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Photo Courtesy of Ileana Helwig. 
Photo Courtesy of Ileana Helwig. 

AL DÍA Women of Merit Honoree: Ileana Helwig

Ileana Helwig is one of the AL DÍA Women of Merit honorees, in the non-profit field. 

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The AL DÍA Women of Merit event is a celebration of women who are breaking barriers and emerging in leadership positions across the nation.

Ileana Helwig, Chief Corporate Officer at Children's Crisis Treatment Center, is one of the honorees at the event, in the field of education.

In the lead-up to the event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees about their biggest career challenges and accomplishments, gender equality in their industries and their of advice for other women looking to make their way into their particular field of work. 

Here are Ileana Helwig's responses:

What has been the most important challenge and achievement in your career?

The most important challenge in my career was overcoming the financial downturn of 2009. I am very proud that I was a part of the CCTC team that was able to able overcome this huge obstacle and this helped to lay the ground work to allow for the continued success of the organization. I have two important achievements of my career at CCTC. The first achievement, is that during my tenure I have helped grow the agency’s organizational budget from $1.5 million to $26 million. The second achievement would be increasing the number of programs CCTC provides from 4 to 16 programs. These two achievements have allowed CCTC to continue to serve more children and families with mental and behavioral health services and for this I am very proud.

How has your industry changed in recent years in terms of gender equality?

The mental and behavioral health field has always had a large number of women working in the profession. With that being said, women were not always treated with the same respect as men in the industry. I am happy that I am now seeing this change, especially in recent years, where women are now being given the same respect that men have held for years. Though there is more room for improvement, it is promising to see that women are visibly the leaders and change agents in the field that was once dominated by men.

What do you think is the work that still needs to be done?

I think that organizations need to create work environments that allow female employees with families the ability to have flexible schedules if their job allows for it. Also, though headway is being made I think that we need to continue to see and offer more opportunities for more women in positions of leadership. In line with opening the doors of opportunities for women as leaders in the industry, compensation for these opportunities have to be commensurate with these positions as there is still inequity in pay between men and women in similar leadership positions.

What is your message to other women trying to make their way in the industry?

Be a warrior, don’t be afraid to make yourself known, your talents seen, and your opinions heard. Let your confidence be the guide that allows you to seek opportunities that will challenge you and fulfill you in all your professional endeavors. Trust yourself and seek the support of those that support you and your life’s mission. As women we have a voice and should always allow that voice to be heard, loud and proud, communicating the unique qualities and skills we possess and bring to the table – NEVER FORGET THAT!

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