It's amazing how I can remember back to the day Nash was born with such clarity. I can still remember the first time I saw his face and then counted his fingers and toes. Everything was where it was supposed to be and he was perfect in my eyes and still is today. But just a couple of hours later the term Down syndrome became a permanent part of our lives. Not a good thing, not a bad thing just a different road then I had imagined.
At the time I was working in my dream job as VP of sales for one of the largest packaging machinery companies in the country. I has worked my way to the top of a field that I really loved. Well life has a way of throwing you curve balls. After a roller coaster ride of the economy and changes we ended up back in Indiana.
I had decided to try to make a difference and dove into the not-for-profit world with a trade association and that led me to the opportunity to be CEO of Janus Developmental Services, Inc.
On the road to that position I was lucky enough to be part of the group of 7 fathers who met one night for dinner and kicked off a group that is now known as DADS. The group continues to grow and make a difference in peoples lives everyday but of late I have not been as involved as I would like.
The past couple of years have been fast and furious. The world of providing services to people with disabilities is intense and full of red tape and bureaucracy that I had never imagined. We as a team, yes Janus has the most amazing team of dedicated staff I have ever seen, have accomplished more then I thought was possible. But...
The many things I would like to see happen get bogged down by the Federal government, The State folks, and as much as I hate to say the providers themselves who have long ago forgotten that our job is to create opportunities for the people we serve. All their time seems to be spent on trying to get more money for the work and less time on actually creating success full outcomes for the work we do. As proud as I am of the things we accomplished we should have been able to do so much more but the system is not designed that way. And I truly believe that the supports and services that individuals and their families want now and in the future have little to do with what providers are offering and the system pays for. It all must change and change it will!
With all of that said I have recently made the decision to head back to the for-profit world as a partner in Conor-Patrick Insurance which is a commercial insurance agency here in Central Indiana. Ultimately it was the best decision for our family. I can't wait to get started in this new chapter of life.
It also will give me the opportunity to get back to some of the things I really love.
1. Getting back involved in DADS and actually making it to our monthly meetings.
2. Helping to fund raise for the Indiana Down syndrome Foundation, DADS and NDSS.
3. Becoming the parent/advocate/lobbyist in the disability community I want to be without having to bite my lip as the CEO of a provider that the state might punish for my words. Oh, I am going to have so much fun rattling some cages on the local, state and federal level.
4. And maybe just maybe getting involved in politics.
I will be helping the board and Janus make a successful transition in every way I can as I really love that organization but it's time for a change.