Pat Rowan Retires from Job Coaching, by Marjorie Madfis
When I announced my plans for a job skills program at the Westchester Autism Advisory Council in the fall of 2013, Pat Rowan enthusiastically volunteered. With Pat’s first career in business and then as a social worker, she was a natural partner to work with me in developing the business processes to launch Girl AGain and the training curriculum for job skill development. It was important to me to have a clinical expert on autism be a contributor to the program development.
As soon as we defined our program in the fall of 2013, Pat referred Dani, as well as many of our nearly 40 young women who have come through our program. Pat coached every Wednesday for five years, initially starting in my family room, moving to our 125 sq foot space in Hartsdale and then to our current Girl AGain boutique location in White Plains.
Pat helped devise many of our processes to teach skills such as answering the phone, talking to customers, cleaning dolls, and managing emotions. Pat has a wonderful report with the trainees, always encouraging them, and knowing when to step in or step back.
She was instrumental in creating and implementing our assessment tools to measure trainees’ progress. Pat has been a critical member of biweekly coaches’ meetings where we discuss trainee progress and interventions, and curriculum modifications. Her business background has been particularly valuable in balancing the demands to generate store revenue with the training mission.
A little known talent of Pat’s is her skill at ironing doll clothes. Samantha’s puffed sleeves and sheered aprons will never look so good when Pat retires. She was also very good at inserting doll earrings.
But now, due to family priorities, including caring for her little grandsons, Pat has made the difficult decision to retire as a job coach at Girl AGain. Fortunately, she is still committed to our mission and will continue to be a program advisor, as well as refer candidates.
I am so grateful for Pat’s contributions and valuable guidance. I will truly miss having her as a regular team member, as I know the other coaches, staff and trainees will too. Thank you, Pat!
“Marjorie hooked me in from the moment she announced her plans to create Girl Again, a retail training environment that addresses the growing employment needs of young adult women on the spectrum. In order to integrate our young adults into the business community more was needed in the way of understanding, services and supports.
During my 23 years of practice, I witnessed the growing frustration on the part of parents and professionals as they struggled to move these young adults forward. Our program recognizes how differences in social interaction, emotional processing, and sensory characteristics can be used as a powerful tool for positive change for people on the spectrum.
My gratitude to Marjorie, Sheri Baron, Lesli Cattan, and all the dedicated professionals with whom I worked. It has been an honor and a privilege working with you all.”
Pat Rowan, LMSW