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Acacia Spotlight looks to highlight the clinicians, staff, and programs that make Acacia what it is today. June’s spotlight highlights our very own “ray of sunshine” Jonathan Truong, Acacia’s Talent Acquisition Specialist!

Hello and thank you for tuning in I’m Jess Rodriguez, Chief Business Officer at Acacia, taking over Sincerely, Not Okay for another episode of the Acacia Spotlight!

Today we will be discussing the journey of Jonathan Truong, Acacia’s Talent Acquisition Specialist and resident beacon of hope, perseverance, and sunshine!

Check out our podcast below or at Sincerely, Not Okay & watch Jonathan’s live on our Youtube Channel.

Jonathan has inspired so many of us during his time at Acacia. We’ve spoken with Brenda Baresi, Acacia Davis Community Outreach Coordinator, & Dr. Kristen Strong, Acacia Isla Vista Director about their relationships with Jonathan.

When did you and Jonathan’s paths begin to intersect?

Brenda: Jonathan and I first crossed paths during my second year of college. After having a rough and lonely first year transition into the university, I attended my first meeting with Hermanas Unidas at UC Davis. I instantly clicked with Jonathan and a group of us went for Boba drinks in West Davis, where we both resided. Our friendship became instant and we have been close friends ever since.

Dr. Kristen: I first met Jonathan when he transitioned from the Davis Office Manager to our Talent Acquisition Specialist (in Acacia’s Goleta office) back in July, 2019!

What were your first impressions of Jonathan?

Brenda: I had a hard time believing someone could have so much heart and positive energy, but as I’ve gotten to know him through the years, he has proved again and again that his intentions are true. His hugs are so warm and amazing! It’s hard not to want to become friends with someone as bubbly as he is! 

Dr. Kristen: Jonathan is hands down the most passionate, enthusiastic, supportive, and warm person! Right away I could tell that he’s one of those people that asks you how you are doing and truly listens and cares. He truly embodies the Acacia spirit! 

How would you describe Jonathan?

Brenda:   He has such a great character. It is difficult to be sad or angry when you are around him because he reflects so much of his bright character onto those who are open to it. I would definitely describe him as a sweetheart. Jonathan is very self-less and gives a lot of himself to be there for others. His main concern is always making sure that those around him are okay and that they feel loved and supported. He’s a great listener when you need him to be but is also truthful when you need to hear things you may not want to come to terms with. There’s a balance and you always know he comes from a good place. His joyful personality is so vibrant and visible that everyone knows and loves him. I cannot describe the amount of times we were stopped on campus and in Downtown Davis with people who recognized him and wanted to chat up. You could say he’s Mr. Popular, but for good reasons! 

Dr. Kristen: Jonathan is a ray of sunshine 🙂 He spreads so much joy and positive energy, and everyone remarks that his spirit and passion is contagious. I get e-mails from therapists that meet Jonathan at our Goleta office or a social function to tell me how wonderful he is and how lucky we are to have him on the Acacia team. He is incredibly friendly and introduces himself to every new provider we have, has a great sense of humor, and he is the perfect person for interfacing with new applicants! Jonathan is also very hard working (he wakes up in the 4 o’clocks to take the train to work!) and he does so with a smile every day. He always greets me with a hug, asks how he can help, and I leave feeling energized and ready to tackle whatever the day brings!

His main concern is always making sure that those around him are okay and that they feel loved and supported.

Brenda Baresi

Has Jonathan impacted you? Personally? Professionally?

Brenda: Jonathan has impacted me greatly and has a lot to do with the growth you see in me today. I was very timid and insecure about my abilities, having a hard time talking to people or wanting to socialize. He helped me grow out of my cocoon throughout my time at the university. When I had ideas for fundraising that seemed to big or out of reach, he pushed me to have the confidence to push through. Not just by telling me “you can do this, you’ve got this mujer” but by letting me run ideas through him. He was never afraid to provide feedback for me to help me grow, whether it was in my tasks and leadership positions, or whether it was in my personal social environment. Little by little, his support and mentoring allowed me to gain the confidence in myself to believe I could always strive for more, and it helped me with every professional job position I went for. When I was finally confident enough to become a mentor myself, he referred struggling students to me as a peer advisor. Thanks to him, I had to confidence to take the steps and further my opportunities at Acacia Counseling and Wellness, which I am eternally grateful for. 

He was never afraid to provide feedback for me to help me grow, whether it was in my tasks and leadership positions, or whether it was in my personal social environment.

Brenda Baresi

Dr. Kristen: Jonathan constantly inspires me and makes me want to work even harder to help support students and the community. His dedication to our mission is so genuine and strong, and he inspires me to do the best I can in my own role. Jonathan approaches everything with a positive attitude and a we-got-this approach, and his encouragement and work ethic constantly lift me up and give me confidence. He is one of the many reasons that I look forward to coming to work!

His dedication to our mission is so genuine and strong, and he inspires me to do the best I can in my own role.

Dr. Kristen Strong

Anything you would say “thank you” to Jonathan about?

Brenda: I cannot thank Jonathan enough for the role he has played in my growth and development as a student, mentor and overall human-being. His kindness, selflessness and giving character shaped a lot of who I am today. His impact was great in my life and I can only imagine how much help and support he has provided others. I thank him for being there for me in times I didn’t think I needed anyone and would close myself off. I am thankful for him for dragging me out of my house when I wanted to be antisocial and for visiting me or inviting me over when I did not have capacity to socialize and be around anyone. Thank you Jonathan for unapologetic-ally being YOU. This world needs and deserves more souls like the one you have, but one thing is for certain, no one could ever measure up to the greatness you carry. Your heart is one of a kind and those of us who have gotten to experience being loved by it can only describe how beautiful it is to have a friendship with you. Thank you for everything. 

Having just expanded your Isla Vista office, how does Jonathan help with the workload?

Dr. Kristen: I am so thankful to have Jonathan screen and meet with potential applicants! He has been incredibly helpful in assisting the growth of our IV office. Since last summer, he has helped to recruit 10 amazing new therapists and 1 wonderful new psychiatrist for IV/Goleta. Applicants always have positive feedback to say about their meetings with Jonathan, and I’m so appreciative that he meets with new individuals looking to work here! Thank you, Jonathan! 

Jonathan truly is one-of-a-kind & we’re so glad he’s a part of the Acacia Family!

Stay tuned for more Acacia Spotlights!

Photos by KorbyQuan Reed, Creative Director.
Podcast hosted by Jess Rodriguez, Chief Business Officer.
Authored by Brenda Baresi and Dr. Kristen Strong.
Composed by Danielle Sharkey, Acacia Marketing.

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