Team Member Spotlight: Nicole Rowland - Penn-Mar

Team Member Spotlight: Nicole Rowland

Posted on January 10, 2024

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!

Nicole R smilingWhat is your job title? Program Manager 
How long have you been with Penn-Mar? 2 years and 2 months 
How did you get connected with Penn-Mar? I saw many good things on Facebook and thought it was a good time for a change. The best decision I could have made. 
What was your previous work experience prior to Penn-Mar and how did it prepare you for your current role? After graduating college, I began as a Behavior Specialist in a youth home for girls between the ages of 14-18 while still living in Arkansas. After moving to Pennsylvania, I started supporting children through TSS work. I then made great connections in the Autism Initiative and decided to support children with Autism specifically. After 4 years of that, I began working for another 6400 regulated agency in Harrisburg as a Clinical Specialist, then eventually promoted to Program Manager. During my path to Penn-Mar, I was trained in many areas of individuals with mental health, IDD, and Autism. This has provided great insight to the people we support and how they process information and use behaviors as a way of communication. All training and directives I bring to the team members at my homes comes directly from the training I have had throughout the years and my experience. I am a hands-on person and will never ask my team members to do a task I am not willing to jump in and do myself. 

What does your work entail? Monitoring compliance of the regulations we are governed by, ensuring we are providing the best possible supports for all people that live with Penn-Mar, training staff, working through day to day issues with team members, individuals supported and outside entities, ensuring my programs are staying within their budgets, reporting incidents, trained certified investigator, medication monitor, healthy relationships and trauma trainer, ensuring all of the programs I manage are held to Penn-Mar’s standard of care. Collaborating with other managers, day programs, behavioral specialists, nurses, family members and doctors to provide the best possible supports, modeling for the team members Penn-Mar’s standard of integrity and excellence, monitoring of ISP’s and ensuring we are within compliance with what is written in the document. I also strive to be as supportive as I can possibly be of all other Program Managers and administrative staff within the agency. 
What’s an average day like for you? I must attend several meetings on any day. Funneling through all paperwork for the individuals supported, monitoring documentation, filing reports, assigning trainings to team members, visiting programs, providing support to the residential supervisors I manage, team members and any other Penn-Mar employee that may need my assistance.  

What is your favorite part of your job? Being challenged, exploring new innovative supports, thinking outside the box to try and find solutions to make the lives of the people we support better. Supporting team members through struggles and praising them when they are successful. And, watching when something I have been a part of comes to fruition or is successful. There is no greater feeling than knowing I have been a part of making a person, who has limited control over their life, successful in whatever area they have been working on. Whether that be learning something as simple as how to care for a flower or something as complicated as shifting major misbehavior so they can live a more desirable life. 
What’s one thing you wish people realized about your job? This job is hard. It takes dedication and organization. It is more than just sitting in an office and pushing papers. There are so many curveballs thrown at us. We deal with quite a bit of juggling and moving parts on any given day. And on most days, it never works out the way it was planned to go. 
In another life, your career path is . . . I always wanted to be a child psychologist or a forensic detective. I am intrigued by human behavior and the brain. 
Why is Penn-Mar’s mission important to you? We bring happiness to a population that has not always had this chance in life. We have the ability to provide a better quality of life for so many and show them the way to fulfill their greatest achievements. 
What’s one thing you wished the general public knew about people with IDD? They are people just like anyone else out there. They have their own thoughts and feelings. They deserve to be heard. They deserve to live the life they desire to live, no matter what that looks like to the rest of society. 
What is your favorite quote or mantra? Behavior is behavior whether you have IDD or not. We all use behaviors to get what we want. The difference is the individuals diagnosed with IDD get labeled through their behaviors simply due to their diagnosis. 
Any hidden talents or fun facts someone wouldn’t know about you? Even though I have what some would call a strong or direct personality, I am a softie at heart. 
If you could travel anywhere in the world, you’d visit . . . Ireland or Greece 
In your spare time, you’ll be found . . . Camping (mostly at Raystown), touring civil war battlefields, hiking, watching football or basketball, and reading novels. 
A book, movie, TV show, sports team, etc. you love: Pittsburgh Steelers, Criminal Minds 
Something fun, interesting, or meaningful about yourself: Mother of 3, Gigi to a grandson, getting married this year, Southern girl at heart. 

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