Sonia Hemphill is the communications specialist at Caring Voice Coalition.
I love helping people. So I feel very connected to the purpose of Caring Voice Coalition (CVC). It is an awesome feeling to, every day, be able to say, “We’re here to help.”
Before coming to CVC, I worked in the medical field. A former manager referred me to CVC in 2006, and I joined the team of case managers, made up of only four people at that time. I also worked in the accounting department, and now I’m part of the communications department.
As the communications specialist II, I help make sure patients receive letters in a timely manner, so they can stay up to date with CVC. I provide support group information for those looking to connect. I also answer the phone at the front desk and help direct callers to the correct department.
The first time a person calls CVC you can often hear fear or anxiety in their voice. My goal is to use those first few moments they interact with us to smile and let them know we can help them. After that, I can tell the difference in the caller’s tone of voice. I can hear the relief in their voice, which I hope helps their transfer to a case manager go more smoothly.
I really believe a good tone of voice can help somebody’s lousy day. You can tell a big difference if you have a good attitude when you’re on the phone. Patients are very sweet to me on the phone.
I love my job. I love that we help people live longer lives, giving them more time to be with their families. To me, that’s awesome.
I always do my best to put myself in the place of the patients I’m interacting with. I think of my own family. My sister-in-law had lupus and passed away in 2001. When my brother heard about CVC’s work, he told me she had actually passed away from pulmonary hypertension, associated with lupus. He started crying. He said if he had known that there was a Caring Voice back then, he would have been able to spend more time with his wife in her final years. Instead, he worked three jobs so he could pay for her medications.
I lost an uncle to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2008 when there wasn’t enough awareness about the disease for those around him to recognize what his condition meant. So I appreciate that a lot of the work we do in communications is simply spreading awareness about diseases—connecting people to support groups and organizing information to be shared at conferences.
I think CVC was like a magnet in my life—I was drawn to it. It’s been a very positive part of my life. Patients inspire me to be as positive as possible so that I might help them feel hopeful. Life is too short not to be happy, to “sparkle”—that’s my word. It can be rough out there. I hope when I sparkle, it helps the people around me sparkle.
I love CVC’s core values: respect and fairness, passion, service, commitment, honesty and integrity, and servant leadership. I try to live them because they are so good, and important in each part of life, not just at CVC. I think internalizing and exhibiting those can help my children especially see the value in reflecting these things.
I see the leadership here as an amazing example of what it means to care, and each day I feel honored and grateful to work for CVC.