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Meet Our Team: Deb Turner!

by Carolann Verrioli

Deb Turner: 211/LIFE LINE Program Director

How long have you been with the organization?

It will be 10 years in June (Started in 2012)


How did you become director of 211/LIFE LINE and what drew you to the program?

I was getting ready to graduate from RIT with a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in criminal justice and concentration in women and gender studies. While looking for work and considering my options for a future career path, I learned about 211/LIFE LINE through a friend who worked as a telecounselor. My friend told me about the work and types of calls they get coming in, which made me curious to learn more. I felt it was a good fit to get some work experience. After my interview, I was offered a full time position!

As a telecounselor, the work was challenging, yet very rewarding. I was drawn to hearing peoples stories and the empathy required to support them during a crisis. There is an amazing truth that our experiences form us into who we become. With that said, I could see that I could be in my caller's shoes if I had their experiences and trauma. In my time I have talked many individuals through safety plans and some rather tricky situations.

A few years later an opportunity came up to lead a project connected with coordinated entry. I did that work for about 2 years and transitioned into a contracts and Community Relations Supervisor role having me manage contracts and foster partnerships with other organizations. During my time in this role, the program had some tough times with leadership gaps. Another colleague and I took on the tough job of revamping our operations and culture. After about 2 years of struggle and rebuilding, I started my path as the Program Director to continue to support the needs of the program. I am so grateful and proud for how far our program has come over the years and specifically how our work lead us to be able to provide the best response and support to our community during the pandemic.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy seeing my team thrive, from either responding to new and exciting contracts and initiatives to watching staff develop into amazing leaders. Providing opportunity to upward growth has been a big highlight in my time here.


Do you have any hobbies?

Thrifting, water color painting, event planning/ organizing, binging a good show/ movies, home projects, and snuggling my 3 cats.