Name: Laverne Hoffler-Duckworth 
Location: Blue Bell, PA
Education: Liberty University Master’s w/Concentration Professional Counseling

How did you determine what you wanted to study in college? 

I started off in Marriage Family Therapy and realized I preferred Professional Counseling more because it was much broader and my focus was broader. I believe that I chose a profession in counseling because growing up it was easy to listen to people and offer them advice. I did grow up in the foster system for some portion of my early childhood years and always felt that my mother’s friends went out of their way to help me and my siblings. I started doing drug and alcohol counseling because I had a loved one who struggled with alcohol addiction and somehow I was able to look beyond their addiction and see their heart.

Walk us through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first full-time role. 

In 2009, I obtained my BSW/BS degree from Philadelphia Biblical University and my professors in the social work department helped me to get an internship at Langhorne Gardens Nursing Home and Einstein Hospital. As a result of two successful internships, I was able to get a job as a drug and alcohol counselor at Keystone Center in Chester PA. Sue Devine who is a licensed therapist was a role model for me and she helped to realize the importance of getting licensed as a therapist and being on the 60 hr track for my degree.

How did you go from that first role to your current role—what was that journey like for you?

Over the course of 11 years, I was able to strengthen my skills as a counselor, become licensed as a therapist, and really help people change because they wanted to make progress in their lives that was everlasting. My journey has never been easy, everything I worked for was challenging at times. I do have to give credit to quite a few people that helped me along the way, tutors, mentors, and my husband Joe Duckworth. I believe that you have to have the determination to accomplish any goal because obstacles can easily leave you feeling defeated if you are easily discouraged by challenges. I have always kept a mentality of not giving up and seeing every opportunity through.

What advice do you have for young women who want to get into the counseling profession?

I believe that women from all backgrounds have the ability to succeed but you have to have determination. I also believe that you cannot allow one closed door to make you feel like another door won’t open for you. You don’t need riches to be successful, you just need to set obtainable goals that are reachable. You may need a support system Incase you get discouraged, having people that are in your corner helps you to maintain focus. I also think having a vision board that you can create for yourself helps you to see progress ongoing.

What has been your biggest career “hurdle” and what did you learn from it?

I struggled in school but I wasn’t willing to give up and I always had someone look over my work. If my teacher told me to improve on my work, this gave me an opportunity to really show that I wasn’t giving up and I was here to stay. I graduated with a B+ average in a very difficult program, and I was the first in my immediate family to obtain a MA degree and be licensed as a professional counselor.

Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?

I don’t know if I really have a mentor now but I do look to Sue Devine for support. She is now helping me get credentialed in Pennsylvania as a licensed professional therapist and I will be on numerous insurance panels. I have my own Private Practice in Blue Bell, PA called Peacefulstart Counseling LLC, and Sue helped me make that happen. 

What does collaboration over competition mean to you? 

I like to collaborate because it sharpens my skills. I think working together as a team helps multiple people succeed and being selfless creates opportunities for everyone. Young women are our future and as they grow professionally, they in turn can help other young women that are coming up behind them to grow from their experiences.

Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education and career goals?

Go after your dreams and if you take a break from college try not to take a long break so you don’t get sidetracked or complacent. I also encourage you to go at a pace that is comfortable for you. Remember if you are not passionate about something then you need to question if you should be doing it in the first place. It is one thing to make money in life but another important factor is to enjoy what you are doing in life.c

If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?
Instagram @Peacefulstart
267-465-7555 work / 267-481-5889 professional cell or email