Staff Spotlight, Jill Fondriest
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Jill Fondriest (she/her), and I am the Office Manager at The Emily Program’s Columbus, Ohio outpatient site. I have a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Urbana University College of Business. I started at The Center for Balanced Living in July 2016, and we became The Emily Program in March 2020., So, I have been with the company for a little over two years and working for clients with eating disorders for almost six years. Initially, I worked with The Emily Program admissions team (an AMAZING team—I adore and miss you all!) before starting in my current role as Office Manager in May 2021.
Describe the career path that led you to The Emily Program.
Prior to working at The Center for Balanced Living and The Emily Program, I was a consultant working primarily with small businesses and individuals on their taxes, efficiency, and customer service training. I moved to Columbus, decided to take a different path, and found my front desk/billing position at The Center for Balanced Living. I had several roles during my time there. This gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about eating disorders. My time doing fundraising and marketing events in the community also showed me just how little the public knows about eating disorders. It also showed me how hard our staff and clients work, what kinds of barriers our clients face on top of their eating disorders, and how challenging these illnesses can be to overcome.
What motivates you to show up for work each day?
When clients come in for the first time, the front desk is the first contact they have when they walk in the door. New clients are often anxious and unsure of what to expect. Seeing a client begin to warm up, chat, feel safe, and laugh or smile because they are treated with compassion, kindness, and acceptance is my biggest motivator. It motivates me not just to show up, but to provide the kind of atmosphere and service that I would want for myself or my family.
What’s something you’re really proud of?
Our Columbus team, including the outpatient and residential staff. There has been so much shifting and changing during this pandemic for everyone, but especially for Columbus! We navigated the transition from The Center for Balanced Living to The Emily Program, a major building construction, settling into a new site, and the addition of a residential facility! It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but everyone has worked really hard to make this all happen. Yay, Columbus!
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Halloween is my jam. I decorate, I organize Halloween costume contests, and I may or may not have a 12-foot skeleton and a 12-foot pumpkin-headed inferno monster that will be in my yard… It is just the best! Clients have always loved coming in on Halloween and seeing what staff come up with—and after two years in quarantine, this year it is ON.