Veteran staff vital to Rosecrance’s growth and quality of care

Rosecrance wouldn’t be what it is today without steady hands guiding the organization from one venture to the next. From executive leadership to clinical staff, long-time employees have made it possible to meet emerging needs in the community and to take high-quality care far beyond northern Illinois.

Judi Jobe, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, is the longest-serving employee, now celebrating 40 years with Rosecrance. She started her career as an addictions counselor in the 1970s and spent two decades working closely with youth before an opportunity came to lead adult programs. Always looking for a new challenge, Jobe tirelessly looked for ways to expand services for those who needed help. When substance use became a concern, she spearheaded a shift from adolescent welfare to substance use treatment. Since then, Jobe has played an integral role in each of the organization’s next steps.

Jobe is most proud of her work developing adult treatment programming, starting with the early-1990s merger with Alcare—Rockford’s only state-funded treatment center for adults. Soon after the acquisition, it became clear that the downtown building would no longer meet clients’ needs, especially with a continuum of care that included family counseling, aftercare, detoxification, and Project SAFE. Thus, Jobe led the way in planning the Rosecrance Harrison Campus, which provides a safe, serene setting for recovery.

“That was an excellent experience, having to learn more about adult programming, and eventually learning to think like an architect,” she said. “It was one of the best examples of times where I had to think about what the future could look like.”

Now part of the human resources team, Jobe uses her lifetime of experience to find opportunities for growth. In recent years, that has led to expansion into central Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Within the company, her clinical background has helped staff engage career building opportunities. In many ways, it allows her to shepherd an entire workforce at once.

“I’m so proud of all the people I’ve been able to help and invest in,” she said. “It’s very satisfying to see the way many people I’ve worked with have made differences in the world.”

Over the years, Jobe has been fortunate to hire and work with other staff who have dedicated their lives to Rosecrance. One of those is Chief Marketing Officer Janis Waddell, who Jobe hired as an adolescent counselor at the former Rosecrance on Alpine facility 36 years ago. Waddell spent her first decade working in direct care settings and developed a reputation for an ability to communicate complexities of care with youth, their parents, and community connections.

Thanks to relationships already established, she worked into a senior leadership role in which she sets the vision for key relationships with insurance companies, schools, medical professionals, and other valued referral sources.

Another longtime employee who has made an impact is Senior Addiction Counselor Johnny Cooper, who has been a counselor for 30 years. He started at Alcare and was influenced by Jobe’s leadership through the transition to Rosecrance. Cooper has been able to touch lives throughout northern Illinois, as he has served clients through the Winnebago County probation department, Stephenson County outpatient treatment, as well as adults at the Rosecrance Harrison Campus.

Rosecrance also is fortunate to have the experience of Joan Lodge, Administrator of Adult Community Mental Health, through strategic growth in community services. Lodge began her career with the former Janet Wattles Center 29 years ago and joined Rosecrance through a 2011 organizational merger. A passionate advocate for clients, she was responsible for starting and quickly expanding JWC’s satellite clinic in Belvidere. After the merger, she took charge of emergency services and was instrumental in starting a triage center that is now housed at Rosecrance Mulberry Center, along with other crisis services.

In addition to these staff, Rosecrance is privileged to have a handful of other loyal staff with three-plus decades of service. Utilization review counselors Debra Quintero (37 years) and Kelly Cairns (34 years) have left positive marks on the Access team while Kathleen Kessler (35 years) has been a valuable leader who transitioned with Champaign’s Community Elements when it became part of Rosecrance. Like Kessler, Susan Gregory (33 years) joined Rosecrance Central Illinois through a merger. In addition, Teresa Baumgartner (30 years) serves as Director of Finance and provides excellent leadership throughout all of Rosecrance.

–This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Reach.