Interview with John Avant, Associate Program Manager

How long have you been with JSDD?

Eighteen Months

Was this the position you started in?

Started as a receptionist for the WAE Center

What is your first memory of JSDD?

My first memory is meeting the staff during orientation. It was cool to meet people I would get to work with, bond with and share experiences with.

What has most surprised you about working with JSDD?

The members. I am new to the field. It has been interesting to get to know the members, understanding them. I have gotten to know their personalities. Seeing how independent and creative the members can be is amazing.

What are 3 words to describe JSDD?

Creative, Innovative and Welcoming

What do you find most challenging?

Meeting deadlines throughout the day. Finding a balance to get everything done.

What do you wish other people knew about JSDD?

I wish they knew that the members have so much potential and there is also endless potential in the evolution of the programming at the WAE Center.

When your friends/family find out that you work for JSDD what do they say or ask?

They ask if I enjoy it and does it match my career and I say yes! I handle a lot of HR Responsibilities, working with the Quality Assurance team, payroll, screening resumes and conducting interviews.

Tell me about someone who has influenced you while working with JSDD?

Kristia Clark. How she carried herself in her role and encouraged me to grow into the job I am in now. How she works, motivates me. She takes on a lot and meets the challenges. Her attitude and mindset have taught me to do the same thing.

What part of your job are you most excited about?

I am most excited about spending time with members and getting to know them. I also love meeting different challenges each day.

What is on your wish list for the next 5 years with JSDD?

I would love for more members to experience the environment of the WAE Center and the services we offer. A lot of people who don’t know about the WAE Center would be in for a treat if they were to come visit.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about working with JSDD?

I would tell them it is a fun environment; they encourage you to flow with your creativity and what you want to do. They give you a voice and the space to grow and to let you bring something new to the company.

Before working at JSDD what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I was doing two jobs before I came to JSDD. I was an overnight guard. The hours were tough. Coming to JSDD brought me peace.

What is your favorite thing for Lunch?

I am a foodie, so this is hard but a good steak. Medium! I love it from Olive Garden!

What is something about you that is not on your resume?

I am a street poet. I used to draw a lot. I enjoy reading, writing. I love open mics and I love to rap; I love word play.