About Meridian Services

Welcome and thank you for your interest in Meridian Services!

Meridian Services has served people with disabilities, those with mental health issues, the elderly and their families for a quarter of a century. Currently our Case Management Department serves approximately 2,500 elderly, 1,500 people with mental health issues and more than 1,000 persons with developmental disabilities.

We are proud of our history of providing services of the highest quality, a quality that has been recognized by those we serve and for which our company has received international accreditation.

We invite you to learn more about us! Please take the opportunity to review our philosophy of service, upon which our company is built, as stated in our Vision and Mission statements and in our Code of Ethics.

We believe that our experience, our quality, and our company’s principals make us an excellent choice as you seek a service provider.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about our company and our services and look forward to working with you!

Our Leadership Team

Leota Bemis

Program Developer

Program Developer

Leota is the Program Developer responsible for Meridian Services’ Crisis and Transition Services. She is also responsible for a handful of Meridian’s SLS homes.

Leota attended the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Gerontology. She received a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Services Administration from Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis.

While working on her Bachelor of Arts Degree, Leota worked for Trillium Services as a Program Counselor at a variety of SLS homes in Duluth. After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree, she moved to California for a period of time, where she worked as a counselor at a facility for adolescent sexual offenders. After leaving California, and moving to Minnesota, Leota began working for Meridian Services in April of 2005 as a Program Manager of an SLS home. In August of 2006, she was promoted to the Program Director position. In February of 2007, Leota was promoted to the Program Administrator position.

Leota resides in Buffalo, Minnesota. Spending time with her family is of utmost importance. Beyond that, working out, walking the dogs, and relaxing on the lake are preferred ways to utilize her free time.

Personal Statement
There are many aspects of Leota’s job that she enjoys  She takes pleasure in working with the children and adults in all of her homes, as well as working with their families and Interdisciplinary Team members to develop the best care plan possible for all consumers. Leota takes pride in working with staff members and management personnel to become the most efficient and effective providers possible.  She feels privileged to work with the caliber of co-workers she is surrounded by and is grateful to work for a company that strives for the highest quality of care, and one that is constantly growing and progressing.

    Amber Wells

    Amber Nielsen

    Program Administrator

    Program Administrator

    Amber WellsAmber is a Program Administrator for Meridian Services, overseeing the Colorado, Hampshire, Silver Lake, Green Fields, and Logan programs.

    Amber most recently attended Minneapolis Community Technical College for her general coursework.

    Amber has been working in the field since 2005. She has provided a variety of services including 245B, Adult Foster Care, Vocational training, and ILS. Prior to Meridian Services, Amber managed three group homes along with an ILS program. Most recently Amber worked as a Mental Health Associate at the St. Cloud Hospital.

    Amber lives in St. Cloud. She enjoys biking, gardening, camping, golfing, and pretty much anything outdoors. Amber loves to travel and would love to continue exploring other cultures.

    Personal Statement
    “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” - Gandhi

      Leann Thompson

      Leann Thompson

      Executive Administrator of Case Management Services

      Executive Administrator
      Leann Thompson

      Leann is the Executive Administrator of Meridian Services’ Case Management Department.  Her main responsibility is to ensure the organization is providing the highest quality services to those individuals and families Meridian serves and that it is done within the budgetary guidelines that have been established by the counties.  Leann is currently a member of the Zenith Services and Meridian Services Boards.  Leann is also a member of the following professional organizations/committees:

      Region 10 Board Delegate for the Minnesota Social Service Association; National Association of Social Workers; Medica Advisory Committee for Minnesota Senior Care Programs; Pinnacle Services, Inc. Human Rights Committee; DHS Committee ~ Seniors and People with Disabilities in Managed Care; Hennepin County Council on DD Employment and DT&H Services.

      Leann attended Mankato State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a minor in psychology.  In addition she has a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management at Concordia University, Saint Paul.

      Leann was employed at the Saint Peter Regional Treatment Center during high school and college.  After college Leann worked at an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded where she served as Unit Director for twelve individuals with severe to profound developmental disabilities and high medical needs.  She feels this experience gave her a greater appreciation for the services that Meridian Services provides.  Leann believes the individual care and attention that  Meridian Services’ consumers receive makes a tremendous difference in their ability to be independent and access the community in the most effective and normalized way.  She began her work at Meridian Services as a Program Manager.  Leann was promoted to Program Director, Program Administrator and subsequently to the position of Executive Administrator.  Over the years Leann has been involved with almost all of the organization’s projects and programs.

      Leann lives in Maple Grove with her daughter Sophie, and son Elliot.  She is devoted to spending time with her family and has a passion for the outdoors.  Leann enjoys bike riding, walking/hiking, gardening and volunteering.  She feels that one of her greatest achievements was twice completing the Minnesota to Chicago AIDS Ride, now called the Red Ribbon Ride.

