NW Works Compliance Manager, Valerie Carney, brings decades of compliance experience to her role. Although she hadn’t worked in disability services prior to joining NW Works, Valerie was well prepared by her medical and military background for all the twists and turns her first few years at the company brought, including a global pandemic.
Born in Huntington, WVa, Valerie moved often growing up due to her father’s career. After graduating high school, Valerie spent a stint acting as a caregiver for her grandmother, before losing her to cancer. Shortly after her grandmother’s death, Valerie followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps joining the military. She served as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy for 20 years, including being stationed in Italy and Saudi Arabia. Within that role, Valerie worked extensively in inpatient services– including patient intake– managed training for other naval personnel, and eventually moved into a more compliance-heavy role as a senior corpsman.
Following the first Gulf War, Valerie returned to the United States and enrolled in a medical technician training program in California. Upon completion, she was stationed at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Md. There she managed a team of corpsmen who oversaw all medical records of naval personnel stationed at Fort Meade. Valerie retired from the Navy while at Fort Meade and transitioned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. as a civilian. After a few other roles with organizations such as Baltimore Medical System and Meritus Medical Center, Valerie joined NW Works in 2019.
A New Normal
But less than a year after beginning her role as the Compliance Coordinator at NW Works, Valerie’s world turned upside down with COVID-19.
“Coming from a strong healthcare background, I was amazed initially at the whole experience,” she said. “In all my years working in medicine, never did I ever experience anything like COVID-19[…]But it made me appreciate what I had learned and worked through. When you have medivacs flying in the desert, you get comfortable with everything else.”
Although there wasn’t much normalcy on a day-to-day basis in the early months of the pandemic, Valerie could count on reading the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor’s Office, and the federal officials. Between constant monitoring of guideline changes, she also handled reporting of cases within the prescribed 24-hours of notification, as well as assisting Human Resources with contact tracing for the organization.
“Watching the numbers every day was just an earth-shattering experience and it makes you appreciate how much we have to be thankful for on a whole different level,” Valerie said.
Beyond her coronavirus responsibilities, Valerie stayed busy ensuring NW Works was completing every audit required to maintain licensing and accreditation. Although she’s not on the front lines serving our country any longer, she has found great purpose in managing compliance for NW Works.
“There’s a satisfaction in being able to contribute to something that makes someone’s life better,” Valerie said. “You don’t have to walk into the White House. You can make a difference. And sometimes, the little ways can be the most meaningful. When you speak with some of the individuals we serve and you see their happiness and excitement at what they are achieving.”
When she’s not working, Valerie is busy volunteering with the General Federation of Women’s Club in Martinsburg providing support to families in need. In addition, she serves as the Treasurer of the Club. She also greatly enjoys reading and spending time with her son, Robert, who is her greatest inspiration in life.