BS Human Services 2011
chief operating officer, programs, Center for Children & Families
Amy Fladmo started playing piano and singing in her church choir by the time she reached school age. She took up the flute while still in elementary school, earned superior ratings as part of a high school singing group and landed a number of roles at Venture Theatre.
Growing up, one aspect of Fladmo’s character might have overshadowed her obvious love for music: her strong desire to help others.
“If you ask my parents, they say I’ve always been sensitive and cued in to social injustices,” she said. “I went to school with a boy who had developmental disabilities. All the kids picked on him, and it bothered me. I came home and cried about it.”
Fladmo entered Montana State University Billings with the idea of becoming a teacher. But she switched majors after going to work in a group home for teen boys who were emotionally disturbed. “A few months into that I realized I was in the wrong degree and I ended up in human services,” she said.
Her internship at the Second Chance Home during her last year of college led to a permanent position there. Four years and several promotions later, she’s chief operating officer for the successor agency, known as the Center for Children and Families, a behavioral health and child well-being agency that helps children and families.
“I have always wanted to help people and make a difference,” Fladmo said. “The majority of the kids we deal with have experienced high levels of trauma. Many are affected by substance abuse in their families.”
The center provides comprehensive counseling and therapy programs, group programs and other family-oriented programs designed to help create the best futures for children and their families. Most clients are referred to the center through the state Child and Family Services Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? The majority of projects I oversee are grant funded. The biggest challenge I face is sustainability efforts. All of the projects we deploy at the center truly meet the emotional and psychological needs of the most underserved populations in our community. Trying to work with local and state staff to sustain and systematically integrate these necessary projects so that kids and families can truly heal and grow together is sometimes a very tireless and daunting task. We are constantly working to affect systems change, and that can really be hard work. You have to have the will to constantly keep innovating, advocating, and never give up.
What’s the best business advice you have received? “There will always be blood when you are the first to the wall. Don’t ever give up. Keep fighting for what you know in your heart is right.”
Who gave you that advice? My friend and mentor, Becky Bey.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would like to help increase knowledge/reduce the stigma around individuals/families affected by trauma, mental illness, and/or substance abuse; so that we may create a more empathetic community that understands it takes everyone to “break the cycle.” I would like our community to truly invest in the social and emotional needs of children as they are our future and our greatest asset.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Spending time with my family.
Which living person do you most admire? My sister.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? Success in my job is seeing children successfully reunified with their families and on the road to healing, resilience, and improved overall well-being.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement so far is my 2-year-old daughter. She was born prematurely and has defied all odds. She is a beautiful, vivacious, extremely intelligent and empathetic little girl who’s surely on her way to changing the world.
I’m happiest when I’m… spending time with my family.
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Article & Photo credits: Billings Gazette