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New director looks toward future of agency

FAIRMONT — Human Services of Faribault and Martin County is facing a time of positive transition, as the agency looks forward to the leadership new Executive Director Chera Sevcik. Sevcik will be coming into the position to replace outgoing director Kathy Werner. Both Werner and Sevcik share some of the working details of the position, as well as their perspectives on the agency.

Werner shares her history with the agency.

“I’ve been at the agency for 39 years,” Werner said. “Actually I came back once, I was hired part time to start with and then I left and came back to the agency as an account technician. So I came in on the fiscal side of things and I had different jobs throughout the years and became the director in 2011.

“The responsibility of the director is to oversee all the programs, so you have to have good management skills because you can’t possibly know everything. I enjoy all the staff I work with between the Fairmont and Blue Earth offices. They do a lot of interesting jobs and help a lot of people.”

Sevcik then shared her history, primarily in the field of public health.

“I have a Master’s Degree in Community Health from Minnesota State in Mankato,” she said. “So my background has always been in the public health aspect. I started working here in the agency ten years ago and started out coordinating the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership or SHIP grant. Then five years ago our community health manager retired after a long tenure and I took her position.

“Now with Kathy’s transition I was recruited to take over as the executive director. I’ve been working in these counties for about ten years and I’ve done a lot of community partnerships and organizing, and am on different types of boards. We’re starting a new coalition that’s going to be focused on addressing some of the top health issues impacting our community, and so I’m leading a lot of that effort.”

Sevcik also shared what she’s looking forward to as some of her new responsibilities.

“We have a twelve member board, and it’s my responsibility to serve at their pleasure and direct the activities for Health and Human services. I also get to manage the plethora of changes that come from the Department of Human Services. I’ll be overseeing a 131 person staff on everything from mental health to chemical dependency, social services, and public health.

“I will also be continuing as the direct manager for public health because that’s my area of expertise. But I will also be planning, managing the budget, and all the things that come with being a director.”

Werner shared that she is looking forward to what Sevcik will do in the position.

“We come from different areas of study, but the management piece is the people part,” said Werner. “She’ll do a good job and we’ll turn it over to the next generation and let them go at it.”

Sevcik also noted that while the amount of constant changes can seem daunting, she sees it as an exciting challenge.

“In my last ten years, the amount of changes have been really amazing. Some of it is great, and some of it is challenging to work through, but we always find a way to make it happen. If you don’t like change, this isn’t the field for you.”

Sevcik shared that community outreach in particular has piqued her interest.

“I’m really looking forward to strengthening our relationships with different community partners. People don’t always understand what happens in Health and Human Services, and what we do here.”

Finally Sevcik notes that she is excited to see the agency move forward into the future.

“We have a very dedicated staff, they are always looking for ways to reach out and help the community. So it gets me really excited to think about the “what ifs” and I’m not afraid of social media and different mediums for taking the agency in a new direction. I’m excited to take on is position and see what the future holds.”

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