Leadership Spotlight: Heather Schwartz, Program Manager

Please describe your background, and what led you to EA:Heather Schwartz, Program Manager sitting on a log in the forest with her dogs

I recently moved to Eureka, CA after one year in Alaska and Missoula, MT for 5 years before that. It’s nice to be in a warmer climate. I received my MSW while in Missoula and worked primarily with adults dealing with cancer and loss, as well as end of life care. When I moved to Alaska, I worked at a high school for teens dealing with trauma, substance misuse and other major life transitions. I am passionate about working with people who are trying to cope with crisis, grief, or life change. When I saw EA had positions for a new AOT program in Eureka, I knew that it would be of interest to me. It’s wonderful to work for an organization that provides care in so many different parts of California and to so many people.


What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA?

I was raised in an environment where we normalized talking about our feelings. My mom was always sharing her books on psychology, philosophy and self-help. From a young age, I was introduced to many coping skills that I would utilize later in my life. My dad and I lived in Europe when I was a teenager and we traveled to many different countries, allowing me the opportunity to see how other cultures live life. My parents were always supportive and nurturing. I feel that I have been able to more easily support and nurture others because of that.


What advice would you give to someone interested in working with youth in foster care?

I believe that all people, youth and adults, need safe spaces to heal and grow. If you are a person who has the desire to be available to others in this capacity, it is wonderful to witness what they can achieve. And to watch yourself grow in the process.


What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?

I have four dogs and love taking them on road trips, hikes and to the beach. I enjoy reading, running and movies. I love cooking. My husband and I have also enjoyed trying all the “new to us” restaurants in Humboldt County.


What's a hidden talent you have, or something about yourself that would surprise most people?

I am an artist. I got my bachelors in Painting and MA in Contemporary Art. I love painting large scale abstract landscapes.