The Board of Directors for Abilities United www.abilitiesunited.org today announced that the agency’s Executive Director, Lynda Steele, has decided to retire by the end of June 2014, beginning an orderly leadership transition that will take place over the next six months. Ms. Steele’s decision to retire brings to completion a remarkable career of over 20 years of continuous service to the local community.
“Lynda Steele has been an influential leader and strong champion in our community for the rights of people with disabilities,” said Karen Moore, president of the board. “She has dedicated her professional life to helping children and their parents, and worked with our community to find ways to ensure full inclusion and contribution. The board is grateful for her dedication and exemplary tenure as the organization’s Executive Director since 1993.”
“I’ve been privileged to lead Abilities United over the past two decades,” Steele said. “Today we’re widely regarded as an innovative organization with a distinguished record for providing important support services to individuals and families within our community. We have a clear vision for the future, highly competent professionals on staff, dedicated volunteers, and rich partnerships with many in our community. Our goal now is to maintain this momentum and move forward for the future in terms of leadership, capacity, and operational strength. We just completed the celebration of our 50th anniversary. Now is the perfect time to transition to a new generation of leadership to lead the organization into our next 50 years.”
The board of directors has formed a search committee and is leading the selection process to choose Steele’s successor. The search is open to internal and external candidates. Additional application information can be found at the agency’s web site http://abilitiesunited.iapplicants.com/searchjobs.php
Recognizing Lynda Steele’s Leadership
During Lynda’s tenure, the agency experienced unprecedented growth, service expansion, and community prominence. Over the past twenty years, Abilities United more than doubled in size from a budget of $2.9 million to $6 million. At the same time, the number of participants served by the agency grew to over 3,000 people a year from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Together, Lynda and the Abilities United staff expanded the service offerings for participants to include the following innovative programs:
· Employment Services helps individuals with disabilities obtain and retain employment in jobs that utilize their skills, experiences, and interests while providing a skilled workforce for local employers.
· Independent Living Skills provides 1:1 training to adults who need to learn additional daily living skills to be as independent as possible.
· Community Connections offers adults with disabilities volunteer opportunities at dozens of local organizations as well as an education series on daily living skills.
· Therapy Clinic offers speech, occupational and physical therapy as well as developmental services for children up to the age of 8.
· Milestones Preschool provides an inclusive, relationship-based developmental preschool for children aged 2-5 years.
· Art Program offers art classes to people with disabilities of all ages, and exhibits and sells their artwork throughout the Bay Area and online galleries.
A recognized community leader and published author of numerous articles about disability services, Lynda was awarded the “Woman of Achievement in Community Service” by the Santa Clara Women’s Fund. She also served on the Board of the Housing Choices Coalition and the Coastside Parents Action League for people with special needs, both of which advocate for affordable housing for people with disabilities.
Accredited since 1980 by CARF, a national rehabilitation services accreditation commission, Abilities United is considered a premier service provider. The agency has been the recipient of dozens of awards including the 2009 Palo Alto Tall Tree Award for Outstanding Nonprofit and The San Andreas Regional Center 2010 "Service Provider of the Year" award.
About Abilities United:
Abilities United (founded as C· A ·R) www.AbilitiesUnited.org is a United Way Affiliated Agency and a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization for children and adults with developmental disabilities (intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, and other neurodevelopmental conditions causing developmental delays) and other disabilities who live in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Each year, over 3,000 individuals and their families use their training, education and support services.
Additional information about Lynda Steele and the organization is available at our web site: www.abilitiesunited.org