Job title: Founder, clinical director
At work: I am a licensed clinical social worker and the founder and clinical director of Integrated Health Services, a CARF-accredited community-based mental and behavioral agency. IHS has served children, adults and families of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia in various capacities for over 11 years. From its inception, IHS has provided services to over 3,000 clients and has employed about 320 professionals. The opportunity to positively impact our community in this way is only possible with the dedication of IHS’ staff, whose passion for our mission inspires me daily.
Home and family: Hampton Roads is my home. My younger years were spent in Norfolk and my later years in Virginia Beach. Some of my fondest memories thus far have occurred in Hampton Roads. From school drop-offs by my mom, Annie, at Ghent Montessori; attending synagogue at Temple Israel with my grandparents, Reba and Sam Sandler of blessed memory; watching Mr. Doumar make waffle cones; driving my first car; playing soccer at Norfolk Collegiate; sunrise walks on the beach with my dad, Art; spending a night or two at Shuckers bar and restaurant; and everything in between. Countless memories have been made and incredible moments shared with my siblings , Jessica, Max and Dylan. I am excited about many more, especially with my nieces and nephews.
Volunteer activities: I have participated in various volunteer initiatives throughout the years in the community, state, national and international arena, be it serving food to homeless people, assisting incarcerated women in navigating their transition upon release, providing training on mental health modalities, statewide child abuse initiatives, conducting investigations for the State Department, helping domestic violence survivors or providing overseas aid, most recently in Ukraine.
Motivating factor: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Advice to young people: Never lose your sense of wonder. So, spend your money on experiences, not things. Accordingly, success is not in what you have but who you are.
Professional goal in five years: I intend to continue serving and advocating for the vulnerable and often voiceless through Integrated Health Services. I hope to extend our range of services to meet the evolving identified needs of our community. Additionally, I am working on my doctoral dissertation, culminating in innovation to address vicarious traumatization, secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue in the social work/mental health workforce.
The one thing I’d change about Hampton Roads: The traffic!
Region’s most significant asset: Hampton Roads provides an excellent quality of life and embodies a sense of community.
Downtime: I love spending time with my family, enjoying the wonders of nature, traveling and having new experiences.
What really gets under my skin: Racism, sexism, classism, antisemitism, ableism and homophobia.