Moffat County 20 Under 40: Amanda Arnold — A passion for community health
Craig native Amanda Arnold has made a career out of her passion for helping others. From her tenure as executive director of Moffat County United Way, to her current role as director of quality and people operations for Northwest Colorado Health, to her numerous volunteer and service roles, Arnold is a prime example of a Moffat County native returning to her hometown to try to better the community.
The Craig Press caught up with Arnold to ask a few questions about her career, her home life, and her philosophy of community.
Craig Press: What problem would you like to solve?
Amanda Arnold: I would solve the lack of access to behavioral health services, which continues to be a major problem in Moffat County. The shortage of behavioral health providers impacts the timeliness in which our community members in need are able to access care. Behavioral health is just as vital to a person's overall wellbeing and quality of life as physical health. Additionally, the mind and body are connected, which means that our thoughts, feelings, and actions can affect the quality of our physical health.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself excelling in my career at Northwest Colorado Health. I believe in the mission of our organization, which is to improve the quality of life for all Northwest Colorado residents by providing comprehensive health resources and creating an environment that supports community wellness. I have always had a passion for health care, which is why I pursued an education in health care management. I also have a passion for helping people, which is why I enjoyed the work I did as the executive director of Moffat County United Way. The work we do at Northwest Colorado Health combines those two passions. I believe I can make a difference in my community and continue to help people. I also see myself as an avid volunteer in 10 years. I enjoy volunteering and giving back to my community. My family will continue to be a priority to me. Finally, I will continue to support my husband and children in whatever they are pursing in 10 years.
“We are the generation of change. We have seen changes in technology, the way we do business, the needs of the communities, and changes within ourselves. With all of the obstacles we face, we adapt, overcome, and inspire ourselves and those around us.”
What community organizations and volunteer work are you involved in?
I am currently involved in and volunteer for Connections 4 Kids, Christmas 4 Kids, and the Community Kitchen. Over the last couple of years, I have also been part of the Holiday Drive, Communities That Care, Moffat County Human Resource Council, and the Moffat County Self Sufficiency Committee. I have also served on several boards, including the Yampa Valley Gives Board, the Connections 4 Kids Board, and the Advancing Bridges National Board.
I believe in volunteering and being an active part of your community, as it provides vital assistance to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community. There have been several times where I have seen something happen that would have been impossible without several people who were willing to help. One of those times was when Northwest Colorado hosted Rural Philanthropy Days in Moffat County. I was the co-chair of the conference, along with Kate Nowak. We had so many people, businesses, and nonprofit funders volunteer to help make the event a success and to provide local nonprofits training, as well as the opportunity to network with funders. The work of many volunteers led to our region bringing in more grant funds from the Front Range to fulfill community needs.
Who's your hero and why?
My mom is and always has been my hero. She raised me, as well as my two sisters, as a single mother, while working very hard to provide for us. She is strong, dependable, caring, and would do anything for her children. She worked hard in times of struggle to make sure we had what we needed. I have seen her overcome several obstacles and come out the other side with her head held high. She supports me, and the decisions I make, showed me that success comes from hard work, and she inspires me and taught me to believe in myself always. She is inspirational and always puts others before herself. She would help anyone in need, which is where I believe my passion for helping people came from.
One time in high school, I agreed to watch my friend's baby. That evening, she did not return to pick up her child. She was overwhelmed with all that being a mother required but was not mature enough to handle it. My mom stepped up and said we could take care of the child for a few months to give the young mother some time to find her way.
I will always be in awe of how my mom handled that particular situation. She is so committed to her family and would do anything for her grandchildren including being a taxi to practice and activities. I am proud of what my mom has accomplished and of the person she helped me become.
What is it about your generation that sets it apart?
We are the generation of change. We have seen changes in technology, the way we do business, the needs of the communities, and changes within ourselves. With all of the obstacles we face, we adapt, overcome, and inspire ourselves and those around us.
Why did you choose Moffat County?
I grew up in Moffat County, left for three years to attend college and moved back. Growing up, I was adamant that I would not live here as an adult. It is funny how our opinions change as we grow and mature.
After college, I married my husband, Daniel Arnold. He grew up in Meeker. At that point, we both agreed that we wanted to raise our children in a smaller community that was near the mountains so we could enjoy the outdoors. We chose to live in Craig.
I am so happy that we made that decision so many years ago. I love my community. My husband and I both have great jobs that we enjoy. My children enjoy attending school here and are involved in local sports, such as Parks and Rec football and basketball, as well as gymnastics.
Family is definitely another reason we chose this community. We have a lot of family nearby who step in to help with the kids. We are lucky to have family nearby and we are lucky to be able to call this community home.
What do you do for play in Moffat County?
I absolutely love being outdoors with my family. We enjoy going camping, riding the four wheelers, and taking a drive in the mountains to enjoy the fall colors. In the summertime, I am all about s'mores around the campfire and playing in the creek. In the winter months, I am all about sitting by the fireplace and watching it snow all cozy and warm. We are lucky to live so close to the mountains so we can easily access them to play and have fun!
What have you read lately that has changed the way you think? And how?
A book that I read recently that changed the way I think is called, "The First 90 Days." This book is about transitioning into new leadership positions, common pitfalls new leaders encounter, and tools and strategies to avoid them. This book really helped me set a plan for entering my new role at Northwest Colorado Health.
The book shares a lot about how to lead your team and how to be the example of what you expect. I believe as a leader it is important to listen and learn before any changes are implemented. You need the knowledge about why things are being done the way they are before you can decide what needs changed or modified. The book also reinforced what I already knew and believed, which is that it takes teamwork to be successful. A group of people can accomplish so much more than any one person alone.
What kind of future do you see for your industry or career in Moffat County?
The health care industry is complex and always changing, although sometimes slow moving. One area of change is pay for performance, which provides financial incentives to clinicians for achieving better health outcomes. Pay for performance systems usually measure process outcomes, such as measuring blood pressure, lowering blood pressure, or counseling patients to stop smoking.
In the traditional "fee for service" model, doctors are paid a set amount regardless of patient outcomes. The health care industry may be changing and evolving, but my hope is that these changes mean better outcomes for patients. Because of our aging population, the need for health care and additional health care providers will increase. Rural areas struggle to recruit providers, which is a concern because of the increased and growing need for healthcare.
If you could change one things about Moffat County what would you change and why?
One thing I would like to see in Moffat County is more OHV trails. As I stated before, my family and I really enjoy exploring the outdoors. Because Moffat County does not offer very many trails, we enjoy visiting Rio Blanco to ride their trails. We have such beautiful country all around us. I think that by developing more trails locally, we could attract tourists to our community, as well as enjoy them ourselves.
What else would you like readers to know?
Through my position at Moffat County United Way as well as at Northwest Colorado Health, I have seen the impact that monetary donations have on our community. We have amazing nonprofits who do wonderful work making a true impact on the people they serve. They are not able to do what they do without monetary donations. They are true stewards of the funding they receive and many times struggle to have enough to help the population they strive to serve. I would like you to consider donating to a local nonprofit to help them help people who need support in our community.