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Staff Spotlight

Employees of the Year 2016

In honor of the extraordinary dedication to the 28,000 children and adults with disabilities and life challenges who access services through eleven Affiliates, Seven Hills proudly recognizes the following employees:


Kungu KunguKungu Kungu

Residence Director, Seven Hills Community Services

2016 President’s Foundation Award
Kungu is a highly effective leader and mentor to other residence directors (RDs). He and his team provide a wonderful quality of life to the individuals they support at our Seven Hills residential home in Chelmsford. Kungu is a very strong advocate, has built a highly effective team, and is deeply respected by his peers. Kungu began employment with Seven Hills in 2006. A humble man whose compassion knows no end, he moved to the United States from Kenya, where he practiced medicine.  Kungu leads by example in providing outstanding care for the residents. For example, he managed the diet of a resident with diabetes so well that the resident no longer needs to take insulin.
Kungu formed a partnership with students from UMass to develop a device for Tony, another resident, to independently gain staff attention when he is in his bedroom. Tony, who uses a wheelchair, recently received this “breath-operated bedroom alert system” and is now learning how to use it. The system has two components: a tube (breathcall switch) into which Tony breathes, and a mobile unit (similar to a pager), which staff carries.

When Tony breathes into the switch, a signal is sent wirelessly to staff via the mobile unit. This lights up and vibrates until a staff member acknowledges the signal by pressing a button on the mobile unit. This sends an audio signal to Tony’s unit, telling him his request has been received. The system eliminates the need for staff to check on Tony every two hours, preserving his sleep pattern as well as ensuring that his rights are respected. It also eliminates interference with the other housemates’ sleep. Kungu is a member of the Diversity Committee and has assisted with Seven Hills Global Outreach partnerships. He voluntarily mentors other RDs and is often a resource for area directors (ADs) when a new RD is hired. He is a TIER superuser and instructor, an Assistive Technology super user, has been accepted as a mentor for the Stellar Staff program, and is a participant in the High Flyers program.

Sue CoxSusan Cox

Senior Human Resources Generalist, Business & Support Services

Sue displays an extraordinary work ethic, spending countless hours working with employees and their managers to strengthen employee relations throughout Seven Hills Foundation. She regularly volunteers to participate in internal and external committees, assists with employee focus groups and special projects, and trains new supervisors, while always displaying the same dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to her work. She is positive, energetic, and a role model to many of our Urban Youth interns and employees. Sue is an 11-year veteran of Seven Hills Foundation, hired as a parent counselor for Children’s Aid & Family Service. She then switched her career path to Human Resources as an HR recruiter before being promoted to human resources generalist and, in 2015, senior human resources generalist.

Brittany PachecoBrittany Pacheco

Early Intervention Clinical Supervisor, Clinical & Support Services

Britt is a highly dedicated clinician who is committed to the children and families supported in the Seven Hills Rhode Island (SHRI) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Program. The SHRI ABA Program supports Rhode Island children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a population for which clinical expectations are high and areas of expertise are in demand. Britt’s professionalism and knowledge align with the best clinical practice and supervision. She has also risen to the challenge of leadership and role modeling with her colleagues. Exceptional clinicians like Britt are sustaining SHRI’s reputation as one of the leading, most impactful ABA service providers in the state.

Susan D'AlfonsoSusan D’Alfonso

Activities Director, Seven Hills ASPiRE!

Susan is vibrant, persistent, kind, full of positive and creative energy, and her enthusiasm is infectious! Under her leadership, every day at Adult Day Health (ADH) is a day of positive and uplifting activities. A key player in the ASPiRE! Expressive Arts Work Group, Susan brightens the ADH facility with decorations that showcase participants’ crafts and artwork. Each morning, “mood music” greets participants as they enter the program. Working with others or on her own, she makes great things happen every day, with stunning results. Her thoughtfulness and compassion infuse every facet of her work. Recently, for example, she made personalized, fashionable clothing protectors for an ADH participant who preferred not wearing the typical protectors because they “stood out.” Susan is a tireless, stellar employee who brightens the day for participants and staff alike, setting a positive tone and sharing her enthusiastic, person-centered model of support.

Kathy WilberKathy Wilbur

Program Manager, Tobacco Cessation Program, Seven Hills Behavioral Health

Kathy is an exemplary employee of SHBH. She is bright, articulate, creative, and energetic, and demonstrates strong leadership skills. For example, Kathy represents SHBH in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and local town governments. This collaboration promotes tobacco-related public-health initiatives, such as working to ensure that public housing is smoke-free, and discouraging the marketing and sale of tobacco products to minors. Kathy represents the mission of Seven Hills Foundation with complete integrity and dedication.

Erlande CezaireErlande Cezaire

Support Advocate, Seven Hills Community Services

Erlande is a five-year veteran of the SHCS Lincoln St. home in Waltham. She cares deeply for the women she supports, encouraging them to embrace independence and new challenges, even when they doubt their own abilities. Her ever-present smile and interest in their welfare greet the residents each afternoon when they return home, and she remains calm and clear-headed if things become hectic. Erlande is a team player, consistently taking the time to help new staff learn the ropes, and assisting her co-workers when needed. She is fully invested in the SHCS mission to help the women define their own dignity, build community, support choice, and maintain relationships with family and friends.

Connor McCannConnor McMann

Residence Director, Coles Lane, Seven Hills Community Services

Connor exhibits extraordinary commitment to both the residents of Coles Lane and the team of dedicated staff members who support them. He spends countless hours providing training and modeling for his staff, working to ensure they are well prepared and have the necessary skills to meet the needs of those they support. Connor helps his team coalesce into a strong, cohesive unit. His interactions with his residents, family members, staff, DDS, medical professionals, and ancillary support staff have been exemplary and set a high standard for all with whom he works.

