A consummate volunteer, Deborah loves sharing her experience, expertise, and most importantly—her passion for improving the lives of others. During her career as a mental­health and HR professional, Deborah volunteered and assisted others in need. Since her retirement three years ago from Manatee Glens—Bradenton’s mental health, addiction, and behavioral health services organization—now known as Centerstone, Deborah is now a full­time volunteer.

Helping to disseminate the WRC mission has always been Deborah’s passion, as she so eloquently states, “We must speak at as many community meetings and public events as possible and collaborate with as many other social­service organizations so that people know about WRC and the vital services offered.”

“WRC’s recent merger of all three locations gives us a great opportunity to strengthen our role throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. We must do all we can to spread our mission to other organizations and to those who need it most. The time is ripe. Collaborating with other nonprofits is utmost.”

A role model, Deborah has been featured in the Venice Gondolier as the keynote speaker at the Women in Business event, where she shared WRC success stories. She attends North Port Health and Human Services monthly meetings—calendar in hand—highlighting WRC programs and referrals. She presides over the Friends of the Venice Library. And is a board member of the Family Safety Alliance, which oversees child welfare in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties, advocating for foster homes, solutions, and case management.

Enthusiastically, she stresses how the recent merger will benefit WRC clients. “Sarasota and Venice employment programs, coupled with Manatee counseling, allow us to provide optimal courses and career preparation within a shorter time period.” Linda Mickelberg, the Manager for the WRC’s Venice office—where Deborah volunteers as the Career Coach and as peer counselor—summarizes Deborah’s contributions: “Deborah has been promoting our Employability Program, which helps our clients create or improve their resume and cover letter. She also makes herself available when clients need to practice a mock interview.

Because some of our clients have not been in the workforce for quite some time, Deborah will patiently work with them so they can determine what field may possibly fit their skill set. Deborah has a wonderful attitude and it has been my pleasure to work with her these past three years. Her dedication is extraordinary, and when asked, she will do whatever she can to support the organization.” Deborah’s recent speech at the Women in Business award ceremony exemplifies her commitment to her clients and her vision for their success. In her speech, she shared, “As with many of our clients, a woman I was working with knew she needed a job. But as I spoke with her, it was obvious that she first needed to address her history of abusive relationships, co­dependency with loved one’s substance abuse, and a lack of acknowledgment of her own creativity.”

Deborah’s compassion, insights, and experience helped guide the client to join Al­Anon, identify her interests, and explore possible occupations. Bolstered by Deborah’s guidance, the client was prepared “to tackle” the job market because she had learned and practiced all facets of career preparation. Deborah glows when she talks about that woman’s success: “She was very creative and handy and really wanted to have her own home­decorating and repair business. Three years later she has a successful career and is in a healthy and supportive relationship.”

Emphasizing that career counseling is one on one—and collaborative, Deborah says, “Every client is an individual—from the older woman facing marital issues to the younger, insecure woman looking to join the workforce for the first time.” For her, counseling also revolves around self­esteem issues. And she works with the client to ensure that she feels better about herself, especially in a changing world.

“Because it’s different for each person, I might refer them to counseling and/or other services at the WRC or in the community.” What’s noteworthy is Deborah’s patience and teaching style. Without being didactic, she capitalizes on her listening skills. Returning to the workplace, for example, can be traumatic. Deborah provides stepping stones for her clients to attain their goals. Her signature demeanor and her extensive professional experience as an HR executive and Chief Operating Officer for Manatee Glens for over 22 years enabled her to recommend the most effective career plan for each client. Furthermore, she was HR Director of the New York office of Al­Anon International.

Her commitment doesn’t stop with the WRC and their clients: She’s dedicated to enhancing the Venice community by her crusade to grow the Venice Library, strengthen the South County Food Pantry program, and augment the services of the Family Safety Alliance. As Linda Mickelberg and others will attest, Deborah inspires, educates, and instills confidence in her clients. “I’m grateful that she decided to volunteer at Women’s Resource Center.” To learn more about WRC’s volunteer opportunities, please call WRC at (941)­256­-9721.