Jessica Ives likes to keep an open perspective on all aspects of her life. “Nothing is ever just black and white and the truth is rarely how you see it. This perspective allows us to examine more, dig deeper and make the most of every situation,” explains the director of case management and community programs at Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Wilkes-Barre.
Ives leads several case management program teams which enrich families’ lives by providing parenting education, youth/family counseling to reduce out of home placement, and helps to create a safe environment for reunification of children and their families. In addition to these programs, she also supervises the non-violence programs, including Batterers Intervention Service, Anger Management, and Turning Points, a non-violence program for women, and the Telephone Crisis program of Helpline/211, a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365-day operation which provides information and referral as well as telephone crisis services. The young lady manages the organization’s social media and fosters the development department in planning annual events, including a National Family Week conference, a 5k and spring gala.
In the community she is on the board of directors for Rainbow Alliance and Dinners for Kids, also serving as board secretary. She is a chamber ambassador for the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce; on the advisory council for Junior Leadership Northeast; and a volunteer for Fork over Love.
A graduate of Wilkes University with a bachelor degree in psychology, she began her career in community mental health working with adults experiencing acute mental health issues, women who experienced trauma or interpersonal violence, and adults with intellectual disorders. She received her master of social work program from Temple University, and became licensed by the Commonwealth of PA as a Licensed Social Worker. She is currently in pursuit of her clinical licensure
“I have a passion for helping our community and social work, however, I also am dedicated to leadership development in the workplace, both for myself as well as those I mentor,” she explained.
Having had many professional mentors over the years, her greatest influential mentors have been the women in her life. “I have found wisdom from women from many ages, professions and passions- which have helped me to build a solid foundation in my professional career,” she noted, “I only hope to be a mentor to those women who walk my path in the future.”
Ives attributed her success from learning about hard work, possessing a great work ethic and having grit, from her parents. “I never stopped believing in what I wanted to do. I also believe in never making excuses. Adjustments, yes, excuses, no,” she said, “I promised myself a long time ago that if I were to find myself making excuses or taking the easy way out, I would re-evaluate my career goals and adjust appropriately.”
Ives also believes in embracing discomfort because it helps one to grow and build resilience. “Without discomfort, we could never truly appreciate joy and bliss,” she added.
She is supported by her husband, William, and son, William, 6; her parents, Robert and Doreen Woolfolk; her sister, Jamie Woolfolk; and her husband’s family, in addition to her colleagues and close friends who are also a tremendous support.
She is a member of Leadership Northeast, Class of 2020, and took part in the Executive Leadership Institute, University of Michigan & Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Program, 2018-2019.