From DSP to Manager – Finding a Leadership Role She Never Imagined Having
“I never imagined myself being in a manager position because I had never supervised anyone before,” Jamie Siwik said, “but it feels so natural to me, and the nature of business here at Liberty ARC is so different from anywhere else I’ve worked; staff are compassionate and they really follow the mission and values of this agency.”
Jamie Siwik has worked at Liberty ARC for the last seven years. She started as a relief Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the Family Support Services (FSS) program, and quickly worked her way up to a manager position.
“The Family Support Services program and the individuals we support really drew me to Liberty,” she said. “I fell in love with my job very quickly, and I think all of the staff in FSS work really well with each other – we’re a team. We come together and we communicate very well; it never feels like we’re scrambling, we rely on each other and trust each other to get the job done.”
Jamie said that coming to work every day “doesn’t feel like working at all.”
“This job is so rewarding, you can make such a difference in someone’s life, and in return, they make a difference in your life,” she said. “I come to work, and there are people we support who sing to me and talk to me and I don’t see their disability at all – I only see all of the wonderful abilities those we support have; that’s what this job is about.”
Jamie suggests that anyone who possesses compassion and a hard work ethic, and desires a flexible schedule, should apply to Liberty ARC.
“If you take charge of a situation, and you enjoy caring for the individuals we support, and you’re patient and kind, then this is the job for you,” she said. “You can always tell when someone comes to the agency and they’re starting out as a first-time DSP, but they just have this natural quality of being a leader already and they work hard – those DSPs usually turn into assistant managers and managers quickly.”
Jamie also thinks a good manager is someone who’s willing to do anything to help his or her staff out.
“I tell staff that I would never ask them to do something I’ve never done, or wouldn’t be willing to do right then,” she said. “Being a DSP who worked up into a supervisory role makes me relatable to them; I’m someone who was once in their shoes – it shows them what they can work toward.”