HMEA Program: Residential Services
Job Title: Program Manager
Number of Years in Current Role:
Number of Years with HMEA:
Almost 39 years
Meet Luanne Sherman! Luanne has been with us for nearly 39 years, and she manages a great group of individuals at one of our residential homes. We spoke with Luanne to learn more about her extraordinary career at HMEA.
How did you get started working with HMEA?
I have been working at HMEA for just about 39 years. I started back in 1984 when the program was very small. I first worked for one of HMEA’s day programs at the Parmenter School, where I worked one-on-one with an individual who was receiving behavioral supports. From then, I realized I missed working on the residential side of the company, so I applied for an Assistant Supervisor position. Since then, I haven’t left Residential!
What’s a typical day like as a Program Manager?
As a Program Manager, no two days are the same. One minute I’m fixing wheelchairs, and the other, I’m handling operations and any coverage issues. My day is very flexible and can turn paths within minutes. This is one of the reasons why I love my job-there are always things changing and something new to do.
What’s your favorite part about working at HMEA?
What I like most about residential is how different it is. No day is the same. You get to be with the individuals and see life through their eyes.
I am able to plan vacations, partake in community activities, and teach life skills to individuals. I love being involved and promoting the thought process to my team that we should be teachers, not doers. We’re here to ensure that all individuals are learning the skills they need to live rather than watching someone else partake in the skills and activities. When I see individuals learning to cook or even packing a lunch, it makes me so happy.
What has HMEA done to help grow your professional development over these years with all of the different roles you’ve held?
HMEA has challenged me over the past 39 years. They have added a few things to my job at the time: new employees and new tasks. HMEA also tests my abilities to handle different situations and with that, they always offered new training and took my feedback in order to help themselves grow as well as myself.
HMEA has allowed me to grow and shadow other employees to see what their day-to-day work life is like and expose me to the different possibilities I could have within HMEA. I’m able to see different behaviors, new skills, and different medical situations and how to properly handle them.
What moment are you most proud of?
With 39 years under my belt, there are so many moments that I’m proud of! One of my most memorable moments was when I was in my 20s and I took 5 individuals to Disney World for a vacation. I was put through many challenges then and because of it, I have learned many many lessons.
I will always remember the vacations I took the individuals on. We’ve been to the Cape, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. It’s always an adventure that leads me into learning new things.
I also get the privilege of watching individuals grow and age. Being able to be a part of their lives is something that someone can’t describe. Being able to help them through the toughest times and the best times really connects you together. I always like to say that these individuals are my second family.
What advice would you give someone whos applying to work at HMEA? Why should someone work at HMEA?
HMEA has helped me grow tremendously; professionally and personally. The experiences that happen here are extremely eye-opening and truly become an extension of your family. HMEA brings a new perspective and culture to the world and has opened not only my own eyes but everyone’s eyes to the diversity and different perspectives. These individuals that are a part of HMEA are a blessing, and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of such a wonderful community.