Devereux California Supported Living Services Program Coordinator Annika Tamkun is Today’s Honoree

At Devereux, employees are heroes in every sense of the word, helping children, adolescents and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives. These committed and compassionate individuals humbly dedicate themselves to serving – and inspiring – others. Annika Tamkun – Devereux California Supported Living Services program coordinator – was recently highlighted.

In your role, what are your main responsibilities?

I oversee the day-to-day operations of our Supported Living Services residential homes to ensure our residents’ needs and goals are met. I supervise staff who work directly  with our residents, monitor their training, and help them grow in their roles. I also support our center’s learning team by teaching Safe & Positive Approaches incident response and reporting; and CPR/first aid training courses to new hires and existing staff as part of their recertification process.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love seeing the growth of the individuals we serve, as well as my staff. I also enjoy being able to meet and train staff during their onboarding process and watch them develop in their positions. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces at the end of the day also is a wonderful treat.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

A friend once shared the following advice from naturalist John Muir for staying calm through the chaos of life: He said: “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

How do you demonstrate Servant Leadership principles on a daily basis?

I like to greet everyone each day with a smile. I put others first, and I am always ready to jump in and help as needed. I am a firm believer in open, honest and constructive communication between all parties to ensure the highest quality of care for the individuals we serve.

What is one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?

I’ve hiked to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. It was a 22-mile day hike with a 6,000-foot-plus elevation gain that began with a bear encounter at 2 a.m.

Why are you a Healthcare Hero?

I wouldn’t describe myself as a hero, but I am honored to receive this recognition! Challenging times like COVID-19 really shine a light on one’s character. I believe I am making a difference by finding unique ways to keep our residents happy, all while working to ensure the health and safety of our individuals and staff. Examples include: taking residents on drives through the foothills of Santa Barbara; coordinating video conference calls with family members who are not able to visit their loved ones due to the pandemic; and various other activities that are specially tailored to each individual. Above all, I come to work every day with a positive, can-do attitude to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

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