Life’s WORC is an agency deeply rooted in its core values – Responsibility, High Quality, Teamwork and Communication – which is something that Director of Entitlements and Trust Administrator Paulette Elbers identifies with strongly. “I was a Medicaid Service Coordinator at a different agency prior to coming to Life’s WORC,” Paulette explains. “A friend told me about an opportunity at Life’s WORC as the Entitlements Coordinator and I decided to interview. Once I was here, I quickly realized that the organization’s values really aligned with my own personal values.”
Paulette joined Life’s WORC in 2002, and her impact in ensuring people maintained their benefits and receive their much-needed services was immediate. She was promoted to Director of Entitlements in 2005, overseeing and ensuring benefit eligibility for over 250 people in our residential programs. Her expertise and understanding of government benefits ultimately led to the development and creation of the Life’s WORC Pooled Trust Program in 2007, and later the comprehensive Trust Services department in 2011, which Paulette oversees as Trust Administrator.
“The most rewarding part of working here is knowing that I am helping people with the work I do,” Paulette says. “Whether ensuring the people in our programs maintain benefits that provide them access to services, helping seniors and others with various disabling conditions to access support in the community through Trust Services, the work I have the opportunity to do in service to others helps me feel grateful and fulfilled.”
Because of Paulette’s personal connection to the agency’s values, it was no surprise that she was selected by her peers to serve as Chairperson for the Values Committee in 2014, a position she held for four years. In this role she was tasked with measuring and ensuring that Life’s WORC’s core values were implemented throughout every aspect of the agency. Something that is equally important to both Paulette and Life’s WORC.
“Life’s WORC is known for high quality in our services, programs and our distinct expression of organizational culture,” she says. “Being a part of this organization’s growth, transformation and development has been inspiring. The goal is always to embrace change with a focus on improving and progressing forward.”
She also recognizes the efforts taking place within the agency, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, making sure all employees and the people we support are treated with the utmost respect. “I am very proud of Life’s WORC as an organization, taking steps in the right direction to address disparities that exist even in this great organization,” Paulette explains. “It speaks volumes that while we are an excellent agency in very many ways, we can look at areas where we need to improve and take the risks warranted to become even better. Engaging training such as Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and establishing Juneteenth as an organizational holiday, even before it became a national holiday, are examples of those meaningful steps. I applaud and appreciate the efforts and will lend my skills and talents toward ensuring we achieve success in these endeavors.”
“Paulette is a true professional, but even more importantly, she is kind,” says Janet Koch, CEO. “It is this balance that makes her such a wonderful colleague and a great contributor to meaningful agency programs, such as our Values Committee and DEI initiatives. Life’s WORC and the people we support are fortunate to have Paulette, a person truly dedicated to our Values, as part of our team.”
With more than 19 years of tenure at Life’s WORC, the agency’s milestone 50th Anniversary has great meaning for Paulette. “Having had the opportunity to chair the Values Committee, ensuring our values are infused in every aspect of Life’s WORC culture, along with my role in assisting the people we support receive the benefits and services they need, I feel extremely blessed to have had these experiences and to have contributed as well during my tenure here at Life’s WORC,” she says. “I look forward to the ongoing growth and success of the organization as it continues to evolve. I believe the next 50 years will be even more exciting and impactful!”
Thank you, Paulette, for your dedication to the agency, its values, and the people we support.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC, we will be sharing the stories, people and events that have made Life’s WORC the organization it is today, along with our goals and vision for the future. Thank you for celebrating with us!