Team Member Spotlight: Teresa O’Brien

Posted on October 18, 2021

Each month, we’re highlighting 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!

What is your job title? WM Support Team Manager – Southeast

How long have you been with Penn-Mar? I reached 33 years of service in September 2021. I started as a job coach. Back then, I also worked for different company in their residential department. I like many DSPs, have lived the life of working two jobs at the same time. I loved every moment of the work. I am proud to be a part of a company that advocates for higher wages for DSPs.

What’s an average day like for you? Lately, there have been many long days as we build a program that offers Home and Community Services. The best part is that I get to collaborate with some amazing team members on projects which provide better resources for the DSPs.

What’s one thing you wished the general public knew about people with IDD? People with IDD can achieve many things with the correct resources and support. The DSPs I have worked with have proven that over and over.

What’s your favorite food? I have always enjoyed Maryland Crabs! Most recently, I have enjoyed sweet potato and brussels sprouts with balsamic vinaigrette. Yum Yum!

In your spare time, you’ll be found . . . If I am not volunteering at church or in the community, you can find me outside in the yard or hiking with my husband and two sons. Most recently, my sons encouraging me to rock climb and crawl in a cave. I enjoyed the experience but not looking to go again anytime soon.

A book, movie, TV show, sports team, etc. you love: I enjoy watching The Walking Dead with my son. I also just finished the book Modoc by Ralph Helfer. It is a story about an elephant and young boy and their lifelong relationship. I have always had a fondness for elephants. I am in wonder of their strength, intelligence, and loyalty. Not that long ago, I was the owner of over 500 elephant items.

Something fun, interesting, or meaningful about yourself: Most of my success working in this field has come from years of trying different and creative things with people. I always knew it was important to build healthy relationships with the people you support and work with. I wish I had opportunities to participate in programs like Career Ladders and other learning and development programs when I was starting my career. I somehow survived those trial-and-error years. Live Courageously!