This is the second time Amy Fladmo has won the 40 Under 40 award from The Billings Gazette. This time, her nomination is for the work she's done to turnaround and help stabilize The Center for Children and Families in Billings. She currently serves at its executive director.
This is the second time you’ve won this award. Last time it was for something different. Why embark on a new challenge?
I have been with The Center for Children and Families for more than six years. I am very passionate about the organization's mission, and knew that stepping into this role would allow me to be an even bigger part of furthering the work we do to help children and families in our community change their stories.
You joined an organization that was in turmoil and helped stabilize it and turn it around. What was that experience like?
The last year-and-a-half in my current role has been quite a roller coaster; however, the progress we have made towards being a healthy, sustainable organization was well worth it.
Were you worried you would fail?
Absolutely! I think there is always that fear in the back of anyone’s mind when embarking on a new adventure that they will fail, but I love a challenge. That being said, The Center would not be where it is today without the amazing team of passionate, dedicated individuals who both work and support The Center in various ways.
Why do you feel passionately about The Center for Children and Families?
I love the full family, trauma-informed approach we take to working with each and every individual that walks through our doors. I believe that true healing and growth is directly related to the relationships we build with others. The Center’s staff goes above and beyond to build healthy, lasting relationships that drive positive change for the families we work with.
With increasing demands on social services and limited funding, how do you maintain a positive outlook?
Maintaining a positive outlook can be difficult at times, so when I’m struggling I often look back on the last couple of years and remind myself of the great challenges our organization has faced and more importantly how we always persevered. I remind myself that there is always a solution to every challenge.
What is your vision for Billings in the next decade?
My vision for Billings is that as we continue to grow, the various social service agencies in town will have the adequate resources (funding and staffing) to keep up with the increasing demands on the services we provide. Unfortunately, this is not currently the case in our community or our state. Strong families create stronger communities and it is more important now than ever that every family has the opportunity to be healthy and strong. Without the adequate resources this will not be an option for all.
In your job it may be easy to be discouraged, how do you counteract that?
Ensuring I stay connected to the “why” of my job. I make it a point to stay involved in the daily operations of our organization so that I can be reminded of all the success our families achieve no matter how small or big.
You have succeeded in several different professional settings. What lessons are transferrable between the two settings?
Relationships are key. It is a rarity that administrative personnel have a background in working directly with the individuals its agency serves; however, I believe this experience is key to succeeding in a management role. In my previous roles, building relationships with the individuals I worked with was imperative to helping them achieve their goals. Because relationships are so important no matter what position you are in, I have prioritized continuing to build those healthy relationships built on a foundation of trust and support with the employees I oversee. It is amazing what an individual can achieve when they are able to thrive in a supportive environment and healthy organizational culture.
What was the last television series you binge-watched?
What advice would have you given to yourself at 13?
"No Matter what is going on in your life today, remember, it is only preparation. People come and go; situations rise and fall; it’s all preparation for better things. You must stretch, reach, grow into your goodness. Without the preparation we receive through adversity, disappointment, confusion, or pain, we could not appreciate the goodness when it arrives.” - Iyanla Vanzant