Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Zanoni.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started my career as a youth therapist in a residential center in Milwaukee. I worked with adolescents who experienced trauma, substance use issues and mental health challenges. The organization’s mission and the roles I held set the direction of my career path. It was very challenging work with numerous barriers but also very rewarding. I learned so much about perseverance, strength and fortitude from the youth I worked with, as well as my colleagues. After serving in several different roles over six years, I moved on to an opportunity at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center as associate executive director before making my way to the Center on Colfax.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
While no journey is ever without its struggles and challenges, the support of my family, strong leaders and mentors, and amazing colleagues has helped pave my way.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I recently relocated from Milwaukee, where I was born and raised, and currently serve as the Vice President, Programs & Community Engagement at the Center on Colfax. I specialize in program development and evaluation, as well as clinical supervision and management. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminology from Marquette University and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. I have also earned certificates in Trauma Counseling, Clinical Supervision, and Non-Profit Business Management and am an instructor at Alverno College, teaching a LGBTQ+ Counseling course for their master’s Counseling Program. I continuously seek opportunities to learn and develop my skills, as well as share my expertise with the next generation.
I am most proud of the programs and services I was able to assist in building with my wonderful colleagues at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, including a mental health counseling program, AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) services, disabilities-centered programming, and services for individuals experiencing intimate partner violence.
I have a strong commitment to service, not only for the clients I serve but to the staff that are also providing those services. I work to ensure that my team members have what they need to do their jobs. I use a team-based approach to management by guiding people to reach beyond their self-perceived limitations and providing the needed support and assistance to reach their professional goals and those of the organization.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
The impact of the pandemic on mental health and well-being is staggering and the need for services has greatly increased. During this time, I was reminded that those providing those services may also be experiencing mental health struggles. Expanding services virtually expands our reach, but we need to recognize the challenges of virtual services particularly with youth who require confidentiality.
- Website: https://lgbtqcolorado.org/, https://denverpride.org/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CenterOnColfax/, https://www.instagram.com/denverpride/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CenterOnColfax/, https://www.facebook.com/DenverPrideFest
Center on Colfax The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center Courage MKE