Proud to Be a Dungarvin Employee!

Jun 09
Debi Allsup, Director of HR and Risk Management
Dungarvin National Central Office

It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of our jobs and forget the connection that we each have to touching the lives of people with disabilities. In May, I had the opportunity to attend the ANCOR “Ignite” conference and was reminded of how proud I am to be an employee of a company that provides the quality of services that Dungarvin does.

One of the keynote speakers was a young man, Dakota J., who is only 20 years old. He issued a challenge to the audience to pursue their dreams and shared his 5-step plan to accomplish this:

  1. Believe in yourself; success starts with an inner vision of your value as an individual
  2. Have goals and dreams in which you believe
  3. Have a plan, because if you fail to plan you plan to fail
  4. Develop your support team. Have family and friends to back you. Without them, it is challenging to live your dreams. In addition, you need a reliable support group to keep you accountable.
  5. Have fun with the process. Dreaming is fun! Living your dreams is more fun! A dream becomes a goal when action is taken towards achieving it!

I am not someone who enjoys public speaking, so I admired Dakota’s tenacity to address an audience of several hundred people at such a young age. Equally impressive was his ability to “go with the flow” as a speaker’s worst fear became reality when his hand-outs were not available for the audience, requiring Dakota to adapt his presentation on the fly. That takes courage as well as finesse! The speaker shared about his dreams- starting a business and becoming a motivational speaker. He has launched his own business (actually two) and his presentation at the ANCOR conference was affirmation that he’s achieved one of his other dreams too. All of these accomplishments at 20 years old! Oh, and did I mention that Dakota has Down syndrome? Wow!

I was privileged to be in the audience when the ANCOR Foundation recognized our very own CEO, Dave Toeniskoetter, into the Legacy Leaders Circle. The ANCOR Foundation Legacy Leaders Circle celebrates the accomplishments of the men and women who have paved the way to life in community settings for people with disabilities. These visionary leaders have made meaningful community participation a reality for the nearly 500,000 Americans with disabilities who receive supports from ANCOR providers. The ANCOR Foundation Legacy Leaders Circle honors our finest and most influential leaders, while creating an endowment to fund the development of future leaders in our field. It’s hard to fathom how this honor could have remained a secret from the man who always seems to know what’s going on, but Dave seemed genuinely surprised at this recognition! The award acknowledged Dave’s contributions in the field of developmental disabilities. We are fortunate to have a strong leader like Dave at the helm of Dungarvin!

Later on in the conference, ANCOR recognized the seven Dungarvin employees who were selected as DSP of the Year for their states, including Carla Buterbaugh, Colorado; Lisa Buckentin, Minnesota; Glory Honea, Oklahoma; Shawn Torres, Nevada; Kathy Kinsey, New Mexico; Tara McIntosh, Oregon; and Jeanne Gebhardt, Wisconsin. These winners were chosen from a total of over 800 nominations! All Dungarvin honorees except Lisa were in attendance at the conference to accept their awards. After meeting each of these top-notch employees, the conversations quickly steered to the individuals they serve and based on the smiles on their faces, you could tell that they all clearly find joy in their work. I also was struck how surprised they were to be recognized for what they described as “no big deal”. The nominations were filled with stories of dedication, creativity, and in one case, heroism, by the DSPs that support persons served by Dungarvin. The work that they do is a big deal and I admire each of them, as well as all of the other DSPs in the company who are giving all that they have to ensure that the individuals they serve have a quality life. Sometimes that is marked by significant accomplishments such as great vacations, finding mom’s grave site, and holding a job; sometimes they are smaller personal achievements such as releasing anxiety through journaling, discovering unidentified musical talent, or dancing. It all makes such a meaningful difference and it served as a great reminder to me of the challenging jobs that our DSPs have. We are so fortunate to have a workforce filled with such caring, compassionate and giving people at Dungarvin. Thanks for all that you do!!

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