Doreen Acheampong

In honour of International Women’s Day, Ontario Shores is proud to highlight a few of its extraordinary women who lead and inspire each day as they dedicate their careers to changing views on mental health and helping those impacted by mental illness.

Doreen

Describe you career journey thus far? What led you to your current role?

Here at Ontario Shores, my career journey has been challenging yet so rewarding. Previously being a nurse on the floor, I loved partaking in any leadership opportunities. The opportunity to become PCF came up and I decided to take on the role. After two years of being in the role, I was encouraged to apply for the clinical manager position on the Forensic Rehabitation Unit. I knew it was time for me to move into the next phase of my career and so I decided why not? Although I was nervous as this was a huge step, looking back now, it was the right decision.

Do you have a connection to mental health that you would like to share? or What attracted you to working in the area of mental health?
It was my experience here as a consolidation student that drew me to mental health. I was given the opportunity to work with a patient who was being discharged into a group home after being in the hospital for many years. Together we had come up with a care plan and a discharge plan to ensure his success in the community. Finding out that he was given an absolute discharge thereafter was an amazing experience. From that point on, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.

What has prepared you the most for the role(s) you have had?
I believe having great manager and mentors around me.

What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given from a former leader, peer, or colleague?
The best piece of professional advice that I was given from a formal leader of mine was:

Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity—personally or professionally. Build good bridges even in that just-for-now job because you never know how they’ll weave into the larger picture

How do you balance your roles and responsibilities, both at work and outside of work (for example family, volunteer roles, or personal commitments)?
With so many demands on our time, it’s hard to be everything to everyone so for me it’s important to set priorities. As there are only 24 hours in a day, it’s important for me to remind myself about my values and set my priorities based on those values. Though work can be challenging and can spill into family life, I set to commit to leaving work at work in order to leave room for other obligations that are important to me such as family.

What are your self-care strategies?
A glass of wine every now and then, spa-day or massage at least once a month, or finding a good book to read.

What drives you in your career/role?
Naturally, I would consider myself quite an ambitious person and therefore having set goals is what drives me in this role.

What advice would you give someone looking to start working in mental health/your area of work?
One piece of advice I would give someone looking to start working in mental health is they must have a passion for it. Mental Health is an area that requires needed dedication and therefore if you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with as much conviction and passion.

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose”- one of my favourite quotes from T.D Jakes.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
A piece of advice I would give myself is “Don’t let your fear of things paralyze you”- unknown author

What is the best part about working at Ontario Shores?
The best part of working at Ontario Shores is how friendly the staff are. There is not a day that goes by where I am walking down the hallway and someone doesn’t wave hello even if it is a person I may not know. It is such an inviting atmosphere.

What/who is your biggest influence and why?
As much as this is a common answer, my mom is truly my biggest influence. A lot of it stems from the good values she instilled in my sister and I as well as seeing her work so hard in life. If my mom put her mind to something, she committed to completing it. She continues to remain one of the biggest support systems in my life and is one of the many reasons why I continue to work so hard.

Why is it important to recognize International Women’s Day?
I think it is important to recognize International Women’s Day because it is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. I think it also serves as an important reminder to keep striving for gender equality.

In what ways can women continue to support each other and life each other up?
I think women can support each other by being a shoulder to lean/cry on, being a voice for one and other, and being committed to teach one and other, as every woman brings about a different perspective or idea that can help one and other . It is important that we are each other’s cheer leaders.