Providing services for adults with disabilities.

(530) 242-8580

Thriving in a Post-Pandemic World

By Tammi Gill

March of 2020 almost feels like a vague dream now in the beginning months of 2023. The world stopped and nothing was business as usual. Our schools shut down, our businesses, our office buildings, our gyms, our places of worship, our sporting events, our family gatherings, and all our moments of connection beyond our four walls became nearly nonexistent.  Whether we were working tirelessly to diligently find coverage for all our clients or working in the field with new precautions and giving extra care for those who felt nervous or scared. Whether we were figuring out how to suddenly be a teacher to our kids or navigate multiple zoom meetings a day, we were surviving. We were navigating the unknown and treading through fear daily. We were taking care of our families and doing our best to make sense of what was ahead of us without fully understanding the months that would stretch out before us. We were on a broken record of survival mode. We were not thriving. 

Taking pieces

The pandemic took pieces of us in some ways. It took our joy for some days. It took our hope some days. It may have taken your job or sense of security. It may have taken the connection you found in weekly church meetings. It may have taken your Friday night dinners with friends. It may have taken your theatre and concert outings. It may have taken your sense of community or sense of adventure. It may have taken a family member or a friend. It may have taken too much.

Losing Dad

It took my dad from me; it took him too soon. He was 64, healthy and full of life when he ended up on a ventilator in the ICU because of complications with Covid. He passed away on August 2, 2021. He was a pastor and ran a drug rehab house and food pantry ministry for the homeless and needy for 27 years. He did so much good in the world and left a legacy to be proud of. He was the best Dad and Papa and losing him was the hardest thing I had ever faced. The grief some days was all consuming. The best I could do was get up and move forward. I was in a perpetual loop of survival and at the time it felt like it would always feel that way. I realized early on how important it was to show up for the ones I loved and to be present even on the hardest days. But I couldn’t imagine a time that I would thrive again. I couldn’t imagine that I would find deep meaningful joy in life again, that I would flourish. That I would grow where I was planted and turn my face towards the sun and feel deep thankfulness.

Thrive is the word

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Maya Angelou

In January of 2023 our amazing marketing team at Compass met for some reflection on the year behind us and dreams for the year ahead of us. We took some time to think about a word we felt best encapsulated the year we hoped for. I pondered a lot of words, and I kept coming back to the word THRIVE. It was an unexpected word for me, but it played over in my mind in bold letters. Could I really thrive in all my roles? Could I grow and flourish amid any circumstance in life? Could I grow deep roots where I am planted and thrive in all the seasons in life?


I decided then and there to embrace the word for my life this year and to intentionally choose to thrive daily in my role at Compass and in my family life. Thriving to me means having faith in trying times (see Sadie’s related vlog). Thriving to me means health and wholeness in my spirit, soul, and body. Thriving to me means continually growing and learning in my professional roles and family roles. Thriving to me means giving to those around me with deep seeded joy and security in who I was created to be. Thriving to me means helping others and speaking hope into people who feel forgotten. Thriving to me means being a wife, mom and friend who shows up, with sincerity and connection. Thriving to me means adventure with the ones I love and having true joy even on days I feel sad. The sun came out the other day after many rainy days and I really did turn my face towards the sun and feel deep thankfulness.


“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” Jamais Cascio

Others thriving

I asked some of our wonderful staff and clients what it means to them to thrive in their role at Compass and how they have grown this year, and these are their responses.

Joe Brewer from our Redwood Coast region gave his thoughts on his professional growth, and what he’s observed with a client:

Over the last year, my time at Compass has been a grand investment into me as a person, husband, and leader. More than a year and half ago, I was a Case Facilitator in the San Jose office. Under the mentorship of Amanda Hunt, I had the honor of her teaching me in many aspects. Through Amanda’s mentorship, I was able to develop myself to become eligible for a promotion at Compass. I was honored to transfer to RCRC as the SLS Supervisor. I learned that I needed to grow my capacity even more so that I can support this region to higher mountains. With the mentorship of Michele Gilbertson, I gained trust, partnership, and leadership in this region. Now, my team of Case Facilitators and I are firing on 8 pistons, not 4. Our teamwork is making huge differences in the lives of the entire community.”

