Aug 21Staff Spotlight: Shelly — 17 Years of Compassion
Variety is the spice of life and no one knows that better than Mercy Housing’s Midwest Resident Services Manager, Shelly. With 17 years at Mercy Housing under her belt, the opportunity for each day to be different and fun is one thing that gets Shelly out of bed every morning.
Shelly grew up in Ames, Iowa with her parents and older sister and loved playing sports and spending time with friends in high school. Her dedication to working hard and helping others started at a young age. At age 12, she began working alongside her dad at his sporting goods store. First, cleaning the office and bagging items, and then later assisting customers with their needs and ringing up sales.
With a background in nonprofit youth administration, Shelly started at Mercy Housing as a Resident Services Coordinator (RSC). She brought with her several years of experience in career development which aided her in the RSC role. As an RSC, she was still able to help connect people in need to essential services, now providing support to those who called Mercy Housing home. In addition to helping adults find stability, she worked with youth in the Out-of-School Time program (OST).
Shelly has since expanded her role and her reach as the Resident Services Manager, overseeing programming across the Midwest region. She now leverages her years of experience to help encourage her staff to develop programs unique to each property and establish a supportive relationship with residents.
Over the course of 17 years with Mercy Housing, there have been many special moments that have made Shelly’s job so rewarding. One of those moments came roughly five years ago, as she was walking the grounds of a Mercy Housing family property in Omaha. A man called out to her, and while it took a minute, Shelly soon recognized the former OST student. This gentleman and his two sisters were all in the Homework Club when Shelly first started as an RSC.
“It may not feel like we’re able to make an impact when we spend a small amount of time each day with kids, but here it was, 12 years later, and he still remembered me and wanted to visit. It was great!”, shared Shelly.
Shelly has made a lasting impact and inspired many of the faces she has encountered in her career at Mercy Housing. But who inspires Shelly? A few people come to mind. Sister Vera O’Connor, who hired Shelly and passed away in 2003, for “her deep connection to the mission and the heart of our work in Resident Services,” the residents who “amaze me with their dedication and drive to do better for themselves and their families,” and most importantly, Shelly’s 15-year old son who has participated in many community events.
“I want him to have a servant heart and have compassion for others in need. It’s been a wonderful experience seeing him grow up playing with kids on the playground that I work with.”
Not only does Shelly share her compassion with her son, but she also shares it with her staff, volunteers and Mercy Housing partners too.
Sara is an RSC who works under Shelly’s leadership. She has a lot of admiration for her and was thrilled to share her thoughts.
“Simply put, Shelly is the best. Clear, concise, and constant in her leadership. She has established expectations and manages boundaries with great ease creating a clear culture of who we are as a team. She is funny, intelligent, and a compassionate human being that always does the right thing and what is best every time,” said Sara.
Getting great satisfaction from what she does every day is what keeps Shelly motivated. She loves to see how all those little moments add up to something meaningful for the families she helps support.
“Having a job that has a mission focused on helping people is extraordinary. From the housing side to the services side, everything we do at Mercy is about giving residents the opportunity to live stable, healthy lives. It’s pretty great to be involved in that,” said Shelly.
We think you are pretty great too, Shelly! Thank you for supporting the mission of Mercy Housing and sharing your knowledge and positive outlook with us all for the last 17 years!
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