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Kendra Julius: June Monthly Staff Spotlight

CQL is excited to continue our Monthly Staff Spotlight series in 2024! This offers an opportunity for you to get to know our team even better. For our June article, we’re featuring Kendra Julius, one of our Quality Enhancement Specialists!

“In her role as a part time Quality Enhancement Specialist, Kendra contributes to many behind the scenes projects to support CQL, state partners, and organizations to enhance their services and quality monitoring,” Lindsey Moore, CQL Project Coordinator, who nominated Kendra. She continues, “As CQL’s go-to for resolving unique barriers, she continues to be a mentor for her colleagues and other collaborators.”

We’ve asked Kendra a series of questions about her history, background, experiences with CQL, as well as some questions to get to know her better.

What is your position at CQL and what does that role encompass?

I am a Quality Enhancement Specialist. I joke that I have to get my nose into everything at CQL – I really love everything that we do to support our partners in finding out what really matters to the people they support and implementing systems to meet those dreams!

Most of my work lately has been supporting brand new organizations through the Systems Accreditation process, virtual IRRs, and developing new trainings to offer our partners.

Why did you decide to get involved in the human services field?

I always knew I wanted to do something that changed lives. For the longest time I thought I wanted to be a cardiologist and literally save people’s lives, but while I was in college I worked in a couple different nursing home facilities and just felt really discouraged with how medicalized every aspect of people’s lives became when they moved in.

I got a second job at one point as a DSP location that essentially 24/7 staffed apartments and found the emphasis that was put on choice and control extremely jarring, in the most amazing way. Very shortly after starting that position I changed majors and started trying to figure out how I could make empowering people, regardless of their support needs, a career.

What is your professional history, background, and experience?

I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from South Dakota State University. I have done direct support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as providing support to people who are aging in assisted living and nursing facilities. In addition to direct support, I have worked as house manager, a state program specialist supporting organizations with compliance, and for almost 7 years, I have worked for CQL doing accreditation, training and certification work.

What are three skills you have that help you in your work?

  1. Empathy
  2. Persistence
  3. “How-Not-If” Personality

Is there anything you would like to share about yourself personally?

I love being outside! I live in Western South Dakota with my husband, two young children and two elderly dogs (a Chihuahua Dachshund Mix and a Border Collie mix).  I am really into re-wilding and have turned my entire front yard into a mostly native wildflower garden and have a lot of garden projects in the works in my backyard. I love to hike and was even getting into backpacking a little before I had my children – I am sure we will get back into it once they are able to carry their own gear!

CQL Lightning Round!

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be? What is the first thing you would do with your new power?

Self-duplication: I have so many time intensive interests that it would be amazing to literally have more of me to do all the work I want to accomplish. I can see it now, a dozen of me weeding my gardens, a couple playing games with the kids, a few of me meeting with organizations, and probably a couple just cleaning my dang house!

Sweet or savory? What is your favorite sweet/savory food?

Savory, especially spicy things – my current hyperfixation is chili crisp on everything.

You have to pick a song at karaoke, what song do you choose?

“Poker Face” by Lady Gaga is what I am most well know for choosing probably.

Who is a person that inspires you (famous or non)? Why?

My grandma – she really embodies the principles of self-determination, that your life is for you to live and experience fully, and it’s never the wrong choice to do what makes you happy.

What is one thing about you that most people wouldn’t be able to guess?

I detest the snow, cold, and wind – South Dakota has an excess of all 3 of those and yet I haven’t escaped. 😂

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a very young child, Shania Twain. As an older child, a surgeon.

Do (or did) you play any instruments? If so, which ones?

I played a few in my youth, I was only formally trained as trombonist, but I also played piano and accordion proficiently, and I have dabbled in playing guitar and violin. One of my personal goals is to pick up my instruments and start playing again.

What do you like to do for fun, in your free time?

Gardening, Hiking, Swimming (in natural bodies of water, not pools), and reading

If you could only eat one food for a full week, what would it be?

I couldn’t. This literally sounds like a nightmare. I barely can stand leftovers of most things more than once in a week.

Do you have one totally irrational fear? What is it?

I am terrified of heights. I try really hard not to let this limit me, but you will never catch me skydiving. I did enjoy hot air ballooning despite my anxiety.

How many US states/territories have you been to? Which state was the most memorable?

40 – it’s really hard to pick a favorite, but I really enjoyed Texas, specifically Big Bend National Park.

How many countries have you been to? Which one do you always recommend people visit?

11 – It’s really hard to recommend because everywhere is amazing, but I loved Wales way more than I thought I would!

What is your least favorite household chore?

Putting away laundry or dusting. There are so many other things I would rather spend my time doing.

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About CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.