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Empowering Change: A Conversation with Commissioner Stacy Alvord on Leadership, Legacy, and Progress




TipCo Automated Systems is proud to partner with a group of visionary leaders in the health and human services (HHS) sector, particularly focusing on women who are spearheading change in their communities. These leaders recognize the pressing challenges faced by their county departments, including critical worker shortages and increasing demand for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They identify the need for more efficient and supportive technology to address these issues effectively.

We had the privilege of discussing these pivotal changes with Commissioner Stacy Alvord of the Oswego County, New York Department of Social Services. With a distinguished 44-year career in public service, Commissioner Alvord has exemplified unwavering dedication to her mission of helping families thrive and improving community well-being. As she embarks on the journey of retirement, her legacy of compassion and commitment will undoubtedly endure, leaving an indelible mark on the Oswego County community and beyond.

Interview with Commissioner Stacy Alvord

Join us as we delve into Commissioner Alvord’s insights and experiences, exploring her remarkable contributions to the HHS sector and the profound impact she has had on countless lives throughout her tenure.

What inspired you to pursue a career in social services, and what motivated you to take on leadership roles within Oswego County?

I was hard wired as a child to lead a purposeful life. My parents inspired me with the wisdom of helping those who are less fortunate and accepting people where they are. I had many opportunities to work with and for dynamic woman leaders. I recognize that the same skills and strengths that are critical when working with children, youth, and families are the same in building a strong organization with a culture of respect and professionalism.

With your extensive experience in the field, what do you consider to be the most pressing issue facing social services today, and how do you propose addressing it?

Keeping the mission at the forefront is key to leading an organization through tough times. An organization always has strengths that can be built upon. Empowering our most experienced colleagues to find solutions to the barriers of meeting the mission is a powerful process. The professional growth I have witnessed over the past few turbulent years continues to inspire me. We were fortunate to welcome back some of our colleagues who retired but were willing to assist as we rebuilt our workforce.

In what ways do you believe technology and innovation can further enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of social services delivery in your county?

Outdated software systems are still used in New York State. We have a critical need to upgrade systems to integrate eligibility programs, remove redundancies, and bring efficiency to governmental agencies. Local districts need to be creative and bring new technology into our work.

As you are one of the first leaders in the HHS realm to embrace AI, what made you decide this was a solution for your agency and community?

Oswego County DSS is excited to introduce EVA and the use of AI to provide better ways to keep our constituents informed about our program and services, as well as the status of their applications. The folks who seek our help need assurance and support. We just do not have enough workers to respond to all the calls and questions from our constituents. EVA will be able to assist callers 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Our most overburdened families will have reassurance and hope through the information EVA can provide.

Conclusion

As we conclude our time with Commissioner Stacy Alvord, it’s clear that her dedication and passion for serving her community have a lasting effect on Oswego County and beyond. Through her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of families and individuals in need, Commissioner Alvord has demonstrated what true leadership and compassion look like.

As she embarks on her retirement, we extend our heartfelt congratulations and warmest wishes to Commissioner Alvord. May this next phase of life be filled with joy, relaxation, and new adventures. Your legacy of service will continue to inspire us all, and we are immensely grateful for your invaluable contributions to the HHS sector.

 


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