Q+A: Dee Wirth:

Just one person’s support can change another’s life

Dee Wirth, director of WestCare Women’s Care in Las Vegas, is shown on April 13, 2017.

Having come through her own struggles with addiction, Dee Wirth got clean and turned her life around at the nonprofit WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus. After earning a bachelor’s degree in human services and an MBA, Wirth was hired at WestCare and worked her way into a top position at the organization, which provides crucial behavioral health services.

Do you have any recent news to share?

WestCare, which was founded in Southern Nevada more than 42 years ago, continues to grow into other regions. As opioid and other types of addictions continue to rise, I’m really proud of the efforts and strides WestCare has taken nationally to help combat these issues and lift the “human spirit.”

Since its inception, WestCare has grown to more than 100 locations in 17 U.S. states, Guam, the Pacific Islands and the Virgin Islands. The nonprofit organization has several programs available in each of its communities. Among the services we offer are: women and children’s programs, VA programs, homeless programs, residential facilities, mental health services and transitional services. We also provide Community Triage Centers to help patients obtain specific services.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

One of my greatest mentors once told me that if I love what I do then I will never have to work another day for the rest of my life. Personally and professionally, I have to be excited to start my day and look forward to what I’m doing. I know that if the day comes when my passion and excitement for what I do every day stops, then it’s time to change fields. I am happy to say I continue to love the work I do at WestCare and the people I get to serve every day.

If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?

I’d like to see more access to permanent housing for the homeless. These are people who too often get overlooked, and it’s time to start taking care of all the people who make up our community.

What’s the biggest issue currently facing Southern Nevadans?

The biggest issue right now is the continuum of care from treatment back to the community. When one of the people we serve is treated, such as in our Community Triage Center, we do everything we can to continue helping them on their journey to recovery after they leave our care.

What has been your most exciting professional project?

We are currently working on expanding the women’s facility to include transitional housing for those who complete inpatient treatment. I’m very excited about this because it will mean housing will be available for 12 months, which will help the women we serve as they get back on their feet.

What is your favorite place to have fun in Las Vegas?

I love going to the mountains and the lake, no matter what time of year it is.

Describe your management style.

I am an authoritative leader with an emphasis on coaching.

Where do you see yourself and/or your company in 10 years?

In 10 years I see myself as the director of (WestCare’s) women’s campus and director of transitional housing. I see our organization making tremendous strides in the Las Vegas community and health care system. We have new opportunities and offerings coming up in the future that will change the future of health care as we know it. I’m excited that WestCare is moving in the right direction to keep up with the needs of the people we serve.

What is your dream job outside of your current field?

I would love to be a motivational speaker who talks to groups and organizations around the world.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would like to live in Italy.

Whom do you admire?

I admire Oprah Winfrey and other empowered women who have worked hard, become successful, and found inner peace and balance.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when people are late or unprepared. In this field it’s vital that we are on time and prepared for anything to happen or change at a moment’s notice.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be more patient with the people I care the most about and to allow them to have their own experiences instead of bringing my position as a director into my own home.

What is something that people might not know about you?

People may not know that I have worked very hard for my accomplishments, but I was groomed by people in this field who cared about my success. My life has come full circle — I used to be one of the women seeking help at the Women and Children’s Campus — so I’m living proof that if I can do it, anyone else can too.

What is something really personal but widely applicable that you’ve learned in doing this work on both sides of the coin?

A lot of times people don’t believe in their abilities, so it is imperative that leaders take the time to coach, support and promote as many people as they can. It only takes one person to believe in another to make a difference in their life.