Formerly Berkeley Food & Housing Project
For this Employee Spotlight, we are featuring Fatima Fuentes, Roads Home Senior Program Manager, for the Bay Area Region. We had the opportunity to chat with Fatima about her life and career, and what she likes about working at BFHP.
Fatima takes her two dogs, Mozzarella and Timbs, out hiking whenever she can. Their favorite place to go is Pinole Park.
Why do you choose to work in the social services field?
I’ve always loved to help people. I was someone who didn’t have a ton of help myself, so I want to provide that help to others. I like to make sure people are heard and help them in what ever way I can.
Tell us about your career at BHFP
I started in 2018 as Housing Navigator. I quickly learned about the needs and challenges of the population we serve, I was quickly promoted to Case Manager, which was what I really wanted to do. I worked in that role for about two years. I interviewed for a Program Manager position and was accepted in January 2021 and by November 2021, I was promoted to Senior Program Manager. It is really a testament to the growth of the Roads Home program to be able to provide that kind of opportunity. If you show what you’re made of, BFHP will provide those opportunities for career growth.
What is your favorite thing about working for BFHP?
My favorite part is helping people, clients and staff! I want the clients to get the services that I would want to receive. I like for my staff be heard also and have their needs are met. I like to see my staff grow and become more confident in their work and take on more responsibility. Sometimes you just need to give people a little push and they realize that they can do more and achieve more.
What advice would you give to someone looking to go into social services as a profession?
I would say, find it rewarding to acknowledge even small successes. What may not seem like a success to you, may be to someone else. I work with clints who have been outside for 20+ years, so even having them stay in a hotel for one night might be a success. Even picking up the phone to call us might be a success. We don’t always get the big wins, but even though it may be small to us it can be so big to the client.
What motivates you every day?
I always see things that can be improved upon. I consider myself almost as a customer service representative. I put the client’s needs first, but the only way to do that is to support my staff, and also the leadership team.
What is your biggest success story of 2021?
I found great pride in hiring a particular staff person. This person is an amazing Case Manager and has demonstrated the type of leadership abilities needed in a program like this. She goes above and beyond to serve her clients. She’s an advocate to the core. She also supports the other staff and models how we want to provide services.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about people. I coach little league soft ball, and I see the same thing there as I do with my staff at work. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of training to build someone’s confidence and help them move forward. Being able to see people become empowered is really rewarding.
Do you have any pets?
I have a boarder collie mix named Mozzarella who loves to play Frisbee and a chihuahua named Timbs, because he’s the same color as a Timberland boot.
Tea or coffee? Or another favorite beverage.
Tea! Mint or green.
Where do you consider “home”?
My family is from Nicaragua, and my heart is still there. When I retire, I plan to move back there to help and support my family, but right now, anywhere where my daughter is, is home.
On a day off, what would we find you doing?
I get up early and I take my dog for a hike. Point Pinole Park is our favorite spot. After that maybe lunch with a friend and some thrift store shopping.
What is your favorite ice cream?
Tillamook Caramel Swirl.
What is your go to comfort food?
Butter chicken with naan.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I can be really hard on myself, so I got this advice from a coworker, she said stop and remind yourself “I am enough.”
What is your go to activity for relaxation or to decompress?
I meditate daily, I need to in order to do this work and take care of myself. I also like to read and journal.
Join our team! bfhp.org/careers