I grew up in a small town east of Muncie, IN called Farmland. I attended Ball State University, obtaining my Bachelor of Science. I later attended Indiana Wesleyan, obtaining my Master of Business Administration.
How long have you worked for Aspire?
I have worked at Aspire (formerly the Center for Mental Health) for nine and a half years.
What positions have you held with Aspire?
I began my career here as the grant manager. Later I was promoted to the Controller and maintained this position until the Center for Mental Health and BehaviorCorp merged to form Aspire in 2009, at which time I became the Director of Strategic Initiatives.
Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?
I oversee HIV, Housing and Payee Service and provide grants management.
What does a typical day as the Director of Strategic Initiative look like?
My typical day involves rainbows and butterflies! Ahem…a day may involve planning or attending meetings, reconciling HUD financials, billing various grants, approving client social security requests, staff supervision, and networking with community stakeholders.
What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?
My master’s degree has given me a sense of accomplishment; it was the degree that helped me affirm my future direction. I’ve been extremely blessed by the executive staff at Aspire, who have mentored me to understand that leadership goes beyond goals, and requires establishing relationships with others.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working in this field, I would be a missionary serving underprivileged children in third world countries.
What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?
At my previous job, a for-profit business, I remember sitting at my desk thinking ‘there has got to be more’. I sought a career where I could grow and develop as a leader and as a person. Aspire has provided me the venue to learn more about my abilities and grow as a leader.
What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?
Despite the fact that my degree and prior work experience didn’t involve mental health, I feel my prior experience with my mother has helped me understand those that we serve, as well as appreciate all the hard work that clinical staff do each day.
What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?
My husband and I serve as youth directors at our church. Spending time and mentoring the youth helps me to remember not to take life so seriously and laugh more! Also, I enjoy exercise classes such as Zumba, Hot Yoga, and various other cardio classes.
Melissa Stayton is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Ms. Stayton, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana. You can also follow her on Twitter @MelissaStayton.