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20 Questions with Claudette

20 or so questions with…is our employee spotlight blog series where we get up-close and personal (and have some fun) with our favorite team members at CA Human Services. First up in this series is 20 Questions with Claudette. She had so many interesting things to say! Claudette was recently promoted to CA’s Director of Operations. From vendor contract negotiations to optimizing efficiencies and collaborating across departments, Claudette lives the CA way and we couldn’t be happier she’s such a valuable part of the leadership team. We hope you will enjoy reading and getting to know a bit more about the incredible Claudette.

Claudette W. Gadsden

1. Claudette, how long have you worked at CA Human Services/How has your career grown since joining the organization?

I have worked at CA almost 2 years. I started as a payroll specialist and was soon promoted to financial coordinator and now Director of Operations. That’s a lot in 19 months! I am grateful my skills and experience are recognized and appreciated at CA.


2. What does your job entail/ What problems do you solve at CA?

My job entails managing and overseeing HR, Finance, IT, and Fleet and Facilities. It is my job to ensure we hire and retain the right people for the right positions; everyone, including staff, and vendors are paid on time and accurately and we are paid by our clients. My team also ensures all our IT needs are met time and our buildings and vehicles are running smoothly. My role supports the CA Promise to continually evolve to best meet the needs of Virginians where they are.


3. What do you like most about your job, what compels you to stay at CA?

I enjoy what I do, I have a passion for numbers, and I enjoy working for a small company. CA is the smallest company I have worked for, and I am enjoying that. I enjoy the ease with which we collaborate as a team.


4. What is the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?

Plan your work and work your plan – A former boss had this on his whiteboard, and it was never erased.


5. What would you do (for a career) if you were not doing this?

I would be coaching amazing women; helping them to have better conversations with themselves which leads to better conversations with the world. Every external conversation begins with an inner dialogue


6. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Hanging out with my daughter and two granddaughters (my girls), traveling and cooking. (By the way, Claudette spoils us with her delicious baked goods!!)


7. What’s a fun fact about you many people may not know?

I needed to get away after the divorce and an opportunity presented itself, so I moved with my 2-year-old daughter to Japan for 3 years. I had never been there before and thought it was a wonderful place for a fresh start. (she giggles)


8. Where’s your favorite place in the world?

Besides my home, I would have to say the home of my oldest brother, because it sits on the exact same spot as my grandparents’ home where they raised their family. (don’t tell my other two brothers about this)


9. What is your motto or personal mantra?

“Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your opinion of yourself”


10. If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet my paternal great-grandmother, because she made her transition before I was born. I want to hear the stories of her life growing up as a Cherokee Indian.


11. What three words would you use to describe CA Human Services?:

Small, agile, impactful


12. What is the one thing, you can’t live without?

Time alone and a kitchen to cook in.


13. What tv show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?

My Lottery Dream House


14. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

It would be the power of flight. To be able to just get to my girls with a thought, to be able to travel the world with a thought.


15. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?

I don’t have a pet right now. I had a dog and named him after an uncle who came to me in a dream just before Sam appeared in my life.


16. What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Cab driver. It was so much fun, I started a business and rented out cabs to other drivers.


17. What is your go-to music? Or last song/artist you listened to?

Reggae/R&B As I answer this question, I am listening to Erykah Badu.


18. What is something you learned in the last week?

A few days ago, I learned how to make a beaded bracelets using crystals.


19. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

When I think hometown, I always go back to Charleston, SC where I grew up. It is called the Holy City because of it’s tolerance for all religions. There was a rumor years ago that there were more churches per square miles in Charleston that anywhere else.


20. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Authenticity and openness. When we are open, we get to see/learn new things and step out of our comfort zone.


21. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

1.World Cruise 2. Grandma Hester’s Village 3. Spending a month with the girls in a different location every year.


22. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is not a fair question for a foodie. Red rice and fish.


23. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A fashion designer or interior decorator.

CA Human Services has been Advocating, Enabling, and Creating Change for over 25 years. The organization looks vastly different from our humble beginnings. We do systems change work here at CA. What that means is growth and change are constantly happening here. And, if growth and change are happening, that means we are actualizing our mission.

It is because of people like Claudette that we are able to do the work we do. Today our focus at CA is on the gaps for neurodiverse individuals aged 14 to 35, their caregivers and those providers who serve them. CA also focuses on ensuring information and resources for autism and other developmental disabilities are easily found and accessible for all Virginians. Our focus includes support services, training, and activism. Autism touches individuals from every race, culture, socioeconomic status, and regardless of gender. Thus, CA aims to ensure everyone is seen, heard, and represented.

If you’ve been touched by our services or know someone who could benefit from them, please contact us and let us know. We do the work we do because it is needed. But, we can’t do it without the support of others. Please consider donating to support our work.

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CA works with autistic people and their families to help them thrive. Every day, we’re building a future where the most vulnerable Virginians can actively participate in our community and realize their full potential.

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