      Personal Statement
      Leann’s philosophy about working in the field of developmental disabilities is to provide the highest quality services to individuals and their families.  She believes that services need to be provided in creative ways in order to help to keep those we serve in the community as long as it is possible and appropriate.  Leann firmly believes that Meridian Services provides such services, and she is greatly honored to be a part of the organization’s team.  Leann’s passion in working for Meridian Services includes having been able to have many different careers within one agency.  Meridian Services is on the cutting edge of many new ventures and there is always room and encouragement to expand one’s interests within the agency to serve both  current clients and the community at large.  Leann is also passionate about volunteering within her own community and other communities within the state and county.  Headwaters Relief Organization offers a way to do this.  She truly appreciates the fact that volunteerism is now a part of the fabric of who we are as a company.

        Jenny Schraut

        Jennifer Schraut

        Executive Administrator of Program Services

        Executive Administrator
        Jenny Schraut

        Jennifer is the Executive Administrator for the Residential Program Services.

        Jennifer’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Jennifer’s education at the University was in Psychology and Communications. Jennifer continues to receive training in her field as well as business management.

        Jennifer began working for Meridian Services as a Program Counselor at one of Meridian’s residential sites over ten years ago. She continued to work with the company and has been the Program Manager of our Silver Lake group home, Program Director of Residential Services, Program Administrator of the Residential Services until her current position as an Executive Administrator. Jennifer also owns a restaurant business in Saint Cloud with her husband.

        Jennifer and her husband Adam, reside in Twin Cities area along with their son and daughter. Jennifer enjoys traveling, attending and participating in sporting activities, spending time outdoors, and being with friends and family. She continues to participate in our Headwaters Organization and is very proud of the work the company has accomplished for people needing assistance. Jennifer and many people who participate in Headwaters believe “gutting” is not for everyone but is a skill that should not be taken for granted. Jennifer also continues to be a volunteer for the Red Cross.

        Personal Statement
        Jennifer’s goal for Meridian Services Organization is to ensure the best care for our clients, being available around the clock as advocates and providers for any and all needs that our clients may have. She also endeavors to create a strong work team where each team member strives to make every home we run the best family environment, allowing independence to all our clients.  Jennifer and her team enjoy bringing people together and creating a positive and fun environment. She believes one of the responsibilities in her current position is to create and maintain a strong Program Team filled with a diverse group of team members on all levels, free to express ideas and implement those ideas to improve everyone’s quality of life. Jennifer continues to be amazed by the skills of her team members and the talents of the people that we serve, often teaching her new things.

          Annie Lieto

          Program Administrator

          Program Administrator

          Annie LietoAnnie is a Program Administrator for Meridian Services.

          Annie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Hofstra University, and her M.S. Ed in School Counseling at St. John’s University in New York.

          Annie’s previous work experience was as a DSP and medical counselor for The Young Adult Institute in New York. She has also had experience in the customer service and hospitality industries.

          Annie moved to Minnesota two years ago, and is currently living in Minneapolis with her dog, Sammy. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

          Desiree Tiller

            Lauren Specht

              Our Mission and Vision

              hands with flower


              “Meridian,” the highest point stars reach in their courses, inspires our vision. Together, we will create an organization that reaches the highest levels of innovation, expertise, and compassionate care.


              Our mission is to provide services of the finest quality, so that those we serve will be able to realize their dreams. To achieve our mission, we are dedicated to valuing creativity, seeking innovative practices, and achieving expertise.

              We will conduct our operations in an ethical manner, maintain excellent standards, and strive always to do our best. Above all, we will uphold a tradition of service and caring for others.

              Code of Ethics

              Our Advisory Board, Officers, Administrators, and Directors will provide leadership and direction which reflects the mission, vision, and philosophical beliefs of the organization.

              The person served preferences and choices will determine the direction of their pursuits of meaningful life choices and desired outcomes.

              Our services will be provided with a person-centered approach and according to the unique interests and aptitudes of the individuals being served.

              Our services will be delivered in a manner which promotes the respect, dignity and rights of each individual.

              We will assist individuals to achieve independent and integrated community options that are meaningful and provide personal growth opportunities.

              Our services will facilitate the individuals’ ability to make informed decisions with regard to their choice of community living opportunities and will not be based on program convenience or availability.

              Our services will assist individuals to obtain necessary accommodations which promote their potential for successful community living.

              We will develop respectful partnerships with community members by exchanging education and resources that promote successful outcomes.

              Our services will respect each individual’s right to confidentiality and will be provided in accordance with data privacy regulations.

              Our services will be provided by trained and qualified staff utilizing the most current practices.

              Our marketing efforts will be conducted in a professional manner that is honest, image enhancing and delivered with integrity.

              Our financial planning and management will comply with best business practices and applicable legal requirements.

              Our staff will refrain from providing services which presents a potential conflict of interest and that interfere with the ethical standards of our organization.

              Our services will be provided to individuals without regard to race, age, religion, sex, disability, marital status, affectional preference, public assistance status, ex-offender status, or national origin.

              Our Philosophy Company History Your Questions

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