This week we would like to take a moment to say farewell to one of our colleagues and friends, Shantel Wight. Shantel has been with Career Path Services for nearly ten years, working with our Transitional Jobs team as an Employment Practitioner in Pierce County.
Originally from Northern Utah, outside Ogden, Shantel grew up on a micro-farm with her mom and two siblings. They took care of goats, rabbits, ducks, mini horses, cats, and dogs. When she was at her dad’s home, she took care of horses, cows, and buffalo. Shantel is the oldest of four sisters and one younger brother and was the caretaker of her family. She met her husband at just fifteen years old, and after they finished high school, they decided to move to Denver, where they had a son named Karter. After her son was born, that was the motivation she needed to go back to school and receive her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography.
Fresh out of college with her degree, Shantel and her family had recently moved to Washington. She knew she did not want to take her passion for art and make it her career, so she started seeking other opportunities. She saw an ad on craigslist for an opening at Career Path Services, and the rest is history. During her tenure at the organization, Shantel has seen lots of significant changes. First, Career Path Services welcomed all-new Senior Managers. Second, Shantel was with the organization during its rebranding. Third, the Director for Transitional jobs accepted another position, and therefore, the division structure needed to be revamped. Lastly, employees of the organization continue to adapt to the new norm following a world pandemic. Besides the changes happening at Career Path Services, the Transitional Jobs program would continuously make policy updates nearly every year; and Shantel still managed to become a subject matter expert in case management. She kept current on training and understood what was happening in the local government and the economy to better serve her clients.
“Last summer, the Pierce Transitional Jobs team and I did team awards where we voted on different awards to recognize everyone on the team. They honored me with the ‘Self-Work Award,’ where I was given a little handheld mirror to represent the award. They shared, ‘This award highlights the introspective work that the recipient has done to better themselves and the team around them.’ Don’t forget to always focus on your own personal Self-Work Award! You are never done learning; if you think you have arrived, be ready for disappointment, there is so much more you can do for yourself and those around you.” Shantel said.
Outside of work, you can find Shantel spending time with her husband and son. “My husband and son inspire me every single day! My husband is one of the hardest-working people I have ever met in my life. He is so selfless and continues to find ways to volunteer in our community to help those in need. He would not think twice to give someone the shirt off his back, no questions asked. My son is so driven and hard-working. Over the last weekend of June, he summited Mount Rainier! He is only 14 years old! His dedication and ability to work on long-term goals that are both physically and mentally challenging amaze me. They keep me motivated and can lift me when I need it.” Shantel said. You can also find her volunteering at the Museum of Glass in their education studio, hiking with her family, carrying on entire conversations with her dogs, and currently building a repurposed chicken coop in their backyard. Shantel also loves to barbeque and have people over; every year, she and her family put on an annual Halloween party, and they’re even the fun-house on the block that gives out full-sized candy bars to the trick or treaters.
Now Shantel has accepted a new position and has decided it is time to move on, so she will be starting with the Department of Commerce to work as a Commerce Specialist 2 in their Community Economic Opportunities Unit under the Community Service and Housing Division. Even though she is moving on, she has memories and the victories of her clients to hold onto; Shantel has worked with a single mom that was living in her car with her teenage son, they eventually were able to find housing for themselves; and later, she received an offer for her dream job through the program and connections she made at her host site. She has worked with a single Dad who cared for his aging Mom as her dementia progressed; he found in-home support through a program and later was offered a management job at his host site with the flexibility to care for his mom. Shantel also worked with a client who agreed to do inpatient treatment after a long and difficult conversation about their future, the program, and possible consequences. Shantel shared, “So many lives have been impacted by the work done in Pierce County. There has been something special about the history of our time here and the people I have worked alongside to help those in our community.”
Shantel’s Manager Nate Mazzuca said, “Shantel has taken on so many tasks and projects! She is typically one of the first to step up to the plate. An example of this was her taking the lead to secure donations and partners to furnish our Lakewood office. She went above and beyond to ensure our participants and staff have a space they can feel comfortable in and feel proud of. She truly lives and breathes our mission which keeps our team on task and focused. I think the world of Shantel; I am proud of her as she takes this next step in her journey.”
Shantel will be leaving us on July 15, 2021, but not without some words of wisdom, “Thank you all for the memories and this amazing opportunity. The work we do is important to those in need, and the customer should always be our priority; they are why we are here. To those who take our programs seriously and dedicate themselves to their personal change, it can be life-altering, and that is so rewarding to watch. To share my fathers-in-law’s words of wisdom, ‘remember who you are and what you stand for’!” Thank you, Shantel, for your years of service to our organization; we wish you all the best in your new endeavors.