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March 15, 2024

Mother-Daughter Culinary Team Walk Through a Transformational Journey Together

Lisa Coulson 1-1Shortly after divorce drastically changed stay-at-home mom Lisa Coulson’s plans, she accepted a patient ambassador role on a small HHS culinary team in Richland, Washington. She was surprised at just how much peace, belonging, and enjoyment she found in this new chapter of her life. Now, two years later, Lisa has worked her way up to a culinary supervisor role.

Working for HHS is a family affair for Lisa and her daughter, Kaeley Coulson, who is a cook at the same account. Working together, though challenging at times, is something Lisa has come to appreciate. Kaeley has not always had an easy time navigating life and after graduating from high school, she began the daunting task of finding her place in the world. She eventually came out to her family as transgender and transitioned into living as her authentic self.

Lisa reacted to the news with an open heart, ready to love, accept, and learn more about her daughter. However, she admits that, as a parent, there was an element of grief in embracing who her daughter is rather than who she thought she would be. But, it has been an opportunity to strengthen their relationship and Lisa has happily watched her daughter grow in confidence both personally and professionally over recent months.

Working together at HHS has been more than just a job for them both, providing a sense of community and acceptance. Kaeley has felt safe to be exactly who she is at work, with Lisa proudly cheering her on. At the same time, Lisa has been able to help her daughter find her footing in a job where she can thrive.

“Everyone here at work has always been good to her. I am proud of [Kaeley] for not hiding and not trying to be something she's not,” Lisa expressed. 

Unfortunately, misunderstandings and negative reactions have come up in other areas of their lives. This can be challenging for any person who just wants to be accepted for who they are. Lisa offered some advice for what others can do to make HHS and other workplaces a safer, more inclusive place for transgender team members, saying, “It all comes down to patience and acceptance for each other. We have to accept and love people for [who they are]. If we stop growing [in understanding], we might as well lay down. You cannot stay the same.”

As they continue to work side by side, Lisa is hopeful Kaeley will continue to grow in the industry and the world, and she is very proud of how far she has come. 

HHS strives to build an inclusive environment where all team members feel valued, heard, and respected, and where everyone can be their true, authentic selves. HHS supports trans visibility as we celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.

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