Employee Spotlight

Welcome to our employee spotlight page. At CL&A we realize that our success comes from the people that have joined our CL&A family. Without our hardworking and dedicated teams, we would not be where we are today. In an effort to recognize our employees for the exemplary work that they do, we’d like to take a moment and highlight one member, who we believe to be doing an outstanding job. The people who are featured here represent the best of us. They are an example to everyone around them of the excellence that can be achieved.

Employee Spotlight: Wilman Navarreto
Congratulations to Wilman Navarreto on being a valued CL&A employee. You are an outstanding member of our team, and we couldn’t do it without you! We are honored to highlight you in this month’s employee spotlight.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the youngest of 4 children. I grew up not knowing that I was visually impaired in the countryside of Puerto Rico. As a young adult I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) with a poor prognosis of becoming blind by adulthood. Through encouragement and support by family and friends, I have been able to have a life full of blessings and opportunities.

I was always interested in helping others. My parents taught me that hard work and dedication always prevails. As a child/young adult, I completed house chores which consisted of: farming, taking care of farm animals (chickens, cows, pigs), and fishing for food. Another example is, in my neighborhood, I helped the illiterate adults in my community read (books/letters), help them fill out forms, and write responses back (reader/scriber). As an adult, I worked as a science instructor, counselor, college instructor, guidance counselor, vocational rehabilitation counselor, Nurse Assistant, Professional Registered Nurse and, now, as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

Educationally, I have achieved an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences; Bachelor Degree in Nursing; Master Degree in Counseling and a Master Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry. Additionally, I received recognition in the past from Long Island University Education Department for achieving a 4.0 GPA and from Hunter College for being the first blind/visually impaired person graduating from the Nurse Practitioner Program. A long-term goal of mine is to complete a Doctoral program in the field of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) with a specialty in the development and delivery of policies of healthcare systems.

What is your role at CL&A?
My role at CL&A is Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. I also serve as medical advisor when discussing complexes cases during weekly clinical meetings.

What would people never guess you do in your role?
Despite being blind/visually impaired, at times, I have served as an escort/navigator/transportation expert to the veterans.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
Re-engaging Veterans into a more stable home, create positive relationships with others, and complete healthcare follow-ups, either at the VA and/or other healthcare institutions. At times, many of the Veterans are isolated due to homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse disorder, unhealthy relationships with family and friends, and multiple medical diagnoses. I find it fulfilling to note veterans are able moving forward with their lives in a positive fashion (i.e. creating a home, seeking new goals and moving on with their lives).

How did you first learn about CL&A?
Since 2013, I started working with the HUD/VASH program; CL&A was always in the background ensuring that all deliverables were done on time. In 2015, CL&A became my employer by taking over the HUD/VASH contract.

What do you like most about CL&A?
The fluidity to develop my position as an Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Additionally, the feeling of a small company that cares for the wellbeing of the people that we serve, "Veterans".

Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
All jobs have been interesting throughout my life. Many of the jobs stated the reality, transition or goals for me at the moment. However, a very interesting job was working as a Guidance Counselor for grades K-4. In this position, I was able to observe how personalities of young children develop and with the appropriate interventions I was able to bring positive change to the children/families.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
I am interested in the performing arts such as plays, poetry, dance, Broadway shows, Off-Broadway shows, and music concerts. However, my biggest hobby is visiting different countries. Learning about different cultures and traditions; I can see that we have more similarities than differences as human beings.

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
I cannot live without the support of family and friends. Thus, small talk, conversations, sharing experiences, spending quality time, and listening to others is very important to me.

What is your hidden talent?
I do not have a hidden talent. However, I like to use humor during stressful situations that can help find solutions to a difficult problem or to de-escalate a stressful situation.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Actions that bother me the most are any behaviors that impede relationships or communications. For example, dishonesty, disrespect, or "getting over".

What is your favorite movie and book?
Movie: Scent of a Woman by Al Pacino. This movie tells an unusual relationship between a retired Veteran and a young cadet. The movie also explores issues of living with blindness by the retired Veteran. Many issues were explored as well, such as valor, compassion, care for others, suicide, dignity, disability, friendship, loyalty, etc.

Book: Alsino by Pedro Prado. The book speaks about a dream of a child despite social/family/personal problems. The underline theme is to "be yourself" in search of your dreams despite the consequences. Additionally, how "dreaming' can serve as an escape from reality.