Betty LavenderBetty Lavender

Support Advocate, Seven Hills Community Services

For eight years, Betty has supported the women living at the SHCS residence on Kyle Drive in Templeton. Her commitment and dedication to these women are exemplary. She is truly an inspiration, always the first member of the staff on shift and the last to leave. Yet, she is incredibly humble, always praising her co-workers and not taking personal credit for a job well done. Under Betty’s guidance, the women she supports are “giving back” to their community. Betty has helped the women make book marks out of recycled cards and magazines, which they donate to the local library. They also baked muffins for the local police department to show their support. She truly believes anything is possible and encourages the women to overcome obstacles and realize their potential.

Shelby StandShelby Stand

Area Director, South Valley, Seven Hills Family Services

As area director, Shelby has played a leading role in enhancing the quality of Seven Hills services while consistently exhibiting a positive, upbeat demeanor. She oversees support for our individuals who face the most medically complex and behavioral challenges. A true leader and team player, Shelby never asks her team to do something she wouldn’t do herself, no matter how small or difficult the task may be. From a team-building perspective, she instituted a variation of Seven Hills Foundation’s “caught in the act” initiative, in which staff can anonymously acknowledge the exceptional work of a teammate. In Shelby’s case, the team member acknowledged most often for the month is rewarded with a weekend off the on-call phone, which Shelby or the assistant area director will cover. She also fosters teamwork by calling upon staff with particular skills or subject knowledge to help fellow team members.

Guillermo TaleroGuillermo Talero

Registered Nurse (RN), Seven Hills NeuroCare

Guillermo is an excellent resource, particularly for SHNC’s most medically complicated cases. His skills effectively integrate nursing, medicine, and rehabilitation. He consistently provides a calming, supportive “bedside manner” for participants, their families, and staff alike. His advanced medical knowledge has helped detect problems needing attention well before they became serious. At staff meetings, he brings a careful listening style and gentle demeanor. Fellow staff members view Guillermo as a highly valued resource to advance the effectiveness of SHNC’s work in every way.  

Julie RoyJulie Roy

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Seven Hills Pediatric Center

Through her diligent work ethic and dedication to SHPC residents, Julie has proven to be an outstanding member of the Seven Hills Pediatric Center nursing staff. Julie came to SHPC in 2002, and aside from a brief leave in 2013, when she ran a food bank for the homeless, she has worked as a CNA ever since. Whether recruiting potential new employees or orienting new staff, Julie exemplifies the ideal Seven Hills employee: caring, giving, and a strong advocate for our residents. Above all, Julie truly embraces the positive energy and enthusiasm that benefit, in so many ways, the residents of the Seven Hills Pediatric Center.

Jennifer AlbuquerqueJennifer Albuquerque

Home-Based Treatment, Support (HBTS) Professional

Seven Hills Rhode Island (SHRI) Child and Family Services
Jennifer exemplifies the mission of Seven Hills at a depth and breadth that is truly admirable. Her personality overflows with kindness and generosity as she helps the gentleman she supports overcome the challenges he faces. Jennifer buoys his life, motivated by his family’s aspirations. Her perseverance, even when confronted by the most tragic of life circumstances, never wanes. Jennifer is an Employee of the Year—not only because she achieves the standard, but because she sets the standard.      

Tracie PiccirilloTracie Piccirillo

Residence Director, Seven Hills Rhode Island Adult Services

Tracie works tirelessly to provide person-centered services to the individuals supported in SHRI’s Residential Program. Throughout a recent reorganization, Tracie assisted in training and guiding the team supervisors and residence directors who were taking on new management roles. Tracie’s consistent flexibility allows her to alter her schedule to ensure safe staffing ratios, enabling the individuals we support to complete their routines and activities. Additionally, Tracie reliably works to enhance our supports for the individuals, providing insight and great ideas, all with a smile on her face.

Amy FitzgeraldAmy Fitzgerald

Parent Counselor, Children’s Aid & Family Service

A five-year veteran of the Child Care Resources (CCR) program, Amy is a key member of the team, consistently demonstrating flexibility, reliability, and a genuine desire to do an outstanding job. Amy can do everything. Her understanding of childcare policy and procedure as well as her calm demeanor have a great impact on the effectiveness of the program. Amy is assigned many special projects, most requiring great attention to detail and deadlines. She dependably completes the job accurately and on time. CCR recently started using new technology to bill over $2 million per month to childcare providers. Amy has spent countless hours bringing providers up to speed on the system. She also very capably represents our program at a variety of events and meetings.

Eduardo CruzEduardo Cruz

Overnight Childcare Worker, Stetson School

Eduardo is a 16-year veteran of the Stetson School staff, beginning as a bilingual childcare specialist and later joining the custodial team, before becoming a member of the vital overnight staff. He often uses his humor to positive effect, encouraging Stetson youth to make good choices and take pride in themselves and their abilities. Eduardo works patiently but relentlessly to build positive relationships with the youth. Working overnight, he maintains a constructive attitude essential for the youth to start the day fresh and in a positive space. He excels as a role model for all Stetson staff. This leads to a calm and therapeutic atmosphere where each youth can grow and learn to his greatest potential.

Jon EzrinJon Ezrin

Business Manager, VSA Massachusetts

Jon keeps a keen eye on VSA Massachusetts’ financial position. A key member of the VSA management team, Jon has completely reorganized VSA MA’s business functions. He has met the challenge of integrating the accounting systems while at the same time providing a complex array of financial reports to various agencies and private funders. He has taken on budgeting and program financial management functions, and he provides a healthy sense of humor in our open-space office environment. On top of these immense duties, Jon manages VSA MA’s digital assets. We are privileged to have Jon on the VSA MA team.


Download the Employees of the Year > PDF

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