Meet our Staff: Heather Sweet

Meet our Staff: Heather Sweet

Today we want to introduce you to SAY’s Data Director, Heather Sweet!

Heather joined our team eight years ago as a Program Manager for our Coffee House Teen Shelter, and then soon after spearheaded the development of what is now SAY’s data department.  She provides integral support to every single branch of the organization, creating systems that help us measure the impact of our programs as well as highlight opportunities for growth.

Heather is a big fan of tactile toys and never-ending candy jars, making her office the go-to stop for picking up a colorful sensory object and a delicious treat!

We asked Heather a few questions about herself, and her work at SAY.

  • How long have you worked at SAY? What inspired you to apply for a job here?

8 years! I have always loved working with teens and young adults, so SAY felt like a good fit for me. I started at Coffee House and then transitioned into my current data role.

  • What do you enjoy about your work?

Everything! Honestly, my favorite part is talking to all of our staff to hear their brilliant ideas about how we can better support our youth and SAY.  Every single person has a different perspective and skill set, so I feel like I’m always learning and growing with each interaction.

  • What are you most proud of when it comes to your work at SAY?

I am proud that I helped to invent a new department. Many people don’t know that the ‘data department’ didn’t exist until a few years ago.

  • What is the benefit of having a ‘data department’?

Historically, nonprofits have used anecdotal evidence and documentation of individual client experience to determine success. Creating a data department has allowed us to explore how to incorporate this qualitative information with quantitative metrics to better assess and report SAY’s successes and growth edges. 

  • What experiences help you excel in your work here at SAY?

I have worked in so many different settings (community clinic, children’s hospital, school-based services, psychiatric facility, etc.) and one of the common issues was finding a way to measure and communicate what ‘success’ looks like when someone is seeking support. It’s so fun (and a little nerdy) to take a look at how a system is working, and to try to find the places where that system can learn and grow, what should change, what should be increased, and what is no longer useful.

  • What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?

Play with my kids, knitting, reading, swimming, cooking, and finding really tall slides to zoom down.

  • What is your personal superpower?

I can often help people feel comfortable in a space so they can tap into their own superpowers!

Thank you, Heather, for all of your dedication to the youth!

We interviewed Heather for an article in our June newsletter focused on the need to evolve intake assessment forms, especially in regards to gender identity. Read it here.