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  • Writer's pictureGail Montgomery

Empathy, Challenges, & Triumphs: A Conversation with Shari Repinski of Rocky Mountain Human Services

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In the latest edition of "Trailblazing for Success," we had the pleasure of hosting Shari Repinski, the CEO and executive director of Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS). In this engaging discussion, Shari shared insights into the critical work RMHS does, the challenges they face, and the powerful impact they have on the lives of individuals in Colorado communities.

Overview of Rocky Mountain Human Services:

RMHS, a nonprofit organization based in Colorado, plays a vital role in providing support services, primarily case management, for individuals facing disabilities, homelessness, and developmental challenges in babies and toddlers. Shari emphasized the organization's commitment to simplifying access to services, leveraging connections with government and partner organizations to ensure quick and easy support for those in need.

Challenges in Building and Sustaining Teams:

Shari discussed the primary challenge of building and sustaining a team for an organization with over 550 employees. Limited resources, common in the nonprofit sector, make it challenging to fully develop a team that can meet the diverse needs of the community. The struggle to balance staffing requirements and service provision underscores the complexity of the support system and the need for dedicated, engaged staff.

Motivation through Connection and Storytelling:

Motivating a stretched-thin team and oneself in the face of resource limitations is no easy feat. Shari highlighted the importance of connecting staff to the organization's mission. By sharing success stories—small victories that make a significant difference in someone's life—RMHS fosters a sense of purpose and motivation among its staff. The emphasis on simplicity in processes ensures that the team can focus on delivering support rather than navigating bureaucratic obstacles.

Empathy as a Power Skill: In navigating the challenges of their work, Shari emphasized the power of empathy as a critical skill for RMHS staff. Listening to individuals and understanding their needs beyond what is explicitly expressed is key to providing effective support. Shari acknowledged the difficulty of balancing procedural requirements with the human element but stressed the profound impact that a listening ear and a sense of hope can have on those seeking assistance.

Conclusion: Shari Repinski's insights shed light on the intricate balance of challenges and triumphs in the nonprofit sector, particularly in organizations like RMHS that aim to make a difference in the lives of those facing adversity. The conversation underscored the importance of building motivated and empathetic teams, simplifying processes, and staying connected to the mission to overcome the resource constraints inherent in the field.


Rocky Mountain Human Services is an organization dedicated to the belief that every individual deserves respect and the support they need to live the lives they envision for themselves in their community of choice. As an organization that provides supports to thousands of persons across Colorado, the impacts and outcomes of systemic racism are fundamentally at odds with our beliefs and our purpose. Confronting the racial inequality that has oppressed Black people is inherently consistent with our mission and beliefs. We stand with the Black community, and will work in solidarity in the fight against systemic discrimination and racism. We commit to engaging in the introspection and work that is necessary to become an actively anti-racist, fully inclusive organization. 


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