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Jodi Gregory

Crisis Worker

Why did you choose Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area?

I became a Family Support Worker while attending Judson University in 2003. I chose it then because it was close and let’s just say I didn’t have the best car to be traveling long distances. It was a fantastic opportunity to get my feet wet in the field. I knew my current role was “meant to be” when my former supervisor, Tina Houdek, said she had just filled her last position the previous day, but she had literally just gotten off the phone and said there was one more Crisis Worker position available to complete our very first formal crisis team at FSA. I chose FSA again because I appreciated the heartfelt, quality care we provide to our clients and the familial atmosphere.

If you had to give a 2-minute elevator speech on what you do every day, what would you say?

I would explain what the acronym “SASS” (Screening, Assessment & Support Services) stood for and provide reassurance that in spite of this title, I am not “sassy” (most days). I would explain how Crisis Workers are privileged to be with people on some of their most difficult days. When a crisis call comes in, I go to the location of the client (hospital, home, school, detention center) and provide a risk assessment considering several domains. I serve as a liaison on behalf of the family to help collaborate and provide the best care needed/desired between schools, hospitals, other agencies etc and also provide case management/follow-up care.

What is the best part of working in the mental health field?

Seeing individuals and families go through such difficult circumstances and yet rise again day after day is inspiring. Sitting with individuals and families in crisis really shows the most beautiful and the least beautiful parts of who we can be as humans. I am thankful for the opportunity to walk with people through their journey.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The moments I sense the bravery, hard work and skills/gifts of the people I work with matching up with my gifts to provide assistance along their journey are my favorite. It happened again tonight, I’m thankful to say! The moment came as a young lady softened her heart to recognize her need. It came, surprisingly enough, after she learned of the frog in a boiling pot of water analogy. She chose to jump out of her metaphorical pot!

Who has had the most influence on your work career?

It is difficult to name just one person who has influenced my work career as my coworkers and supervisors have all left their significant imprints upon me and my career. But my longest term immediate supervisor at FSA, Amanda Rankin, seemed to pose great questions when I came to her for help. This often helped me develop a framework to conceptualize the larger picture. Also, she gave subtle clues that showed her own excitement/approval of my career path choice which encouraged me to continue my formal education and press forward in the mental health field.

What is your favorite quote?

“Normal is just a setting on a dryer.” And high honorable mention goes to the young boy who was about to bite into his cheeseburger when I asked him if he had Asperger’s. A contorted, mortified with disgust facial expression formed and he paused and looked at his cheeseburger and then at me and said definitively, “Ewww. No, I don’t eat those.”

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

My Dad, Gary Watchek. He and my mom divorced when I was about 2 and he passed away when I was about 11. I never got to know him or have a conversation that I remember and I would love that opportunity.

People would be surprised if they knew…

I sleep with my eyes open, I do not have the sense of smell, and I have seven brothers and sisters.

If you could pick a superpower what would it be?

To be so content with myself and situation, that if offered a superpower for real, I’d turn it down cold. Now that would be a super-duper power! But in the true spirit of the question, I think I would want to teleport instantly or be able to have super speed so that I could be with my loved ones who live far away instantly.

Favorite Food?

Pizza, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Fudge.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Turkey Testicle

What is the most interesting place that you’ve visited?

When I played Basketball for Judson, we went on a Trip to the Dominican Republic. There we visited a residential home where corporal punishment and unusual methods of discipline were used that would be illegal in the United States.

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