When Lisa Schiller became the new executive director at MHY Family Services (formerly Mars Home for Youth) in late January, she came to the organization with a wealth of experience and desire to continue to serve youth and families.
But like many folks, right out of college, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do.
"I thought I wanted to work in gerontology and when I looked for work, I found a job in mental health, working with adults with persistent mental illnesses," Mrs. Schiller said.
Now 47, the Butler County resident moved into working with children when she and her husband moved to New Jersey for his work while she was only a few years out of college.
She began working at a boys' home and soon discovered she loved working with young people. She also decided that she would need a master's degree.
"If I wanted to stay in this field, I knew I would need it," she said and pursued a graduate degree at Marywood University in Scranton.
Over the years, Mrs. Schiller has worked with youth in various settings, including foster care services, outpatient care, residential care and group homes and wrap-around services.
And just as the settings varied, so did her role.
Mrs. Schiller has worked as a counselor providing diagnostic and treatment services, served as the director of community and residential services at Glade Run Lutheran Services and as the vice president of operations with Lutheran Services in America.
Mrs. Schiller said all of those roles and experience have led her to her current position.
"I have loved working for all of these organizations, and when this opportunity came, I loved the possibility of working with a team to better the lives of families and children through our services and be able to stay close to home," said the Prospect resident.
As the mother of two daughters, Constance, 11 and Anna, 7, Mrs. Schiller didn't want to travel extensively or relocate.
She said she and her husband, Greg, are involved in the girls' lives so her new position worked out perfect, she said.
It is also a good fit for MHY, said Pam Schiller (no relation), president of the board of directors.
"Lisa's breadth of experience including her local work at Glade Run and her national work was so important to us," said Pam Schiller.
"But it is also a position that requires extremely strong people skills, and hers were immediately evident. She is kind and personable, but extremely competent.
Lisa Schiller already is receiving positive remarks from donors and others in the community, Pam Schiller said, adding, "All of the feedback is stellar."
For her part, Lisa Schiller is humble.
"I'm very happy to be here. I wanted to stay local, but be somewhere to use my skills and experience," Lisa Schiller said.
Although she is still getting to know her staff, the community and other resources, Lisa Schiller said she has already started formulating plans for the future of MHY.
"We want to expand both our residential and community-based services," she said, "And of course, develop our ability to do fund development to make these a reality."neigh_north
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.