Changing Lives Together

Employee Spotlight: Juanita Coleman

Juanita Coleman, Peer Support Specialist, helps and encourages clients on their recovery journeys. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I am self-driven and motivated to be a beacon of light for those navigating through the darkness of addiction and mental illness.

Q: What does a typical workday look like for you?

A: Peer support specialists use our experiences with addiction, mental illness, or trauma to help others on their recovery journey. My day is spent helping clients enroll in the program. This involves collecting data, perfor­ming assessments, and, when necessary, sharing my own story as a form of encouragement.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Sheppard Pratt? 

A: I enjoy working with a diverse group of people who have different skills but are able to come together and operate as a single entity to achieve a common goal.

Q: What advice do you have for clients who feel like there’s no hope? 

A: If you can find the strength to conjure up hope, you have taken the first step.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: Spend as much time as possible with my family.

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

A: Billie Holiday. Even though she suffered with drug addiction and mental illness, she continued to bless everyone around her with her soulful, Grammy Award-winning voice that left a great impact on the world.

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

A: I would learn quilt making. I love Black history. I enjoy the fascinating stories about how slaves memorized the different patterns on quilts to guide them safely to freedom. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment at work?

A: Being able to encourage a client to participate in fostering their own mental wellness. 

Q: What would you title the autobiography of your life? 

A: Lady Lotus: A Story of Survival and the Will to Live. I chose this title because the lotus flower submerges every night into mud and murky waters which I relate to as the equivalent of my trials and trauma but it emerges every morning clean, beautiful, and intact.

Three Traits That Define Juanita