What a difference a decade and a half makes. Just ask Joanny Torrales.

On July 1, Torrales marked her 15th anniversary working at the Gándara Center—but in reality she started here in May of 2003 on a state grant as the assistant to the senior manager of Adult Residential Services. Two months later she was hired as a secretary at Gándara’s administration offices at 333 East Columbus Ave. in Springfield, at a time when the agency had just one other location: its original Outpatient Clinic at 2155 Main Street in Springfield.

“Back then we had around 300 employees,” she recalled. Now Gándara has more than 40 sites across the state and over 800 employees. “It amazes me how much this place has grown,” said Torrales. And with the agency’s expansion over the years she said she has “grown a lot at Gándara and learned a lot.” Now she is the managed care liaison—basically Gándara’s go-to person and problem-solver for a variety of procedures with MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, which has undergone significant changes in the past two years.

When Torrales isn’t at work, she works out at Boss Lady Fit Camp in Springfield every day, and with exercise and proper nutrition she lost 100 pounds in less than a year. “My goal was to do more things with my kids,” she said. “I did it for myself and my family.”

After the weight loss, she now finds that she can better keep up with her four children, aged 20, 15, 10, and 8. Her oldest son has autism, and her youngest son has severe ADHD—so that presents challenges. “But God will never give you more than you can handle,” she said with a smile.

Congratulations on 15 great years at Gándara, Joanny!