“We have to fight for what we want! Make the most of it.”
Tami Moylan, Interventionist at Recovery Centers of America, began her early career as a partner in a successful clock sales and service company in Paoli, Pa. Tami never envisioned she would one day work in the field of substance use disorder treatment, but after watching her mother battle this horrific disease for over two decades, she eventually found her true passion and calling. Tami learned of Recovery Centers of America in 2016 and began her career in this field as a Care Advocate in the RCA’s Mission Center. She quickly realized she had an affinity for working with the families seeking help for their loved ones. She became intensely interested in the field of intervention. With the guidance and encouragement of senior interventionist, Rob Strauber, Tami continued to work full time in the Mission Center while pursuing, first, her certification as a Certified Family Recovery Specialist, CFRS, and then her ultimate goal, Certified Intervention Professional, CIP. Tami feels strongly that families are the silent and forgotten victims of this disease and this is her way to give back and help those experiencing what she herself experienced first-hand.
What does it mean to you to be a woman leader in the addiction recovery field?
I have always believed that it is important to give back and to share your talents and knowledge with others. I have never really viewed myself as a “woman leader,” but rather as a mentor. When I can assist or provide guidance, I will do it. I am especially passionate about supporting and mentoring younger employees. I also believe that at RCA we are in this for one reason; to save lives. We all may have different reasons for being here, but we all are in this together. I am a mom, a prior business owner, as well as the daughter of someone who struggled with substance use disorder. I use all of this in my role as an interventionist.
What kind of advice would you give to women early in their careers?
Find your passion, follow it and don’t ever give up! At twenty, I could never have imagined that someday I would be working as an Interventionist. After working in the call center and speaking to patients and their families daily, I realized that my heart was in intervention. I started pursuing this role at forty seven. I am now fifty years old and it took a great deal of persistence to get here. I would tell other women to believe in yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. Find people who you admire and respect and ask them to mentor you. Throughout my life, I never stop learning and I was not afraid to take a chance. I am amazed at where it led me. If I didn’t apply to be a care advocate, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now as an interventionist. There are amazing opportunities available at RCA. Where you start here may not be where you end up. At RCA, if you show interest in learning, you will be supported.
How do you help support other women here at RCA?
I believe in always making myself available for anyone at RCA who needs help and I will never turn someone away if they have a question. I also am a firm believer in praising people for doing something well. The care advocate role is high pressure and the people in that role are the front line for everything that we do here at RCA. I always make myself available to answer questions, because I know what it is like to be in that role. I let the advocates know when they have done something well. We all need that positive feedback and reinforcement.
What hurdles as a woman have you encountered along the way?
Some people have questioned whether I could fully commit to a demanding career because I have children, or if I can handle this field because there is so much emotion involved. These are typical stereotypes associated with women. In this role and at RCA, having emotions can be a positive. You need a big heart to work in this field, particularly in intervention, and our patients and their families know if you are sincere in wanting to help them. In our field, you cannot fake concern. On the plus side, there are many talented women in substance treatment related careers, and they are needed!
Why do you think it is important for women to stick to their needs and values in personal life and career life?
I have always been true to myself and comfortable with my decisions. In my Interventionist role, I sometimes struggle with healthy boundaries. I am working with families who are dealing with things they never expected and are heartbroken that their loved one is struggling with substance use disorder. It can be difficult to take a step back and disconnect from them. I have a family, too. For me it is about finding work life balance and it is not always easy. I’ve learned to take time for myself and regroup.
What are your thoughts about following a timeline in life?
I am not one for following a timeline. My experience has been that if you create a timeline and try to follow it too closely, you can miss out on opportunities. I am so grateful that I followed my passion. Following my passion has not always been easy but I ended up where I am supposed to be. I should be twenty plus years into a career, maybe even planning for retirement. Instead of staying in a job and playing it safe, I walked out of my comfort zone and walked into the call center. Three years later, I am in a role that I love and where I am supposed to be. I would tell other women to follow your instincts because they can lead you were you actually should be. We have to fight for what we want! Make the most of it.