How would you describe an area manager’s typical day?
I’m eager to start the day by going to my home office, examining the reports and the variety of events our teams are implementing. Working with all the ambassadors and hosting events is incredibly enjoyable for me.
Today, I’m calling members with COPD and giving them information and resources. I navigate their energy to see if they want information or just need to talk with someone. It’s challenging for people to understand that we are here to help with their health plans, provide support, and inform people about fun activities.
I was planning to start with lighter questions. Would you tell me one of your hurdles?
Do you really want to know?
Yes, I do.
You have no idea.
I‘m listening. (By the way, she was right, I had no idea.)
“I would like for this world to be a salad,” Chiquela said referencing the fact she would like to see less division in the world.
Two different groups were intending to attend my event. Very different. Let’s simply say they represented two very diverse groups politically. You also need to understand this occurred at the height of the political divide. I had to navigate this thoughtfully. It was suggested to me that I consider hosting two separate groups, but this didn’t sit well with me.
What did you do?
I strategized about how I could link these two groups together. And it came to me – the two strongest personalities had Diabetes. I wanted to go beyond skin color, politics, and economics – and talk about health. I let them know I was there to support them, to provide resources, and enjoy socializing in the process.
I started distributing information about Diabetes. One man (aligned with one of the politically divided groups, we’ll call him Sean) was supposed to get his feet checked for Diabetes. He hadn’t had them checked for months. The other man said, “You need to get your feet checked.” (We’ll call him Max for the sake of anonymity. He was from the opposing political faction.) They bantered back and forth a bit – No I don’t, yes you do. Then Max said to the man, “Stop that, I have Diabetes too.” It came right from the heart. Then, as he let Sean know why he needed to get his feet checked, all the members supported the need to get his feet checked. Max ended the conversation by saying, “It doesn’t matter what side you’re on – if you don’t get your feet checked, we’ll both be on the same side – in wheelchairs.”
Sean got his feet checked.
The amazing thing, in my opinion, is how much the groups like getting together regularly, both at our meetings and even on their own with fishing trips.
“Mission accomplished, they are a salad,” Chiquela says with a sparkle in her eyes. “Everyone is unique and has something to offer. Mixed altogether we make it better – we make a salad,” she explains.
Secretly, I wanted to give her a standing ovation but kept asking questions. What did you think of this?
“I kept seeing the future vision of a cohesive, supportive group,” Chiquela said. “Our groups have one thing in common – amazing people – who participate in our activities and want to know their neighbors in their community.”
What advice do you have for someone new taking on a role like yours?
“Be honest and lead with your heart.”
At Wider Circle, everyone has open arms. You can chat with a peer or the CEO. Wider Circle really puts people first. We use the heart approach with everyone… I love Wider Circle’s heart.
Chiquela has a background as an executive chef and enjoys cooking for her family, catering, and cooking for events. She is extremely family oriented. Chiquela has 10 nephews and nieces, and she has played a significant role in the lives and upbringing of two of her nephews who have autism.
If the world is a salad, Chiquela is the beautiful bowl that holds the community together with strength and kindness.