Board Spotlight – Vanassa Owens-Warren

A veteran serving veterans

Vanassa Owens-Warren

Registered Nurse – Administrator (retired)

How long have you been a member of Volunteers of America Michigan?
Over 18 years. I joined in January of 2003.

Why did you join Volunteers of America Michigan’s board?
I wanted to share my administrative, medical and government knowledge and experiences, learn more about the organization and was referred by past board member’s aunt.

What do you enjoy most about serving on the board? 
Learning about all of the fabulous things being done for our community and contributing to the cause whenever I can.

What VOAMI services are you most passionate about? 
I am most passionate about veteran programs for the homeless along with senior housing. It is important to assist homeless veterans upon discharge from the military and to provide job opportunities in the communities where they live, through vocational rehab programs. As the senior population increases with the aging baby boomers and more disabled seniors, housing assistance is always needed.

What is your current occupation?
I retired, after working 10 years, from the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center as the Chief of Business Practice. I was overall responsible for over 100 full time employees in the departments of registration, travel, admissions, utilization management, community care for our veterans, the medical records/file room, and managerial cost decisions. I also served 30 years at Detroit Receiving Hospital Emergency Department in the following positions: trauma staff nurse, nurse manager, patient care management nurse, community health nurse, and care management specialist; 3years as Unit Manager at Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department; and 10 years as Clinical Administrator for specialty physician group at Wayne State University.

How do you define success?
I have been a Registered Nurse since 1974. I served as a Flight Nurse in the US Air Force Reserves for 10 years with an honorable discharge as Captain. I was a certified massage therapist for 25 years, Avon Representative for over 30 years, and achieved my Masters of Science in Administration in 1997.

Who inspires you? 
My parents inspire me to be the best in all I do. My father used to always say, “Good, Better, Best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.”

If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose?
I would select Oprah Winfrey. I admire her for her many years of challenges and successes as a strong black woman. It would be a privilege to spend time with her and exchange ideas, thoughts, and share past experiences.

What’s one thing-either industry related or not- you learned in the last month?
Being patient, healthy and grateful for what I have is a blessing due to the coronavirus and the many variants that increase the incidences of people being infected. With watching over my 94-year-old mother and being retired, I no longer have the worry of bringing harm to her daily if I was working.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I used to drive a limousine in the 80s.

What’s the last book you read?
Michelle Obama’s book – “Becoming”.

What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Jackie Wilson performing at the Riviera Theatre on the west side of Detroit back in the 60s.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Shrimp Scampi

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