November 28, 2017

An avid photographer, Tioga’s Aaron Stallworth has worked hard to develop an impressive career path in Presby’s Affordable Housing program.

To Aaron Stallworth, it’s all about capturing the scene.

An avid photographer, Aaron knows that capturing the perfect scene is an art form and can speak louder than any words.

“I’ve always just had this passion for trying to take a better picture,” he said.

And as he sat down and beat away at the keyboard in his new office at Presby’s Inspired Life’s Tioga Apartments, Aaron took in the scene – and it’s a better picture than he could have ever imagined.

When he started working at Presby’s Inspired Life four years ago in a part-time role, this was a scene he barely envisioned. But now this scene is a reality as Aaron is sitting at his own desk in his own office as the Assistant Senior Housing Manager at Tioga, where he started his Presby career as a part-time computer facilitator.

“All my previous jobs, I tried to advance and go to a higher level. Every time I tried to move up to that higher level, it felt like there was a brick wall,” Aaron said.

Frustrated by the continued fork in the road he found himself at professionally, Aaron used the connections he made to fix computers, utilizing the degree he earned from DeVry University. A friend referred him to Vaccine Irick, the Assistant Director of Housing at Presby, to fix her computer.

Impressed by his skills, work ethic and glowingly positive attitude, Vaccine told Aaron to keep in touch.

“I called Vaccine and she said she had an open position here at Tioga,” Aaron explained. “They needed a part-time computer facilitator here. So I applied for the position and I interviewed and fortunately enough, I was hired in 2013.”

“When I met Aaron then, I could tell he was a driven, hardworking person,” Vaccine said. “I just had this feeling he could be an asset to our organization.”

Aaron proudly displays his Presby Team Member name tags, past and current, on his desk as a reminder of how far he has come and to never stop working hard.

Aaron’s duties have run the gamut within Presby’s Affordable Housing program.

The part-time computer facilitator role at Tioga saw him work there three days a week when he began. The never-ending dedication to the job shortly thereafter helped him earn the full-time role he’d been looking for. But the hard work didn’t stop there.

“In September 2015, I was promoted to administrative assistant at Mantua,” Aaron explained. “I had been with Mantua from then until June 2017. I was fortunate enough to be promoted to come back here to Tioga as the Assistant Housing Manager.

“The career progression here made me feel really good. One, because the opportunity was there and I was able to seize the opportunity without a whole bunch of barriers being put up in front of me. When I was the part-time computer facilitator, I had the opportunity to sit down with (Presby’s Executive Director of Affordable Housing) Bill Canteen. He and I talked about the potential career growth at Presby and what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be. I took that conversation to heart. I took what he said in terms of being passionate and aggressive and having that drive to move forward to heart.

“The opportunity came where the administrative assistant role opened at Mantua so I applied and interviewed and put myself out there in terms of skills and ability and my desire to grow.”

With the guidance of Mantua’s manager, Aaron took it upon himself to research and learn about affordable housing and HUD certifications so he could advance his career in Presby’s Affordable Housing ministry and become a manager.

“In my first six months at Mantua, I started doing all the research into the certification process,” Aaron said. “I then had the opportunity that May to go get my Assistant Housing Manager certification. I took the test, passed and earned that certification.”

In June 2017, Aaron’s Presby career came full circle for the time being as he returned to Tioga as the Assistant Housing Manager.

“With every ounce of progress and every step of that process, I knew more and more that I could do this. It became so natural. I knew I was ready for the next step. And when the time was right, I would take that next step on.

“Here I am, taking that next step.”

Aaron knows professional frustrations. He knows how people can be feeling and how hard things can get. He’s had all the same thoughts they’ve had.

That’s why he wants to show people that it’s not just a saying – hard work truly does pay off.

“Evaluate everything you offer to Presby,” Aaron said. “Look for ways you can find to offer more. I knew the Assistant Housing Manager certification was one thing, but I knew there were other certifications a manager could have.

“You’ve got to put yourself out there and be open and willing to explore new opportunities that may not be in your lane at the particular time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to have conversations with supervisors and managers and let them know where your heart is. Collect all the information you can and be willing to dig deep to find all the answers you’re looking for.

“I know this isn’t the last stop for me, and I know others can do it, too!”

For Aaron, the hard work never stops. And there are still pictures to develop.