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Employee Spotlight: Tania

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Looking back on her childhood, Tania reminisced about days spent each year at Evergreen Goodwill’s flagship Dearborn store and the intricate role it played in her life.

“As a kid, my mom was a single mom, and so every year we would come down to the Dearborn store and shop for back-to-school,” Tania said.

Tania’s Goodwill journey has since come full circle. She now serves as the center manager for the Snohomish County Job Training and Education Center (JTEC).

“When I first came to Goodwill, I was so excited when I got the job,” Tania said.

After spending time in Japan leading an English conversation school for children and adults, Tania decided to move back home to the United States; however, it was 2008 and amid a recession – making for a less-than-ideal time to be searching for a job.

After some persistence, she began her career with Goodwill nearly 14 years ago, starting with a small but mighty staff of just two employees at the then Marysville JTEC.

Through the years, the Marysville JTEC grew to a staff of more than a dozen people. After the center transformed to serve area youth programs, Tania moved into her current role at the Snohomish County JTEC in Everett.

When asked what has kept her with Evergreen Goodwill all these years, she says it’s about the visible impact both she and her colleagues see firsthand every day.

“We call that heart medicine around here,” Tania said. “It’s the reason why we get to go to work.”

She recalled one individual, in particular, whose story resonated with her on a deeper level.

Tania said she remembered vividly when this woman came into her center looking for assistance and eager to change her life.

The woman then enrolled in Job Training and Education’s Customer Service Essentials class and has since developed a career for herself in that industry.

After some time passed, Tania said the woman returned to her center, saying “that day when I cried in your office, it changed everything for me.”

Tania said those kinds of stories are what keep her going.

“You just don’t know who you’re going to help,” said Tania.

Describing the special attention she gives to each student who walks through the doors of the Snohomish County JTEC, Tania said her experience living and working in Japan gave her an added perspective and lens of compassion.

“I have a lot of empathy for non-native English speakers,” Tania said. “I know what it’s like to come to a new country and not know where anything is and be afraid to ask questions.”

She says both she and her colleagues have also made a point to partake in active listening when it comes to hearing the needs of their students.

“Our biggest thing is we listen, we don’t judge, we just listen,” Tania said.

Looking to the future, Tania says she is looking forward to working with Evergreen Goodwill’s Mission team to continue developing and expanding the organization’s Job Training and Education Programs to create opportunities that help meet the needs of employees with the Goodwill team.

“I really hope that Goodwill becomes that gold standard [with] thrift stores and retail and social enterprise,” Tania said. “I really am looking forward to the changes, so we can be helping more employees.”

She sees herself continuing to grow her team in Snohomish County and furthering the community partnerships she’s helped establish that support the center – all while working to help her center’s students achieve their goals.

“I really love Goodwill,” said Tania. “I don’t see myself going anywhere.”

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