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“I Am Meridian” Recipients – 2023-24

Kennidra Rossin, Administrative Services Manager, North

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Integrity      

Kennidra is an exemplary employee.  Kennidra is willing to help all clients no matter which department they need assistance with.  Even though Kennidra does not work for med services, we have clients and external partners that only trust to speak with her to handle lab and med concerns.  Being that Kennidra has worked as a customer service specialist, a financial counselor, case manager and currently an administrative manager, she is able to step in and resolve issues with little to no assistance and before they escalate to QI.  During the most challenging times, Kennidra kept an optimistic demeanor; remaining supportive and open minded while continuing to move the company forward.  Thanks, Kennidra for continuing to be the positive light in our department! 

Kennidra is trustworthy and shows much compassion towards the people we serve and their family.  Kennidra is quick to respond and resolve any issue that a client might present with.  She has the ability to remain calm and handle the situation presented to her.  Kennidra can respectfully work with other managers and departments to quickly provide the clients with the support they need for a positive outcome.  

Allyson Stewart, Care Coordinator-Gainesville

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Excellence    ☒ Initiative

Allyson has shown exceptional dedication to the program, especially considering the frequent staff changes that have been occurring. Notably, Allyson’s professional demeanor is well-documented, with clear evidence of her high standards of care for clients, her readiness to provide assistance whenever needed, and her consistently outstanding performance in her role. Her contributions have played a vital role in maintaining the program’s effectiveness and ensuring that clients receive the best possible care and support during challenging times of transition.

Her commitment is evident through her diligent efforts in training new team members, including myself, as I recently joined the program less than a month ago. Allyson also exhibits a strong sense of self-motivation and operates independently, needing minimal assistance. When necessary, she proactively seeks guidance and creates an environment where she can apply feedback and incorporate recommendations.

Lori Jacobs, Peer Specialist – Macclenny

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Excellence   

Lori goes above and beyond in helping clients and her MRT teammates. Lori provided coverage and support during the hurricane disaster relief site for 25 days without any days off. As MRT is 24/7 program Lori is always available when needed to cover phone shifts over the weekends and over nights, many times being the only one available over night on weekend and having to pull double shifts.

Lori provided support at the Hurricane Crisis Relief in Live Oak. Lori worked tirelessly at the Live Oak destination assisting distraught customers. Whether the need was for food, diapers, water, or Meridian services she was there to help always giving 100%. During her time there she was a comforting presence for people who just needed to talk to someone. She consistently offered information about the services Meridian provides and assured people that those services are available throughout the year not just in emergency situations. I have added a letter that was sent to Meridian by Lorry Beauvais with the

“I wanted to take a moment to express my admiration and appreciation for two of your remarkable employees, Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs. Their exceptional dedication and efforts have not only contributed significantly to our organization’s success but have also had a profound impact on the community.

Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs consistently went above and beyond their job responsibilities, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to excellence. Their exceptional work ethic, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills were instrumental in achieving numerous milestones during our time together at the Disaster Family Resource Center located at the Suwannee County Library in Live Oak, FL.

What truly sets Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs apart, however, is their extraordinary commitment to community service. During the few days we all worked together, they were kept an “all hands on deck” attitude that positively impacted the lives of many within the local community. From organizing food, diapers, toiletries, and providing mental health assistance to bringing a joyous energy to the center, Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs embodied the spirit of giving back.

Their dedication not only reflects positively on your organization but also demonstrates the values we uphold. It is a true testament to the caliber of individuals you have nurtured within your team.

I believe that recognizing outstanding contributions is essential, and I wanted to ensure that Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs receives the acknowledgment they truly deserve. Their dedication, both within your organization and in the community, is truly commendable.

Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for having such an exceptional employee on your team. Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs are true assets, and their contributions make a meaningful difference in the workplace and the community we serve.

Thank you for your time, and please extend my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation to Ayana Archer and Lori Jacobs. Their hard work and community involvement are a source of inspiration to us all.”

Sincerely, Lorry Beauvais, Department of Children & Families |SHSPA – Hope Navigator II

Teresa Edwards, Talent Acquisition Specialist – Gainesville

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Excellence    ☒ Initiative

Teresa Edwards is a great asset to have on any team. Teresa demonstrates dedication by being the first one in the door and being the last one to leave. Teresa is always polite, courteous, and willing to help. The drive that she has to be better than her yesterday is very inspiring not only to the team, but to myself included. As part of the recruiting team, I have witnessed Teresa striving and pushing to get a new hire in our orientation class within the final hour of our deadline. I am submitting Teresa for this award because I wanted her to know that she is appreciated and that her hard work does not go unnoticed.

Teresa exudes excellence and confidents when it comes to her craft as a recruiter. She takes the initiative to do all that she can in the final hour to get that one final candidate in our new hire orientation even when she has met her weekly goal. That is what we call her a ROCK STAR recruiter.

