If you need something around ChicagoCAC, your first stop is likely our Facilities and Operations Manager, Erika Lester. She chatted with us about how working with ChicagoCAC aligns with her desire to make a difference for children and families and in communities.
What brought you to ChicagoCAC? What keeps you here?
I was looking for advancement in my career and wanted to continue working with children and adolescents. My bachelor’s degree is in science with a concentration in community health, and prior to coming to ChicagoCAC, I was a supervisor at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in the Behavioral and Psychiatry department. What keeps me here is my continued drive and motivation to grow by continuing to help the community. I love how hands-on I can be with the developments here at ChicagoCAC and seeing the outcome.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me can be anywhere from finding coverage, helping a staff member, finding solutions to transportation changes, purchasing for the entire facility, doing equipment and facility checks for maintenance, and answering email/calls with concerns. I’m also often working with our partners at the Department of Children and Family Services, the Chicago Police Department, and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on client schedules or needs. And, you can often find me attending meetings with leadership to provide input and advice based on operations and facility needs, and working on policy and procedures for improvements and managing staff.
What’s something that’s important to keep ChicagoCAC running smoothly that people might not have thought about?
I review the daily schedule and case notes to be prepared on the security side of situations that could occur with each family. I also work with DCFS staff on that process so that my team is fully prepared.
What’s your favorite or most rewarding part of your job?
I enjoy being able to help families and staff members and make the process go smoothly for all needs, and also seeing work getting completed and what the finished projects/property looks like.
July is self-care month and we love to ask everyone about their self-care ! What do you do to guard against burnout, or what do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I like to travel, shop and go to hair and nail salons.
What are you looking forward to in ChicagoCAC’s future?
I want to see the finished product of the CAN Hope project when it’s done.