Tell me a little about yourself – your background and your education.
I’m a lifelong resident of Anderson, Indiana. I thought I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher or a nurse, but ended up taking another path in life and I am very grateful that I did. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Anderson University and Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
How long have you worked for Aspire?
I started working for Aspire in August 2000.
What positions have you held with Aspire?
I’ve been with the HIV program for the entire time I’ve worked here. I started as the first HIV Care Coordinator with the organization, then the HIV Program Supervisor, and currently the HIV Program Manager.
Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?
As the HIV Program Manager, I believe that I have one of the best jobs at Aspire. Every day is different and I have been fortunate enough to meet some really amazing people in the years that I have been here.
Currently, I supervise 15 staff in four different locations. I also do some grant writing with our grant writer, assemble and submit quarterly reports for the State, participate in the Indiana Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Services Planning and Advisory Council (CHSPAC) and the Ryan White Part A Planning Council, attend various community meetings, plan team meetings and trainings, and monitor our program’s budgets.
What does a typical day as a Manager of HIV Services look like?
That’s a good question. I don’t think there is a “typical” day. I spend a lot of time traveling—with offices in Lafayette, Anderson, Muncie, and Richmond, a lot of my time is spent on the road. I also monitor our program’s budgets and perform quality assurance activities. I attend a variety of community meetings, problem solve with the team members, talk with our consumers, staff cases with the team, and work to ensure that the program runs smoothly, and that our consumers’ needs are being met.
Most recently, my days have been spent learning everything I can about the Affordable Care Act and the Marketplace and answering questions from staff and consumers.
What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?
I’d say it’s probably the “Stages of Change Model” developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. Having a basic understanding this model has been very helpful throughout my career.
Outside of formal education, I’d say patience. Things don’t always work on the timeline that I would like for them to, but things eventually work out. This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned in my current role.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
I would love to be a massage therapist or an artist. I don’t have the skills for either.
What is it that drew you to the field of mental health and HIV?
Most of my immediate family has worked in the mental health field, in one capacity or another, so I think Social Work is in my blood. I’ve always had a love for science and health and thought I wanted to be a nurse. Learning the story of Ryan White, his strength and life wisdom, and the battle he fought just to be a “normal kid” really spoke to me. I also remember spending some time with my family at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland while my dad was being treated for a brain tumor in the early 1990’s. I first saw the panels of the AIDS Quilt there, and I was completely awestruck. I knew then that I somehow wanted to work in the field of HIV, but I really didn’t know what the options were at that time.
What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?
I am very lucky to work for such an exciting program with Aspire. The work that our HIV team does every day inspires me to be a better leader. We have such an amazing team of talented workers within the HIV Program, and I feel it is the entire HIV team that has such a positive, supportive impact on our clients.
What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?
I love music—I always have music playing. I love to laugh and be silly. I try to meditate daily. I try to learn something new from every experience and I look for the beauty in every day. I really try to keep a positive outlook. But most importantly, I love spending time with my family and really cherish the times when my kids are home and we can all spend time together, even if it’s spent just watching TV.
Julie Foltz is the Manager of HIV Services for Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Ms. Foltz, you can learn more about Aspire’s HIV Services at https://www.facebook.com/AspireHIVAIDSCare. You can also follow Ms. Foltz on Twitter @JulieAnneFoltz.