Interview with Kristia Robinson Clark, Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance

How long have you been with JSDD?

Eleven years

Was this the position you started in?

I Started as a group home manager in Livingston and moved up quite a few times. A few years after I started, I became a senior manager overseeing 5 locations Livingston, two homes in Verona, Summit, and the community-based program. I then became the Associate Director of QA in 2018 and then I moved into my current position 2019 Director of QA and Compliance.

What is your first memory of JSDD?

My first memory was realizing how independent the residents were. Before interviewing at JSDD, when I thought about group homes, I pictured a nursing home. I thought that the staff would have to do everything for the residents. I was interviewed in the Livingston home and the ability of the residents really surprised me.

What has most impressed you about working with JSDD?

The level of dedication that the staff and leadership show every day continues to impress me. When I started, I was amazed at how hands on the leadership is. In other places you certainly hear the leaders names but don’t really see them or have involvement with them.

 What are 3 words to describe JSDD?

Dedication, passionate and caring.

What do you find most challenging?

When I first started in 2011, working with the families was challenging to ensure every need was met.  Working with staff who come from all different backgrounds, learning to be empathetic and understanding that, often times, culture plays a big role in various communication styles. Something may seem like someone is speaking sternly but once you learn where they are coming from you get to understand how things are intended.

What do you wish other people knew about JSDD?

How devoted management is to the staff and how committed everyone is to the residents. Often you hear negative things about places of employment, but JSDD is so diverse and accepting.

When your friends/family find out that you work for JSDD what do they say or ask?

They ask why I enjoy working for JSDD. The answer is, that I love it and have been here for 11 years. I have seen JSDD grow so much. When I started there were not half of the homes we have now and we continue to expand and grow.

Tell me about someone who has influenced you while working with JSDD?

Michelle Meyer, who is no longer with JSDD and Letticia Waymer, who is currently the Director of Residential Services & Operations. Both women took me under their wing and encouraged me.  They are both effective communicators and leaders. They always have positive feedback and always supported my growth and promotion through the agency.

What part of your job are you most excited about?  

When the new hires come in. Meeting with new staff, talking about JSDD and teaching the policies. And, the new building! It is a beautiful spacious, bright place to be every day. I also love seeing the residents, whenever there are activities and they are out and about, I love seeing them engaged in community and living rich, full lives.

What is on your wish list for the next 5 years with JSDD?

To increase the retention rate for staff resulting in longer term, trained staff. Increase the exposure of JSDD which would increase donations. Creating corporate partnerships, for more volunteers who would help spread the word and more networking opportunities.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about working at JSDD?

JSDD is full of passionate and dedicated people. Anyone can clearly see from the website, the emails, social media, the newsletters, all clearly show the enthusiasm of those that work here.

Before working at JSDD what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I worked as a case manger for Easter Seals of NJ in Somerset County from 2008-2011. I was working with psychiatric population. There was a lot to coordinate setting up with mental health counselling and other services people may need.

What is your favorite thing for Lunch?

I love Chipotle on RT 10.

What is something about you that is not on your resume?

I love Anime and movies (going out and watching at home).

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JSDD is dedicated to supporting a full quality of life in both the residential component and a holistic learning program known as the WAE Center for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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