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Marin County social worker wins Pride Business Leadership Awards

Jenny Bates

Licensed clinical social worker

Waves of Change Recovery Services, 655 Irwin St., #1001, San Rafael, CA 94901; 415-463-3480; wavesofchangerecovery.com

Professional background: Clinical social work

Education: Master of Social Work

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

Jenny Bates, a licensed clinical social worker at Waves of Change Recovery Services, is a 2022 winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Business Leadership Awards.

About me

I am an out, LGBTQIA+ business leader with a strong passion for helping others and serving my community.

I am a licensed clinical social worker for over 25 years working in the behavioral health care industry as a leader and a direct service provider.

During the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, I helped transition MarinHealth Medical Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health programs to a virtual format, ensuring patents continued to receive the crucial therapy and mental health services needed during a time of great uncertainty.

It was during this time that I decided to focus on the tremendous need for accessible LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy services. During the pandemic while working full time, I started my own company Waves of Change Recovery Services so that those suffering could get support from someone who is out and experienced in the recovery process.

Waves of Change Recovery Services provides LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy services for individuals, couples, and families, including gender affirming surgery letters. I am a lifeline to those in the community who struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction, codependency issues, and those who are going through life transitions or struggling with change in their life.

In addition, I am active in my community and am a proud member of Rotary International and spend most of my free time volunteering in my local community to make it a better place to live.

Some questions

What have you learned about your leadership in the last year and how will it change the way you lead going forward?

I have had over 20 years as a manager within organizations. This last year I recognized being a manager was extremely difficult and was not what I wanted anymore.

Working for large organizations has its own set of expectations and I struggled with needs of the organization, needs of the staff and the needs of the client. They were not always in sync. I was not able to lead, I had to manage. This did not sit well with me. It was at that time I knew I had to make a change and step out and take the chance to start my own business.

By starting my own business, I had opportunity to meet the needs of my community and offer it directly. I now get to lead others without internal pressures and can volunteer my time training and mentoring future leaders. I am able to create vision, inspire others, and be a change agent in my own business and community.

What steps would you like to see in the North Bay business community to prioritize diversity and inclusion?

It is crucial for organizations to support people to be their authentic self and not create an environment where others fear persecution for who they are as a human being. This is not done by only having a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement. This is done by providing training and the creation of welcoming policies.

I would like to see the North Bay business community come together to support proper training on DEI and support business to be become more welcoming and inclusive. We have a lot of success with some organizations, and we should share our success with others.

Jenny Bates

Licensed clinical social worker

Waves of Change Recovery Services, 655 Irwin St., #1001, San Rafael, CA 94901; 415-463-3480; wavesofchangerecovery.com

Professional background: Clinical social work

Education: Master of Social Work

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

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