“When I first contacted Carla Hill 15 years ago, I wanted her recommendation on who to hire for a new position being created at TVS. I didn’t dream that I could hire her, so the next best thing was her top recommendation,” said former TVS CEO Nancy Stricker. “I thought I had won the lottery when she called me back expressing interest in the job.”
It was a transition period at TVS in 2006. The new job position as Program Manager was created to help transition from state funding to Medicaid funding to support services.
“There were new rules and regulations, and I knew Carla would (and did) lead us through that time in our growth,” said Nancy. She laughed saying, “No matter what changes came, I knew Carla could read it, understand it and explain it to me, thus keeping me from going to jail.”
After 15 years, Carla continues growing and expanding the programs at TVS as the Program Director. When first hired, Carla was in charge of the Life Skills program, the INTERACT program (previously known as ADVP) with individuals working under the 14C contract, and Employment Services. All of these were significantly smaller and have evolved into the programs we have today.
Since being hired, TVS programs have expanded to include two residential facilities in 2010 and branched out into local high schools with the Pre-Employment Transitions Services (Pre-ETS) program in 2019.
Employment Services has developed to support 50 individuals at any given time. One individual has been receiving support of 15 years and another has been successfully employed for 20 years after receiving services from Employment Specialists.
“Carla’s communication and willingness to adjust to VR requirements has helped build a fantastic working relationship,” said Lenora Mathis, Regional CRP Specialist at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. “She is a great partner to work with and we are lucky to have such a strong leader who knows how to get things done.”
Lenora has been working with Carla over the last 15 years. She said, “As Carla learned about services, she was patient, diligent and always made sure everything she and her staff did for clients was very high quality. Her effectiveness in her job is obvious in the performance of TVS’ VR contract.”
As TVS programs have grown, so has Carla. “I am introverted but I feel like I’ve had to force myself outside of that to be more comfortable,” she said. “I am not good with on-the-spot responses but I have learned that taking my time is important because I need to consider everyone that would be impacted; including individuals served and staff.”
Reflecting on her favorite memories, Carla talks about breaking down the stigma associated with 14C and the growth of the Employment Services within the community.
“What has been extremely meaningful to me, has been reinventing what we now call INTERACT,” said Carla. “It is all about thinking about the individuals you support, and making sure they are part of the plan.”
Prior to working at TVS, Carla worked in the field of mental health for her entire career. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Master Degree in Social Work and moved around to California and Indiana before relocating back to North Carolina with her two children.
Carla has a love of theatre, and when she is not working you might find her performing or watching a theatrical performance. She also enjoys walking, hiking and working out at the local CrossFit.
“Carla is a beast at CrossFit and is always motivated to push herself and others at the gym and in her personal life,” said Employment Specialist Megan Pilley. “Carla is always there to support me, whether it is at the gym or in my personal and work life.”
Looking ahead, Carla plans to continue attending webinars to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations and to continue serving more people. She says, “The rest of my career here, I will continue being a ‘servant leader’ and will continue to encourage and help DSP’s and Employment Specialists grow and develop new skills. I want to be a support resource for anyone that needs it.”