Staff Spotlight | Advances 2021

Staff Spotlight

Victoria Onwualu, MBA, LCSW, Divisional Director

Victoria Onwualu, MBA, LCSW is divisional director of our Portals sites in South Los Angeles and mid-Wilshire neighborhoods. Born into a large family in the country of Nigeria, her upbringing played a major role in her career path and everyday life. She recalls fond memories of when she and the children in her family would go to the village and help others who were less fortunate. They gave them food and helped with their educational goals.

After moving to the United States and earning two master’s degrees in business administration and social work, she continued working with children, particularly those with behavioral issues.

Focusing on quality services, employees like Victoria make the agency what it is today. She has made it her life’s mission to help others thrive - employees and clients alike.

What’s the favorite part of your job?

With 18 years under my belt at Pacific Clinics, my employees keep me coming back. For the most part, we’ve been together since 2002. When you have a great team whom you trust and is invested, that’s what makes it easy for me to do my job. We all have the same goal: seeing a client do better, having a client go from living on the street to living in their own home, or managing their own life.

Share the most impactful client that you worked with. What was their journey like and why did it impact you?

We were able to help a client find permanent housing, as well as support him emotionally. He has now been in his own home for the last 15 years. He has been with the program for such a long time that he has had a profound impact on our team. When his father passed away, some of our employees attended the funeral and sent flowers as a way to show support. He told me, “I’m not going to forget what you all did for me.” In the day-to-day, we do whatever it takes to help those we serve. But when the clients thank you or call and ask if you can help their parents or their friend, it’s such a fulfilling feeling to truly know that we have made a positive difference.

Share your most rewarding accomplishment at work.

Being at Pacific Clinics for nearly two decades has been rewarding. A little after I started at the agency, I helped to implement the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program. This program is a team-based treatment model that provides multidisciplinary, flexible treatment and support to clients around the clock.

How do you practice self-care?

After a long day, I enjoy cooking and evening walks. Also, I prioritize sleep as a way to promote mental health. It is proven that sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health. So I try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, take a long evening walk, and put away my electronic devices before bedtime.

How has the pandemic changed your work?

COVID-19 has made us more nimble in meeting client needs, whether in person or remote. At Pacific Clinics, I have seen how the health crisis has brought the team even closer together to seek innovation and identify solutions that uplift and serve our community.

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