Meet Robbin Lofton. She’s been employed with Guild Services for 12 years. As a veteran employee who has worked in numerous positions and received her MBA while working for Guild, we were excited to hear more about Robbin’s standout memories and her secrets to advancing in the organization.
Describe your role at Guild. What do you do? What team are you on?
I am the Program Manager for the Housing and Homelessness team and I oversee the housing and outreach teams. I am responsible for providing leadership and management to supervisors – promoting an inclusive, diverse, culturally competent and respectful work environment. I also oversee referrals from Coordinated Entry to our programs.
What does your average day look like at work?
An average day may consist of meetings, paperwork, assisting and interacting with staff and being available to them. What you plan to be an average workday could change in seconds and one would have to be able to improvise to necessary changes. The key is knowing that each day is different regardless if it’s positive or negative, but taking something away from that day that allows you to reflect or think about how you could have done something different and find growth in that.
Why does your work matter?
My work matters because I feel a sense of relief when I am able to serve all people, clients and staff, which in turn allows them to live a successful life. It provides a sense of hope, and it lets them know that they matter “we all matter.”
Is there one memory that stands out to you where you really saw Guild’s impact in action?
I have several memories. I feel as though the memories I have were so impactful. There are memories from a client who was an immigrant and never received a social security number, and we worked through this to ensure he received his card he was 73 years old.
Most recently, when the Commissioner of Anoka County, who never did this type of work and was willing to learn it spent the day with us. That was a pleasant experience because she wanted to be involved and she had hands-on experience working with the homeless population, entering encampments and actually seeing their lives in that moment. She was able to see the courageous work that was done and was able to stand alongside me, treating the clients we served with nothing less than human beings regardless of their “status”. With that interaction and other providers becoming aware of our program we were able to secure another contract with Anoka County.
What’s special about Guild’s approach, and how do you play a role in it?
When I think of Guild’s approach, the clients we serve, and the staff I supervise, I think of the word “welcoming.” That can look different for everyone, but that’s a lasting impression. Guild provides a client-centered approach, meeting people where they are in their lives and working for an ultimate goal for the individual. We are not a “you need to do this” company but a “how can we support and advocate for you in your journey?” organization.
How have you grown in your role at Guild?
I have grown so much while working at Guild. I have had several positions within the company, from working at the Crisis House while working on my Master’s Degree, to being a Targeted Case Manager, to Intake Specialist, to starting the CENS pilot, which is currently a grant, and supervising that team to becoming the Program Manager. While working at Guild, I realized my voice and existence matter.
What would your co-workers say about you, if given the chance
My coworkers would say that I’m honest, fair, understanding, sincere, down to earth, a team player, and I treat them with dignity and respect regardless of my position. The biggest comment I have received has been grateful. And in return, I am so grateful.
What would your clients say about you, if given the chance?
My clients would say I have provided them a sense of hope, and I stayed the course even when they didn’t believe in themselves. They would further say I advocated and walked beside them to the finish line, which in turn allowed them to trust and become self-sufficient.
What’s one thing you want people to know about your work with Guild or why you work with Guild
My work with Guild has been rewarding and optimistic. Guild is about optimism – always light at the end of the tunnel, depending on how you look at it or what you make of it. The right environment cultivates the best in all of us.
You’ve had an impressive tenure at Guild. What would you say is the secret to continued advancement at the organization?
I think the secret to continued advancement is doing the hard work, showing you are capable, being vulnerable, and allowing someone else to see the qualities you possess. It’s not always about telling what you can do but showing it. The biggest thing is dedication, determination, and believing in the mission and following that through.