Please join us in welcoming our newest Mentor at PLAN, Heather Anderson Pickell!
Although reluctant to talk about herself, Heather describes herself as a “boots on the ground supporter of neurodivergent people”. She has had a career working to support people on the Autism Spectrum for more than 22 years! “I am passionate about this work! I learn from the people I support everyday. I love to learn from my experiences and when neurodivergent people share their experiences, I learn more and more about how to be a helpful supporter.”
Heather began working in this field straight out of High School. She was a student in a Community Social Work program and had an interest in working with Youth when a practicum in a group home for young adults with autism changed everything. She became aware of the myriad of gaps in the system that prohibited people from having a life that was good and a fire was lit!
As an advocate, Heather is not afraid to rock the boat and deeply believes that our work is never done. When we think we are finished, there is another question about what more can be done! This question continues to fuel her passion for the work. “There is always room for investigation to find out why things unfold the way they do and what can be done to support a person to make a change to improve things” Heather also talked about the importance of meaningful relationships being key to good lives and being drawn to explore the power of natural relationships and how to support others to have them.
An avid animal lover, Heather has made many connections with people who have the same passion and is keen to meet more people who feel the same way.
Another passion is collecting vintage treasures to refinish and make new again, a passion she inherited from her mom who owned an antique business. Together with her mom and brother, they ran a successful family business for many years.
When I asked Heather to describe herself in 3 words, she responded “Idealist, Passionate and I highly value relationships” (ok that is more than 3 words but that’s ok)”
A quote that guides Heather in her life is one by Maya Angelou:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”