In June of 2019, beloved team member, Pat Pagdilas-Shepherd is celebrating 42 years with Sound. Pat is widely celebrated as a calming force and tireless advocate, serving and helping team members as well as the people we serve.
When asked about her decades-spanning career, Pat is humble. “I’m just grateful to have a job that I love and people I love being with every day!”
Pat says the best part of her job is her interaction with people. “I love seeing the clients and interacting with them, and making them feel comfortable and safe. I love Sound’s mission.”
Pat is a favorite among Sound team members who tout her as an integral member of the team –greeting guests warmly, making people feel at ease, and handling sometimes-tense situations with grace and poise.
“Treatment begins at the front door. Many of our clients have been welcomed by Pat, who I believe is one of our finest ‘clinicians.’”
This sentiment, shared by Dr. Allen Hume, seems to be a common theme in team member conversations about Pat.
“She exudes warmth and kindness and is genuinely respectful to everyone. When you interact with her, you matter! I have always encouraged my supervisees to observe her in action to help them understand how to compassionately serve others. She is truly a gem, and I personally feel honored to know her.”
Admissions Program Manager Dana Vaccaro, who has known Pat for years, agrees.
“In the 28 years I have had the pleasure to work with Pat, there is one thing that has always been consistent with her – and that is her positive, kind and caring approach to the work she does and the people she interacts with. She is so respectful of others. Pat will be the first to volunteer her time and offer support to other team members. When you walk into the agency the first thing you see is her bright smile and then she shares her special, warm greeting. Pat, how lucky we have been for 42 years!”
Sara Lapp, director of quality assurance, was also eager to share a story about Pat.
“Many years ago, Crisis Services was born on Capitol Hill. In the early days, we didn’t have desktops, cell phones or walkie talkies. Pat and eventually Kevin (Cox) ran the front desk for an increasingly busy building and there were times when the lobby could be a very happening place,” Lapp mused. “I’m not sure our young team would have been able to pull it off at times without the gentle support and accurate intelligence provided by Pat and her team.”
Lapp noted that Pat would sometimes deescalate a situation herself by simply treating people with kindness and respect.
Others who have worked with her for years observed her as a warm and enchanting presence.
“I cannot remember a time when Pat wasn’t around, as a calm, gentle, kind presence, both in the business office and at our front desk,” says Care Transitions Director Stephanie Berg. “She greets guests and team members with her warm smile and willingness to reach out and offer help. She is truly the heart of Sound and we are so lucky to have her.”
In addition to her deep commitment to the people we serve, Pat thinks of Sound team members as family.
“In the early years, we watched each other’s families grow. I remarried and the staff was part of my wedding. We stay in touch with each other. These people are an important part of my life.”
Sound team members feel the same way about Pat, so many with stories to share about how important she is to them.
“I started at Sound in 2001. Pat was my Lead at the front desk at Capitol Hill until 2016. She has been a great person to work with and we have never had any disagreements since we have been working together,” says Kevin Cox. “Pat has helped me develop as a person and as a spiritual believer. She has been the heart of the organization and she is my rock.”
Pat has had an inspiring career at Sound. Pat began her journey at Sound 42 years ago, first as a receptionist, then as a clinical records clerk, then a business office accountant, and for the last 21 years, as an administrative assistant.
Pat’s goals for Sound include everyone getting to know one another better as we grow, to have more fellowship and gatherings, including all the staff from all the locations.
Over the years, Pat has seen growth and she is pleased that the level of caring and commitment to the people we serve has not changed.
“I have seen Sound grow in leaps and bounds,” she says. “The organization has increased in the number of people we serve but the service is not compromised. The staff has given their best to the clients that they serve. From a staff of 70 to now over 550 our overall goal is for the clients that we serve and potential clients.”
Pat is eager to share her knowledge with others, stating that her goal is to share what she knows with others about commitment, finding ways to relieve stress and take one day at a time. She also asks team members to enjoy life and those you work with and treat people with dignity.
As for retirement, Pat is not in any hurry to leave Sound. “I’d like to continue to enjoy my life with my husband, travel and do mission work.”
On behalf of all of us at Sound, Pat, thank you for your decades of service, your compassion, hard work and dedication. We thank you for everything you have done to make this organization what it is today.