The Women of Aftermath is a periodic feature of the Aftermath blog. We hope you enjoy getting to know a few of our hardworking and dedicated employees. To read last week’s feature on Liz Engler, click here.
In 2015, Susan Stevens accepted the position of Client Manager (CM) at Aftermath’s home office in Aurora, IL. She celebrated her one year anniversary with the company earlier this month. In just that short time, she has made a difference in many families’ lives. “I feel personally connected with the customers. That’s most important to me.”
Susan has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She taught for several years before starting her family. She was fortunate to be able to stay home with her son Ayden for his first two years. In 2010, she returned to work, spending 5 years running a tutoring center. However, it was her minor in psychology that led her to become interested in working at Aftermath. “I wanted to be able to help families through a difficult time in their lives,” she said.
Susan’s role means that she works with a variety of personalities in the office and in the field. Her background and the open communication style she has developed with her co-workers allows her to further assist technicians and supervisors in the field by providing feedback on areas that may need improvement.
The Emotional and Physical Labor of Cleanup
In her experience, Susan feels that women in the biohazard industry experience more challenges in the field than in the office environment. “I have seen what our people do in the field first hand. It’s physically impossible for me to perform some of the more demanding tasks, like moving an 80lb toilet.” However, she relates that the emotional aspects of the job are equally difficult for both men and women, whether they are technicians or client managers.
As someone who hasn’t experienced a tragedy of great caliber, Susan says it can be hard to truly sympathize with certain situations. Dealing with each individual compassionately is the best approach, and one that works well for Susan. “It’s expected that women be empathetic, that we relate emotionally to what is happening. However, I also need to remain professional in my role. There are times when the customer wants to lean on me, and I have to find a way to be there without them becoming dependent on me as their go-to person.”
Recently, one particular job struck a chord for Susan. The customer had lost her husband to suicide. While the job went well, Susan and Randy (the Supervisor on site) were concerned about the mental health of the client. Not only did they spend time listening to her, but they also encouraged her to reach out to community resources. “The local police do a wellness check on her every week now. To us, it wasn’t about the amount of time we spent working with her, or the money. It was about ensuring the customer was safe and well cared for.”
A Delicate Balance
When things are busy, balancing work and home life can be challenging. In the office, though, Susan states that she is confident asking for help because she trusts that the other client managers have her same goal in mind: providing Aftermath customers with the highest quality service during difficult and traumatic circumstances.
At home, Susan also has a strong support system. She grew up in the Chicagoland area and has a network of friends and family nearby. She has been married to her husband for almost 15 years. Her 21 year old step daughter is in the army and engaged to be married. Susan is also an avid hockey parent. “My son plays for the Fox Valley Hurricanes, a local hockey team.”
If you are considering a career in the biohazard industry and think you have what it takes to join the Aftermath team, visit our career page. We are currently hiring for a number of positions nationwide, so submit your application today!