Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) Offers Development Opportunities for Leaders in the Developmental Disabilities Field

The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware will hold a week-long, intensive leadership development program for teams of leaders of DDA-funded agencies from Monday, Feb. 5 to Friday, Feb.9.

The DDA is committed to transforming its service delivery systems into a flexible, person-centered, family-oriented system of supports so people can have full lives. This requires skilled leaders who are equipped with sound management skills and are dedicated to supporting quality lives for people with developmental disabilities. The Leadership Institute (Institute or leadership development program? If it is an institute, it should be referenced as such above at first reference) is one way the DDA supports our providers in this effort.

Agencies will learn from each other and from leading experts from across the country to embrace the shift to individualized supports for people with developmental disabilities. Some of the faculty include Steve Eidelman, former Executive Director of the Arc of the United States and the person who led that organization’s implementation of innovative projects, programs and cutting-edge policies; Lynne Seagle, Executive Director of Hope House Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia whose leadership helped the organization become internationally known for its innovative, person-centered approach; James Gardner, President of J Gardner & Associates, LLC, an international consulting firm focused on improving non-profit organizational performance; Nancy Weiss, former Executive Director of TASH, an international advocacy association committed to full inclusion for people with disabilities; and Gail Godwin, Executive Director of Shared Support Maryland, Inc. and a graduate of the Leadership Institute.

Participating agencies include The Arc of Howard County, Benedictine, Change Inc.; Community Living, Inc.; Compass, Inc.; Friends Aware, Inc.; Kennedy Krieger Institute; Melwood; New Horizons Support Services, Inc.; Second Family, Inc.; and United Needs & Abilities, Inc.

The Maryland DDA held a similar Leadership Institute last November and selected 10 provider agencies to focus on organizational transformation. Attendees gave positive feedback, some of which is included below:

“I have been persuaded that the people we support are more capable than we give them credit for. Now, I am convinced that we need to support them in a way they desire — a way that honors them as equals. It’s about their civil rights, and they deserve the freedom of choice.”
-Rob Malone, The Arc Prince George’s County, Executive Director

“You don’t know what person-centered really is until you come to the Maryland Leadership Institute. You learn not to be afraid to make real change in your program. The Maryland Leadership Institute helps build connections and allies with other programs. It empowers teams to encourage real goals and a new vision to really encourage staff and people served to have better jobs and lives.”
-Lindzee Gladu, Kent Center, Inc., Residential Coordinator

“For me, it truly was a watershed experience for how I view the bright future of what is possible for individualized supports and how our leadership team can be a catalyst for dramatic, cultural change and the transformation of the way we’ve provided services for 40 years.”
-Brian Trees, Gallagher Services, Associate Administrator

“The Leadership Institute created the space for my team to strategically think through what it would look like for our agency to transform to person centered supports. We are leaving with a tangible plan that we are equipped to implement on day one.”
-Megan Orzechowski, Opportunity Builders, Inc., Director of Marketing and Communications

“You should definitely attend the Leadership Institute if you are ready to get serious about helping people with disabilities lead real, meaningful lives. The Institute will offer you inspiration to make the change and provide you with the blueprints and tools to make it happen in your organization.”
-Tracey Paliath, Chimes, Director of Operations/Administration