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Women of RCA: Mission Center Supervisor Michele Tedesco

“Your needs and values are big pieces of who and how you are”

At the age of 16, Michele took her first job as a birthday party coordinator and quickly advanced to a management position. She eventually enrolled at West Chester University, majoring in pharmaceutical sales, but because of struggling with addiction, she withdrew from school. Michele took jobs waitressing and cleaning until she achieved sobriety in 2010. She ran an Italian restaurant as a single mother shortly after, but it was her goal to find an opportunity that would give her a better work-life balance so she could focus on her daughter during her teen years. A friend told her about a job opening at Recovery Centers of America in 2017 and suggested it would be a good fit for her. Michele never thought about working in the addiction recovery field, but took the leap and accepted the position. Within two years, she advanced to a leadership position in RCA’s Mission Center.

What does it mean to you to be a woman leader in the addiction recovery field?

Recovery is a template for navigating life, overcoming obstacles and setting and achieving goals.  My journey allows me to help other women have meaningful conversations with our patients and referents, paying close attention to how much personal information they chose to share from their own experience and utilizing evidence based facts to do their job well and effectively. The guidance and hope I able to give women in the addiction field is always centered around maintaining a work/life balance.   Specifically for those in recovery who are working a 12 Step program; continue to attend meetings, work with a sponsor, maintain spirituality and help the next person.

How have you overcome hurdles?

I have a fantastic sponsor and a good group of women through my 12 step program that I bounce ideas off of. I pray a lot. I meditate, practice self-care and helping others, and continuing to work a 12 step program. Whether you’re in recovery or not, I recommend to all women that they should meet and help other women. This practice helps me remain teachable, in turn, I ask a lot of questions. When overcoming obstacles I try to obtain as many facts as possible and make an informed decision or propose a solution based on factual information. This practice helps me remain teachable, in turn, I ask a lot of questions.  When overcoming obstacles I try to obtain as many facts as possible and make an informed decision or propose a solution based on factual information.

What would you say to the women who feel pressure to follow a specific timeline?

There isn’t always an A, B, or C choice in life. I always tell people – I live in today and I’m doing the best I can today. It’s out of my hands. I don’t know what my future holds and most people don’t. We’re all doing the best can. I tell this to all new moms: Focus on the present. Whatever I have planned for the next year is probably going to change anyway!

Why do you think it’s important for women to stick with their needs and values?

Our needs and values are what make us individuals and have helped us get to this point in our life. As women, we have different needs and values than men but we should never compromise those needs or what we believe in because we are women. Regardless of career path, we can accomplish our goals without compromising our beliefs and values. Our needs and values are what make us individuals and have helped us get to this point in our life.  As women, we have different needs and values than men but we should never compromise those needs or what we believe in because we are women.  Regardless of career path, we can accomplish our goals without compromising our beliefs and values.

What are things you’ve achieved that you once deemed impossible?

I am most grateful for the opportunity to rebuild relationships with family members and form friendships that are meaningful.  I also never thought I would be able to feel comfortable in my own skin.  Today I love who am becoming.  I am thankful for my past and excited for what my future holds.  I am blessed to work for a company where I believe in our mission and I am surrounded by individuals who want to help people change their lives and support career growth.  More personally I made it a goal this year to travel and so far, I’ve been to Colorado, Las Vegas, LA, and San Diego. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2020 but traveling is something I will continue to pursue.  Continuing to find a balance between my work life, spirituality, and personal endeavors.

Also, I made it a goal this year to travel and so far, I’ve been to Colorado, Las Vegas, LA, and San Diego. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2020 but traveling is something I will continue to pursue.

What is your advice to women early on in their careers?

Find a mentor and a good support system! People who will encourage you and give you direction, these are the people you want in your life.

 

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