Meet Executive Director Colleen Dietmeyer
As a 23-year-old social work student looking for an internship, Colleen Dietmeyer wasn’t sure hospice was going to be the right fit for her career. Now she’s the Executive Director of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care in St. Louis, MO and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Moving on Up
Colleen began her career with Crossroads while she was still a student at the University of Missouri, pursuing her graduate degree in social work. A military wife, she had moved to the Sedalia, MO area from Nashville with her husband. Her practicum instructor suggested an internship with Crossroads.
“I was terrified,” Colleen confesses now. “I did not feel ready to work in hospice.”
Luckily, she did have one positive hospice experience she could draw on.
“My grandfather had received hospice care a few years earlier. He was only on for about three days, so I saw the short-term benefits which were some great visits from the support team… They were just like little angels that floated into the room while we were sitting bedside with my grandfather.”
She joined the nearby Warrensburg, MO office as a full-time intern and fell in love with the work. But her time as an intern was going to be short lived. She interviewed for a newly opened position of bereavement coordinator and got the job!
“It was my last semester, and I loved that job,” Colleen remembers. “I always had five support groups going on at that time at churches and the community center in Warrensburg.”
As a military wife, you rarely get to stay in one place, and when her husband was discharged, it was time to move closer to family.
“I spoke with my supervisor Val Criswell with full transparency and asked if there would be an opportunity to transfer to the St. Louis office,” she shares.
Colleen was soon named Volunteer Manager for Crossroads’ St. Louis location.
“I’m so glad I had that experience,” says Colleen. “I really grew our volunteer department. Then our palliative care program was growing, so I moved into the role of palliative care social worker.”
Colleen worked closely with our nurse practitioner, visiting patients together. While in this role, she also took on a hospice caseload as a hospice social worker.
Having served in most of the roles in Crossroads’ support services department, Colleen was an easy choice for the Support Services Director position in St. Louis.
“I served as Support Services Director for three years,” Colleen says. “Then in November 2021, I was offered the Executive Director position that I hold today.”
Working at Crossroads
“I have always felt so supported by this company with my passions and my skills and my hospice knowledge,” Colleen shares. “I’ve really grown not only in my career, but personally as an adult here with so much support from the Crossroads family.”
Since Colleen became Executive Director, there have been a lot of positive changes in the St. Louis office.
“We’re growing. The morale is high. Staff retention is high. We have a great leadership team.” Colleen explains.
“To see a student intern work hard, move up the ranks, and achieve the top leadership position at an office is so exciting,” says Vice President of Patient Support Services Sherri Bickley, CSW, M.Th. “It is how leadership and development should be fostered and encouraged at a company. I am so proud of her!”
A Culture of Promoting from Within
When Colleen was promoted to Executive Director, Arlene Zimmerman, MSW, LCSW stepped into the role of Support Services Director.
“Arlene worked with us for three years as a hospice social worker, and she has over 10 years of hospice experience which brings a lot of education and experience to our team,” Colleen shares.
“Another important leader in our office is team lead Sharell Scott,” Colleen tells us. “Sharell was an LPN in the field for five years, but was promoted from within just like me and Arlene, and now she’s our team lead as a registered nurse. She was going to school, and we supported her with different shifts, making sure she could be at school, but also work for us.”
The Crossroads Difference
“I’m just so proud of our team,” Colleen says. “Some hospices are not accepting admissions right now. Some are five days out from being able to accept an admission. But our team is committed to same-day admissions. We recently got a referral from a hospital who was discharging the patient late at night. Our team was there at 1 a.m. to admit the patient.”
“I know what it’s like to be in the field. I did it. I know what it’s like to be on call. I know what it’s like to walk into a family’s home at 3 a.m. to sit with someone who is dying,” shares Colleen. “As Executive Director, I’m passionate about work-life balance and being supportive to our team. I think people can see that we all enjoy working together, and we’re passionate about what we do. I leave the office so fulfilled every day, and I hope that everyone feels the same way!”
Crossroads provides support to patients and families facing serious and terminal illness. To learn more about joining our team, please visit our Careers page.
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