Amber Davis, LCSW began her Social Work career in 2011 as a Clinical Counselor at the Riverside County Office of Education Department for Alternative Programs and a Clinical Therapist trainee for Riverside County Department of Mental Health, Children’s Treatment Services. In 2013, Ms. Davis earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with an emphasis on micro practice services to children and adolescents who have experienced trauma, with a specialization in mental health from Cal State University, San Bernardino. Ms. Davis also has a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Criminal Justice Administration. In addition, Ms. Davis received a Mental Health Stipend Award for her ongoing pursuit in public mental health and service to individuals and families to jumpstart her career. In 2013, Ms. Davis became registered as an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW) with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) and began her post-graduate career working as a Wraparound Clinician. The scope of her career includes assessing, diagnosing and treatment, intensive in-home based services, psychotherapy, case management, organizational development and leadership. Ms. Davis is trained in the following Evidenced Based Practices: Seeking Safety, Motivational Interviewing, and Managing Adapting Practices (MAP). In 2016, Ms. Davis became licensed and is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the State of California. In 2017, Ms. Davis advanced in her career to a Program Coordinator position for Family Preservation to contribute in the providing of safety in child welfare. In 2018, Ms. Davis accepted an offer to Program Management where she currently manages in Drug Prevention and Mental Health treatment services.
Number of years in management: 9 months
Q 1.) Tell us about your path to management.
My path to management began in 2009, as an Intern Supervisor at an Emergency Shelter for runaway youth in crisis, Operation Safe House. During this time, the County of Riverside was developing coalitions to address the increased concern of Sexually Exploited Children. My involvement in this cause led me to begin developing needs assessments for this specialized population, providing case management services and further organizing youth development opportunities for vulnerable populations. At this time, I knew that I wanted to further my career in social services and contribute to capacity building to assist not only children and adolescents but all populations. After obtaining my Master of Social Work degree, my next assignment afforded me an opportunity to serve as a Mental Health Therapist for 5 years. Three of which were spent with SPIRITT Family Services where I am currently employed. In 2017, I accepted a promotion to Program Coordinator of Family Preservation expanding my work with now adults and families in a supervisory capacity. In 2018, I humbly accepted an offer to Program Manager of Comprehensive Prevention Services, Drug Medi-Cal, and CAPIT programs. This advancement has allowed me to tread new waters in the area of substance and domestic violence, thus expanding my professional growth. In short, there is a lot of growth in the field of social work and I aspire to learn everything.
Q 2.) What leadership qualities do you find to be the most effective in reaching your organizational or career goals?
There is a quote by Stephen Covey which states, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. This quote has resonated with me since the start of my services in the helping profession. One of the most effective qualities in leadership is to have a level of integrity in all that you do. It is also important to be a good communicator at all levels, and to strive to understand who you are, who others are, and how the two create synergy. What has assisted me in reaching my organizational goals is the passion behind my work, and the openness to continue challenging and evaluating myself.
Q 3.) How do you motivate your team members?
My objective in management is to be a servant leader. I believe motivation is best provided when the right tools, trainings, and support are in place to help one gain the success and insight they are needing to thrive. As a partner, I will never ask my staff to do anything I am not willing to first do myself. I recognize that everyone is motivated differently, and it is my duty to identify their strengths and help them to feel valued and empowered.
Q 4.) Is there a leader or mentor who has inspired or assisted you along your professional journey?
I would like to say that I have learned many qualities from multiple supervisors, managers, and colleagues during my professional journey. The toughest of them showed me that you can find strengths out of any struggle or shortcoming. The teachers taught me to never stop learning and to be open to new possibilities. The directors poured into me an attitude of determination and leadership, and the coaches have helped me to be more flexible and secure in my individualism. Through my professional career, I would like to say every interaction that I have experienced in and out of the office has been beneficial to my professional development.
Q 5.) How has networking impacted your career?
Networking is all about making connections. It’s one of the most vital tools in developing professionally. Networking has impacted my career in that it has helped to increase my awareness of services provided across setting, make connections with valuable professional and contribute to the continuity of care for the clients and families being served.
Q 6.) What advice do you have for those beginning their professional journey or who are already in leadership positions?
In all that you do, never stop being a student! Learning is an ongoing experience therefore, you must be okay with making mistakes. Learn all you can and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, that’s where your growth begins. Do not limit your possibilities! Sometimes you may enter into an area of new territory, try it out, there’s a lesson to be learned in every opportunity.
Q 7.) What do you wish you had known before you started your career?
In this field you must be willing to trust the process. I began this field thinking that I would be able to fix whatever barriers I encountered in direct practice. I learned rather quickly that helping others required more than quick book solutions. Most of all, I learned that there is a level of authenticity and transparency needed to motivate and elicit change in others. I also learned that the foundation of any good helping professional is first in the building of relationships. My clients, co-workers, and supervisors have helped me in areas necessary for my growth and success in my career.
Q 8.) Where can people reach you for questions (social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, e-mail or phone)?
*The views expressed herein are those solely of the author and not necessarily endorsed by the Network for Social Work Management.