Staff spotlight Lakyn Hollandsworth

Staff Spotlight: Lakyn Hollandsworth

Lakyn Hollandsworth has always believed in helping people where she can. 

“I grew up in a family where if someone needed something, you helped them,” she said. “Seeing compassion in others and being willing to help others around you I think is incredibly important.”

That’s an attitude she’s carried into her career as a Return-to-Work Coordinator with the RETAIN Project at HDI. 

“We help individuals with an illness or a non work related injury, return to work or stay at work by assessing their needs with accommodations, working with their employers…to implement some of those accommodations,” she said. “And we also provide resources to other organizations in the community because when someone has an unexpected injury or illness and they’re out of work, that could impact their financial stability.”

Hollandsworth had an unusual path to HDI. She began by getting her degrees from Akron and Kent State universities, then moved to North Carolina for an internship with Vocational Rehabilitation. 

The year was 2020 and the internship fell through. Now, Hollandsworth was on her own in a new state without a job and with no significant local relationships. Fortunately, Dr. Phillip Rumrill contacted her about opportunities available with the RETAIN project. Four years later, and Lakyn has earned promotions from intern to Return-to-Work Coordinator. She’s integrated into a system with co-workers that she likes and work that she enjoys.

“At the time I was just shadowing other coordinators, listening in on a phone call as they were doing with participants. And eventually I was able to have my own caseload,” she said. “Without the internship, I think I’d be very overwhelmed. But being able to slowly dive into it and have all the mentors that I’ve had throughout the program and my work with the program, that’s been incredibly beneficial.”

Outside of work, Hollandsworth and her husband have an 11-month-old son. 

“Since he’s come into our life, our whole world focuses around him. But he goes everywhere with us,” she said. 

And everywhere is a lot of different places. They enjoy exploring breweries, hiking up mountains, and you’ll find them a lot on the lake with boats and jet skis during the summer. 

But everything circles back to that desire to help people – and she feels proudest at her job when she sees the proof that she’s done so.

Some of my proudest moments are when I get feedback from a person that I’ve worked with that they couldn’t have done what we did without my help,” she said.