Authored by: Sonja Kania, Chief Talent & Social Capital Officer
When I started at Norris, Ira was one of the first unit staff I met. I remember thinking that he had a laid back yet commanding presence, which the boys seemed to respect, and that he very genuinely enjoyed his job. Seeing Ira in action over the past two years has more than hammered those first impressions home. He views his job as a mission to do good for others and has been flexible and open to many changes in a short period of time. It was a pleasure to sit down and get to know Ira more personally, and to find out where his passion comes from. I learned that he is a self-described spiritually guided person who loves to help people. He cited a former clinical director as his best mentor from whom he learned to focus on what’s important, be open minded and to simply listen to the kids. Ira is quietly proud of his time at Norris and doesn’t totally love the spotlight, but he more than deserves the applause.
How long have you worked at Norris? What position did you start in? What positions have you been in?
Six years at Norris, started as a youth care worker until becoming a supervisor (then called cottage manager). Worked on just about every unit and different shifts.
What is your favorite Norris memory?
The first family day with New Day. We had a picnic and most of the kids’ families were able to come out.
What is your favorite song of all time?
Adore by Prince
What was the last gift that you gave to someone?
Mega Blaster nerf gun to my six year old grandson
What were you like in high school?
Obnoxious, bully type. Turned it around after joining ROTC air force program.
If you received enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing?
Travel the world.
What is your favorite food to prepare (or eat)?
Fried chicken and turnip greens
When was the last time you traveled somewhere new?
Traveled to Africa in 2005 doing mission work and sightseeing
How do you spend your free time?
Spending time with my grandkids, listening to music and watching Law & Order
What is your most useless talent?
I can design and tailor clothes. I used to work in a garment factory, for 23 years, I don’t need that skill anymore I guess.
Who would play you in the Lifetime original movie of your teen years?
David Mann. People think we look alike because we’re both bald.
What is the best advice that you have been given from staff when you started working here?
Steve told me about a week after I started that if I didn’t have an activity planned, I would become the activity. Still true.
What would be your best advice for new staff at Norris?
Never take things personally, and try to understand the client’s view with an open mind.
What is the last thing that you’ve done that’s worth remembering?
I want to be known as someone who believes in what I do, who does this as a passion and who wants the best for his clients.
If you want to learn more about the great staff that work at Norris, check out our other Employee Spotlight posts on our website and stay tuned for more to come!