Joe also had this to say about the growth of one of our clients on the­ coast:

“Jeremy, a dedicated gentleman in Redwood Coast Region, is an example of perseverance and partnership. Jeremy happens to live in an apartment complex that is infested with unwanted house guests, like cockroaches. This has had a negative impact in Jeremy’s life for a long time. Before Jeremy transitioned into SLS at Compass, Jeremy was doing his best in adapting his house to battle these cockroaches. He was in constant anxiety over his living condition. Jeremy felt as if his apartment complex was ignoring his requests for help. He worked countless hours while on Natural Support and SLS support to move everything away from his walls. Now, Jeremy’s apartment is back to normal with all the furniture as it should be. . Jeremy’s mental health has improved significantly. He even baked the office admin team some cookies! Jeremy’s heart is full of Generosity, love, and excitement. Jeremy continues to receive empowerment from his team to follow his dreams and goals. Jeremy is happy now. Jeremy has built and maintained his Circle of Support and is active in the community. The value of Community is alive and well within him. What a thrill and honor it is to walk alongside Jeremy as he exemplifies a thriving life.”

Cassandra Sales also gave us insight about her growth and that of a client:

“Compass supported me through encouragement and scholarships to be able to attend Simpson University with my bachelor’s degree in psychology in Spring 2023. That journey not only supported my professional growth and a promotion to ILS Program Manager, but also has challenged me to go after what more is possible in my personal life. For a client who is thriving, Nikolas Clinton in RCEB will be graduating with his bachelor’s degree from CSU East Bay and with a degree in Psychology in Spring 2023. Our destination is the same, our journey different, but our support from Compass always helping us propel forward.”

A former ILS life coach Andi Shugars, recently promoted to ILS scheduler, spoke about her growth this year:

“It is an adjustment, but I am confident and excited in my new role as Schedule Assistant. Everyone has been super helpful and informative, which makes the transition from life coach to an administrative role very welcoming.  I have grown so in the last year because one year ago this month I was hired as a life coach. I have learned many skills and techniques that have made it possible for class to thrive with their individual goals. I have become more passionate about creating opportunities for others. By doing this, I created an opportunity for myself to grow professionally and I’m now the first ever Schedule Assistant for the Redding office. I am excited for what is in store for me in the next year with Compass.”

Our new Marketing Assistant, Samuel Bowman, also shared his thoughts:

“I am thriving at Compass because my role gives me a creative outlet. Compass is helping me to grow in my communication skills and my organizing skills.”

Leslie Henry, a Team Builder in our Recruitment department, spoke sincerely about her growth this year:

“I feel I have thrived in large part to working in an environment where people are FOR ONE ANOTHER not against.  It’s the first job I have had where people truly care and cheer you on throughout your work week and then ask you how your week went via check in and entrée leadership. Granting us time to self-reflect on our week. I have also grown strong in time management and calendaring and in prioritizing hires and the virtual world of interviewing and connecting through a computer screen. Tomorrow is 1 year as a TB and I feel like I have at least scratched the surface of the position but I know there will be much more to learn and more to grow in year 2”

Debbie Decillis, a new Life Guide at our sister company Options had this to say:

“I am thriving in Options with direct one on one working relationships! I am focusing on honoring those in my life best out of caring first for myself best. It is truly easier to bring your best self when your cup is full! I also enjoy the family I am connected with and the team I am getting to know.  Looking forward to this season of life and career.”

There are so many more stories like this in the Compass community; stories of growth, stories of people choosing to live their best life and to dream bigger than they ever thought they could, for both our staff and our clients, stories of people who see opportunities instead of limitations, who see creative solutions instead of problems to be fixed. Compass is a place to grow, to thrive and to lift others up in their journey.

Trees thrive

The definition of “thrive” in Websters dictionary is this: “To grow vigorously: flourish; to prosper; to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.

Trees thrive in good soil. Their roots grow strong, and their crowns grow full of healthy green leaves.  Strong roots anchor a tree in the ground providing all the nutrients it needs to thrive. A tree in good soil is a thriving tree. You could say the same for people: when we choose the right soil, we grow, and we thrive. We are called to higher platforms, and we excel in places we never would have imagined. When we thrive, we are known by others and our community rallies around us. This is the community we have at Compass: full of honor, community, trustworthiness, generosity, freedom, and faith. A place for every Client, Life Guide, Life Coach and Administrative member to thrive, a place to grow and flourish where are planted in all the seasons of life, if we so choose.  What does it mean to you to thrive in this season?

“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” -Maya Angelou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.