Stefani Shaffer-Pond graduated from Wayne State University with a Masters in Social Work, concentrating in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Originally “just” a social worker, Stefani spent the first part of her career working intensively to serve trauma survivors, particularly those from sexual and religious minority groups. Focusing her efforts on program and agency development, policy creation, systems assessment, process improvement, and grassroots advocacy; Stefani worked to build bridges between the mainstream and the marginalized, to improve quality of care, increase understanding, and reduce stigma.
Her focus shifted dramatically in 2008, when her only child was unexpectedly diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Failure. The experience of parenting her son through nearly four years of nightly dialysis, 40+ surgeries and a kidney transplant (all while working full time) helped Stefani to discover a new way to serve: educating health care providers about medical trauma and trauma-informed patient care. Becoming one of the first dedicated Patient Experience Consultants in the state of Michigan, she worked with hundreds of doctors across 23 medical specialties, chaired the NASW-Michigan’s Healthcare and Medicine Workgroup, sat on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and the Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime TTAC Consultants Bureau, and began to present frequently on topics connecting patient experience to trauma-informed care.
In 2016, Stefani was tapped to bring her knowledge of leadership, client care and psychology to a whole new industry. She began co-facilitating a talk that applied patient engagement strategies to the Information Security community at conferences around the country. Stefani understood that professionals with high-level technical skills (whether technologists, hospitalists, or something in between) often struggle to communicate their knowledge effectively to their clients. She began consulting with leaders within IT, offering them the same strategies and techniques that made her such an impactful community advocate, program administrator, and patient engagement consultant.
Today, Stefani splits her time between working with business and technology leaders to enhance their soft skills, consulting with health care providers to create optimal patient engagement experiences, and writing/speaking on her personal passion: effective strategies for mental health providers working with diverse populations. From her beginning as “just” a social worker Stefani has tied the divergent threads of her experience together to create a career focused on empowering highly skilled specialists from multiple industries to create dynamic relationships with the people they serve.