Hello! I want to begin this column by introducing myself. My name is Heidi Holste; I have been hired by the Board of Directors to work at Northeast Residence as Executive Director. I began working for NER on September 3, 2014. As you know, the current Executive Director, Corrine Schmidt is “retiring” at the end of the year. I am so fortunate that Corrine has agreed to stay on full-time until the end of the year. I have a lot to learn from Corrine in a short period of time, and while she will stop working full-time, she will still stay involved. Corrine and I have regular conversations about the things that are happening at NER now, in addition to looking toward the future for NER using the strategic plan developed by the Board of Directors as a guide.
Now, just a little about me and my professional career – before coming to NER, I was Director of Government Relations for a long-term care provider trade association. In this position I represented nursing homes and assisted living facilities at the state capitol, the nation’s capital and at the state agency level. The populations we served included seniors and people with disabilities. In my role as Director of Government Affairs I advocated on behalf of providers and seniors for increased funding, I worked on the 5% Campaign legislation that secured 5% increases for caregivers during the last legislative session. I also worked to make sure regulations passed made sense and were workable for providers. In addition to my “lobbying” duties at my previous job, I also worked with providers on workforce recruitment and retention strategies, education on a variety of topics, public relations, member relations, supervision of employees and processes, political action fund fundraising and I participated in the development and implementation of the Association’s strategic plan.
I also have experience working as a direct care giver. I worked for eight as a direct caregiver, specifically as a Certified Nursing Assistant primarily serving seniors in nursing homes but I also worked as a Home Health Aide serving seniors and people with disabilities in their homes. This experience reinforced my life-long compassion for people and the fact that we all have a right to have the best life we were born to have.
On the personal side, I live in Rosemount, Minnesota. I have been married to my husband Matt for 16 years. We live in Rosemount and have three daughters; Alyssa who is 8, Sara is 6, and Julia who just turned 3 years old. We also have two elderly dogs that we try to keep active along with our busy lives as parents (a yellow lab named Vinnie and a German shorthair named Dixie).
Being a full-time working parent takes a lot of time, as many of you know. Our kids participate in soccer, gymnastics, dance, softball (not all at the same time), so my free-time is somewhat limited. But when I do have free time, I love to take walks with my kids and dogs, I love to read – I read just about anything someone puts in front of me, and of course catch the occasional TV show – my favorites are comedies and court-room drama.
My immediate goals over the next couple of months are to learn all I can from Corrine while she is still here on a full-time basis and to get to visit the sites and meet the people we serve, the staff and the families. I know that I will still be learning from Corrine even when she is not here full-time. I also want to learn more about the “NER way.”
I have been fortunate to meet a number of employees of NER, some of the clients and even some of the families. I really look forward to meeting many more of you in the weeks and months ahead. I have already scheduled site visits to many of the homes where I plan to get to know the staff and residents much better in the next two months.
Please know that I am really an open person and I believe communication is key to any relationship, whether a work relationship or a personal relationship. Also know that my door is always open and I appreciate hearing from people with just a “welcome to NER” or we can talk about whatever you want me to know. Please feel free to call me at 651-765-0217 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I feel very fortunate that I get to work with all of you. I will rely on many of you to teach me about NER, tell me what is working for you and for your clients. Corrine, her team and all of you have made NER what it is today and I will continue the good work that NER does along with looking toward the future of providing services to people with disabilities.
Heidi Holste, Executive Director