Valerie Pasquale, Director-Prevention – Gainesville

Nomination Criteria:          ☒ Excellence         ☒ Integrity

Valerie is a go-getter with passion, compassion, and determination. She sees an opportunity, assesses it for maximum success and provides a strategic course of action for optimal manifestation. For example, our newest partnership with SF College, Valerie assessed the opportunity when I discussed it with her. She worked with the Vice President of Student Affairs to solidify expectations for launching student wellness ambassadors. Upon several thoughtful meetings/conversations with SF College’s team, an agreement was reached, and a partnership was formed.

Valerie works to crush the box… If I have an idea, she massages it with intentionality by assessing resources as well as capacity. I mentioned the new initiative, Wellness on Wheels to get our bus out in the community. She has thought of ways to build relationships while partnering with coalitions to ensure the bus has maximum exposure in our service areas. This project is expected to be finalized in January 2024. She also takes the lead on planning our annual retreats, which we host twice a year (spring and fall). Additionally, she also aids with SM content as well as lends a hand departmental wide.

Valerie leads with integrity, vulnerability, and transparency; thereby, earning the trust of her team as well as community stakeholders. She has a special way of putting anyone at ease with her level of compassion as well.

Valerie works with Maddie to create course offerings (outside of Mental Health First Aid) as well as work with Sam Rehtorik, our Dir of Partnerships & Engagements on leveraging new partnership opportunities with corporations to teach MHFA.  

I am blessed to have her on my team, and I know Meridian is equally grateful to have Valerie representing the organization in the various communities we serve.

Phillip Flint, RN – Primary (CCBHC)

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Excellence       ☒ Initiative           ☒ Integrity

Phillip is an RN in Primary Care in Lake City.   Phillip has traveled to other areas and departments to assist with training others on the new EMR system.  In addition, he has been a tremendous help in getting the medications updated in the system, not only for his department, but has also assisted with CSU, Bridge House, Williams Manor, and Recovery. He spent countless hours working with various staff and departments to make the transition as smooth as possible.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Phillip has traveled to Live Oak to learn dosing to allow the RN there to have a day off as well as to Bridge House to assist on the days the LPN is out and there is no other nursing coverage.

He has also set up a schedule where he can travel to outlying areas to ensure that all staff have the opportunity to receive the flu shot with a minimum of effort and inconvenience on their part ensuring the health of our coworkers. His willingness, skill and versatility are such an asset to Meridian as a whole.

  1. Excellence – assists other personnel in other departments excel by teaching them new skills.
  2.  Innovation – Worked out a system to ensure all Meridian employees were able to receive the flu shot.
  3.  Initiative – has learned other programs so he can fill in during times of staff shortages.
  4.  Integrity – has performed all these tasks without ever complaining.

He is genuine in his care and concern for coworkers and other programs and goes the extra mile to help when and where he can.  

Tina Harkness, Program Manager-MRT

Nomination Criteria:   ☒ Excellence       ☒ Initiative

Tina brings the experience, competence and ability of a Vice President to her job as a manager.  Tina humbly and happily fulfills all her duties.  She says she chose to work with MRT because she absolutely loves the program and the way people’s lives are changed for the better because of MRT.  Her passion for the MRT mission shows through her compassion for clients and for her staff.  Tina works after hours and on weekends when there is a need or someone on her team needs a break.  She will jump in and do back to back suicidality evaluations no matter how busy she is because she wants to make sure clients are getting care as soon as possible during a stressful time in their lives.  Recently Tina has put in countless hours at Disaster Relief sites because she cares about the needs of the communities that Meridian serves and she truly wants to help.

Excellence: Tina’s MRT area is the largest and has an abundance of calls.  When Tina came into her position there were many unfilled positions, putting a huge load on her staff.  Tina has built a team of dedicated, enthusiastic, caring staff to fulfill the great need to support a busy and geographically large area.  Her staffing rate is at 80% and her staff has more than doubled since she began.  Tina has become a SmartCare expert and works hard to train and assist her team to capture their activities accurately and on time.


Having grown her staff so well, Tina has been able to focus on outreach efforts to get the word out about MRT and other resources at Meridian.  Her team goes out into the community regularly to all sorts of agencies reaching all different age groups and provides friendly, helpful services as part of the outreach process.  Tina is aware of the importance of providing helpful merchandise/swag with Meridian’s contact information on it.  She has put in countless hours working with the Marketing department to make sure there is always plenty of swag at all MRT sites.  Through doing this very time-consuming work, which includes driving boxes of items to fare-flung locations and coordinating the logistics of such, Tina has helped all the MRT teams to case a wide net of outreach.  There is no doubt that more people know about Meridian and the services MRT offers due to Tina’s efforts.

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