Employee Spotlight: Llianna Sanchez

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in Yuma. I went to the University of Arizona to get my Bachelor's in Psychology and Business Administration in 2011, completed my Master's degree at Arizona State University, and earned my licensed master social worker certification from the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health in 2013.

I started out as a Business major and then when I started to take Psychology courses and I just really loved them. I loved the child psychology classes and I did an internship with the Children’s Advocacy Center. Then, I had a job in a crisis shelter as a childcare worker - you can’t do much except help meet the children’s basic needs. I wanted to make a difference in their lives so that’s when I changed my major.

I was a case manager for a while and wanted to really make a difference for the children and their lives. So, I became a therapist and did a lot of cognitive behavior therapy. I went from a childcare worker, caseworker, and then to a therapist. ​I left therapy for two years and went into business. I started two successful businesses, but I decided to return to my calling as a therapist. I was doing that for a few months and came to VQ where they had long-term foster care that makes more of a difference. It’s more one-on-one. I still manage my own private practice as well.

Was there a specific event that compelled you to go into that field?

I just wanted to make a difference and being a therapist gave me that opportunity.

As a program director, you can make a difference in more lives on a daily basis. What is the biggest challenge with your work?

There are a lot of regulations that need to be followed by various state and federal government organizations and making sure they all coordinate with each other can be very challenging.

What makes it all worthwhile?

Making that positive difference in a kid’s life. When you see a child reunify with their family, or you when we see a child grow or experience positive change, it’s rewarding.

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