Bonnie

It’s hard to think of Mercy Home’s Walsh Campus without thinking immediately of Bonnie Lee. In her nearly 24 years with the Home, Bonnie has built a career based on helping others and making sure everyone who walks into the Walsh Campus is greeted with a smile.

Bonnie went to college for accounting, but decided it wasn’t something she wanted to pursue as a career. Instead, she looked into Mercy Home when she learned about an opening for a receptionist at our girls campus. She ended up taking a different position elsewhere, but when the Mercy Home position opened again, she was invited to join our team.

“I kind of liked my new job, but Mercy was paying more, and actually when the other job found out Mercy would pay me more, they upped my pay to keep me,” she remembered. But she remained curious about working at the Home. “I was like, let me just see what Mercy is about … so I went with it.”

Now the Manager of Girls Campus Operations, Bonnie said her job encompasses “doing what’s necessary.” She does everything from working at reception, coordinating with everyone from families to Advancement to IT, and even helping organize drivers for the Academy and van requests.

“I’ve always just wanted to help and that’s always been my motivator—how can I help, how can I make things easier for people so they can do what they want to do, or they need to do,” she said.

“I’ve always just wanted to help and that’s always been my motivator—how can I help, how can I make things easier for people so they can do what they want to do, or they need to do.”

Bonnie has been constantly striving to expand her role and takes seriously her role as the first point of contact for many people interacting with Mercy Home.

“You’re the first person, the first point of contact, you set the tone for someone’s perception of the Agency … and I’ve always taken pride in that,” she said. “You know, a kid could be having a rough day, they may have had a rough day at school, and you give them attitude or something when they first come in—they could take that up to program. It just solidifies [for them] that things are bad. But if you can just engage them or smile at them or something, I just think it’s important to set a welcoming tone.”

While a welcoming and friendly atmosphere is consistent across all of Mercy Home’s campuses, Bonnie said that Walsh Campus is particularly good at building solid relationships across all departments.

“Because we’re smaller, we get to be a little closer and friendlier and that’s always been an advantage for us,” she said. “[And] people will follow that lead. If I’m helping you, you don’t mind helping me or the next person.”

She said the small size helps facilitate departmental collaboration.

“I do honestly feel like the departments don’t mind crossing and helping each other because we are smaller … it’s like what do we need to do to get the job done?” she said. “From the receptionist to the janitor up to the director, we’re all here, we’re all part of this.”

“I absolutely adore my coworkers, I love the people I meet and get to work with.”

That sense of community has led to wonderful friendships, which Bonnie said was a blessing, adding “Mercy Home recruits some really good people.”

“I absolutely adore my coworkers, I love the people I meet and get to work with,” she said.

And Bonnie feels that the people who make Mercy Home what it is is why the organization is so special.

“I am proud to work at Mercy Home, I really am,” she said.

Bonnie also likes the familiarity of upper management at Mercy Home. “Our VPs and the CEO, they know who you are, they take the time to get to know that, to get to know you by name or by face, and that doesn’t always happen at a lot of companies,” she said. “Not every organization can say that they do that and that’s one thing that Mercy can say, like we’re all here, we’re all working together, we’re all here in support of these kids and their families in need.”

And the opportunity to work with the kids, even though she’s not in a direct care role, is one of Bonnie’s favorite things about being at Mercy Home.

“It’s amazing to make connections with these kids,” she said. “They can tell who is being open to them, their thoughts, their feelings, just to make that connection is an amazing thing. And anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to be someone in Youth Programs. When they adapted the [Mercy Model], when they were teaching that and they were saying everyone has a duty to help these kids from the janitor up to the top, I was like, we’re already doing that. That was another proud moment for me, we’re already doing that and it’s wonderful.”

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