What does Leadership Development have to do with assuring lives of quality and meaning?

Here’s what past participants of National Leadership Consortium Trainings have to say:

Attending the Leadership Institute was a privilege that has benefited me, my organization, the people we serve today and the citizens we will serve in the future. On a personal level, the Institute provided a wonderful environment for learning - one where I could tap the collective expertise of those who are known as the best in the field” and one where it was safe to discuss my challenges as a leader.

My organization has benefited because, through the Institute, I attained greater motivation, knowledge and access to resources. During the Institute, I made a clear commitment to bettering the work of my organization; because of the Institute, I have the skills to do so.

Instructor at the Leadership Institute

My participation in the Institute has already had an impact on the people my organization serves. I am able to offer our members a broader and more progressive perspective on the field of developmental disabilities. This new perspective comes with new expectations for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Because of the Institute, I am better equipped to serve. But, more importantly, I have a greater interest in shifting the way I serve. As my new perspective, expectations and method of service converge, they will color others beliefs.

In my experience, the seeds planted by the Institute have already taken root. I expect these seeds to result in a bounty of inclusive communities where the talents of people with developmental disabilities are valued. In the future, the services provided to these individuals and their families will be so individualized and of such high quality that these services will only be seen as a natural part of the background. In the foreground, we’ll see thriving citizens, with their own seeds to plant.
~ Jill Rushing, Program Manager, North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, Raleigh, NC

Since attending the Leadership Institute last summer, I have been so inspired and encouraged, feeling I have a renewed direction in leading my team. The missing piece to the puzzle has indeed been leadership and my focus since returning to my job has been on developing leaders within our organization. I am convinced more than ever that is the primary reason why we have not seen growth in our middle managers and Direct Support Professionals, to do the right things that reflect “best practices”. I have utilized much of the training that I received at the Institute back on the job and I’m starting to see glimmers of “change” and new “attitudes”. It is exciting and I'm encouraged more that ever that we can achieve the once thought unachievable...as a result of good, strong, and fearless leadership. The Institute training is already having an impact here at Gateway Services in improving the quality of life for individuals and our service delivery system.
~ Stephanie K. Grimes, Director Adult Services, Gateway Services, Inc., Princeton, IL

The quality of supports for people with disabilities is dependent upon the values, competence and commitment of the people working at all levels of the organizations supporting them and that means constant attention to development at each of those levels. The Leadership Institute offers a forum where new ideas, experiences and information are shared and strengthened. I came away with a renewed sense of commitment, new tools and strategies for making the organization I work with more responsive to and more respectful of people with disabilities and their families.
Marian Frattarola-Saulino, CEO, Values into Action, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

The Leadership Institute was an opportunity to refocus my energy and commitment to the individuals I serve. Often in my day-to-day functions, I get so wrapped up in policies and procedures that I lose focus on why I’m in this field in the first place. Being given this opportunity to refocus and reflect on the future of the field has directly affected my leadership skills and my ability to “inspire a shared vision” within my organization. My refreshed outlook impacts the focus and drive of the staff I support. When our organization is focused on a shared vision, it directly benefits the individuals and their families who receive our services on a day-to-day basis.
~ Lauren Lash, Director of Employment Services, Our House, New Providence, NJ

Participation in the Leadership Institute has increased and improved my impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Since my participation less than a year ago, I took a public stance in the debate about the future of Wyoming’s State Training School (the state’s institution for individuals with developmental disabilities), received funding for a training grant for law enforcement officers to identify and help prosecute those who exploit, abuse or neglect individuals with disabilities, and continue to provide technical assistance to national and some state efforts to increase awareness about victims of crime with disabilities and the importance of choice for individuals with disabilities. The Leadership Institute is crucial for anyone who will assume a future leadership role that may involving shaping policies or programs for individuals with developmental disabilities

While I had accomplished much as a parent, advocate and professional prior, it took my participation in the Leadership Institute to learn the contextual knowledge and history to have an appropriate vision to advocate not simply for the current issues but for the best possible future for all individuals with developmental disabilities and that I have the individual power to lead for changes to enhance the future for individuals with developmental disabilities.
~ Sandra Root-Elledge, Coordinator for Community Education, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities, Laramie, WY

The lack of passionate and innovative successors who will be able to meet the challenges of the needs of future generations of people with disabilities is profound. Today in New York, people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families don’t want group homes, sheltered workshops and day treatment programs. They want individualized and portable budgets where they can shop for the services best suited to meet their needs and fulfill their dreams. The Leadership Institute at the University of Delaware is grooming our future leaders to move this field toward this new direction in an ethical and responsive manner. Otherwise, our industry will provide just more of the same bland, traditional services and will fill slots and respond to the needs of the state and provider agencies - we’ve seen this for the past thirty years and we can do so much better.
~ Joseph Macbeth, Director of Member Services, New York State Association of Community & Residential Agencies, Albany, NY

To have a significant impact on the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families today, we have to stay apprised of where we have been and where we are going in the field. The Leadership Institute clarifies our mission, educates us about how we as leaders are able to impact the lives of people with disabilities, and arms us with the tools and the enthusiasm to do so.
~ Pam Michels, VP Health & Residential Services, South Dakota Achieve, Sioux Falls, SD

While working for a provider, one becomes aware of the problems and struggles that get in the way of truly excellent services (and they can be overwhelming). The Institute provides the opportunity for leaders to share their concerns, and gain a wealth of resources, knowledge, and support to go back and implement the changes and enhancements that are needed in the daily supports of people. The Institute is action-oriented, and directly impacts people supported.

The Institute teaches the leader how very critical it is for the mission to be felt and lived throughout every employee and stakeholder of the agency or company, and teaches the skills to help the leader make that happen. Such intensity of focus on mission-driven services, at every level including direct support staff, immediately impacts the people served.
~ Dawn Rudolph, Director, Community Living Division. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, Silver Spring, MD