy place.

Why is Penn-Mar’s mission important to you? Every human being deserves to live their best life and to have an advocate to help them achieve it.

What’s one thing you wished the general public knew about people with IDD? They can do much more than they are given credit for. Be on your toes because they don’t miss a thing! You may be surprised at what you can learn from them!

What is your favorite quote or mantra? “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends” (~Clarence the angel)

Any hidden talents or fun facts someone wouldn’t know about you? I love all music, especially country and contemporary Christian. I sing in my church praise band and choir. Recently, a friend encouraged me to try writing lyrics and I have completed a few songs now!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, you’d visit . . . Africa. I always thought it would be incredible to go on a safari!

In your spare time, you’ll be found . . . Camping! I also enjoy cooking, walking, reading, or listening to music.

A book, movie, TV show, sports team, etc. you love: My family and I are big Tennessee Volunteer fans! There’s a lot of orange in our house. (Sorry to any Alabama fans this year.) Currently, we are also enjoying the Yellowstone series.

Something fun, interesting, or meaningful about yourself: I love ALL animals…especially dogs! I have two rescues and there is nothing better than a dog snuggle to heal the heart!

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