Changing Lives Together

Employee Spotlight: Jenn Kernats

What is your job at Sheppard Pratt? 

I am a Senior Case Manager and Program Specialist for the Veterans Services Center. My job is to engage our homeless veteran population by helping identify barriers that are preventing them from becoming job-ready. Once those barriers have been identified, I provide resources to aid veterans and assist with job placement.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day includes intake, assessment, and collaborating with veterans to discuss their specific goals, needs, and desires for improving their lives and gaining employment. I also spend much of my time in the community, building relationships with employers and social services venues to help improve our resource base.

What do you enjoy most about working at Sheppard Pratt? 

I absolutely LOVE engaging with people, learning their culture and stories of what brought them to where they currently are. My daily motivation is allowing others to see that we are just human beings, just like them, and showing that I am invested in their success. 

What advice do you have for clients you see every day? 

Take your time with finding your passion. It is important to explore the reality that we may not always know what we want, but it is also important how it makes us, and others, feel.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend? 

When it is warm, go to the zoo with my family. When it is cold, watch movies and cook with my best friend and family. 

What has been your proudest moment at work? 

My proudest moment at work was when I felt like I was not making any difference in a Veteran’s life. His barriers were big, and I was trying so hard to help him explore things he may have not been so comfortable with. However, he said to me one day, “Thank you all for saving my life and helping me.” It really hit home that even the small things or efforts can prompt meaningful change for someone.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Work out, spend time with my family, and do schoolwork for my Master’s in Social Work.

Give us your life story in one paragraph.

My life story, well, I was adopted from Costa Rica as a baby, grew up in Columbia, MD with two great parents and my sister. I had children at an early age, learning life’s path was not as easy as I planned, but I persevered as a single mom and years later successfully raised six children with the help of my amazing husband. I am an Army Iraqi Veteran. I proudly served 16 years. I now continue my life with my family, including my two grandchildren, in Columbia, MD, with college, high school, and elementary kiddos in tow, enjoying parenthood and my future in social work.

Favorite place you have ever traveled? 

I LOVE ARUBA!!! I cannot get enough of it. 

What would you title the autobiography of your life? 

“Just when I thought…”

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet and why? 

Princess Diana- she was a humanitarian and even though she went against the grain of the “norm,” she did not care too much and was not afraid to be herself.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I would go on humanitarian missions around the world with my family.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? 

How to speak all languages in the world.

Three traits that define Jenn: