These profiles tell the stories several of Easterseals' best leaders and innovators. Read about Easterseals staff who are truly making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
Kenan J. Sklenar, 2012 Myrtle M. & Tom B. Medders Award Winner
With Sklenar's leadership, Easterseals of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties in Youngstown, Ohio experienced a growth spurt that was the direct result of two bold moves – a merger and an acquisition, both part of a strategic plan Sklenar started guiding in 2008. Sklenar is credited for Easterseals’ six consecutive three-year CARF accreditations, developing support for growing Easterseals services and outreach, increasing foundation support, building the number of Presidents’ Council members and recruiting and engaging new volunteers.
Shelley Oksness, 2012 Lou Lowenkron Program Innovation Award Winner
As senior vice president, Programs for Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain, Shelley Oksness has made significant contributions, especially in the area of children's services. She expanded pediatric therapies into new disciplines and geographic areas, introduced the P.L.A.Y. Project, forged a partnership with the State of Idaho to provide case management for children, and in 2009, she launched early intervention services under contract with the State of Utah. She’s relentless about creating and expanding programs, forging productive partnerships to ensure the programs she develops are sustainable and was instrumental in securing legislation requiring health insurers to cover autism services.
Patricia A. Samuel, 2012 Bradford Leadership Award Winner
Part of the statewide team for Easterseals' new contract to provide autism services for Kaiser Permanente, Samuel worked with the California affiliates to develop the autism project. She's worked hard to develop, grow, support and inspire Easterseals programs and affiliate organizations across the country and has played a key role with mergers and acquisitions – helping Easterseals affiliates to expand their services and their reach in communities across the country.