Benchmark Blog

Fourth Quarter Thrive – October, 2019

Oct 04, 2019
Benchmark Blog


Welcome to the electronic edition of Thrive, the Benchmark employee newsletter. Enjoy, and please share any stories you would like to include in a future issue with Courtney Heiser or Simon May!

From the Front Lines


Debbie Fischer, DSP, Dayton, OH


What is the best part of your job?
Seeing the people I work with achieve their goals.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Most of the people I work with have community based employment and like anyone, they don’t always want to go to the job. Trying to convince them to go to work on the days they don’t want to is very challenging.

If you had your own talk show, what person, living or dead, would you most want to have as an interview guest, and why? I’d like to interview Ellen DeGeneres because I admire her kindness, generosity, and her gift to make people laugh.


Taylor Berg, Case Manager, South Dakota


What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to have close relationships with both the person I support and the family. I also enjoy the fact that even though the paperwork all may be the same, no day is really all the same as I work with multiple providers and different people every day. I also like the fact I work from home and can be flexible with my time and be able to spend quality family time whenever I need and/or want to.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
The biggest challenge in my job is currently the DSP staffing shortage that is happening in South Dakota and also nationwide. This is a challenge in writing effective and meaningful goals. A lot of the time when developing goals during an annual meeting, a lot of feedback that is given is this is not achievable as there is not staff that is able to do this.

If you had your own talk show, what person, living or dead, would you most want to have as an interview guest, and why?
This is kind of corny, however, if I had my own talk show I would like to interview Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When it comes to celebrities, he is about the most influential person I follow. His story to success started with a football injury and $7 in his pocket. He never gave up and kept pushing himself to become who he is today. He has the same beliefs that I do in life and it is that you give everything you are a part of 100% effort, always find time for your family, and give back to those in need.


#NationalDSPWeek Recap!


Benchmark truly appreciates the incredible commitment of our front line staff. As a special acknowledgement of this year’s National DSP Week, we asked staff from across the country to describe themselves as a DSP in one word and featured their responses on the company’s social media pages. Here are some of our favorite snapshots. Please visit the Benchmark Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to read their interviews. Congratulations to you all, and Thank You!


Doug Beebe’s Message for National DSP Week


Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month – a month designated to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. This month holds great significance for Benchmark, as helping people with disabilities find gainful employment was the original mission of the organization, and a service that continues today.


Lisa Rector oversees the Employment Services program at Benchmark. She believes there are multiple benefits to a diverse workforce. “The benefits to our communities of having people with disabilities who live there, also work there cannot be stressed enough,” Rector said. “People who work have more money to buy goods and services, contribute to the tax base, and maintain a positive influence on their community.  This is why this isn’t just something that “feels good” to do.  Society benefits from having all citizens represented in our workforce.”

Benchmark Acquires Consulting Firm


Benchmark recently acquired H&W Independent Solutions, Inc. (H&W), a consulting and training firm that specializes in supporting public and private agencies to provide quality services for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities (I/DD).

H&W is a national leader in regulatory compliance and quality management consulting to government and private providers of services to persons with I/DD. Over the last ten years, over 85% of H&W’s business has been in large and small ICF/IID operations, with the majority performed for state government agencies. H&W has worked in over 25 states across the United States, having major impact on quality care in ICF facilities and waiver settings.

Though Benchmark’s roots are firmly planted in hands on services, the company has expanded its consulting arm over the past 10 years, and has become a go-to resource for states and facilities seeking quality improvement and compliance monitoring, I/DD related training, and assistance in building capacity to support intensive need populations.

The acquisition comes as H&W owners Catherine Hayes and Mark Wiesel begin to plan for retirement. “There isn’t another company we would have done this with,” Hayes said. “We see Benchmark and H&W as very much having shared values. We’re thrilled Benchmark wanted to carry our mission forward.” Jeff Cross, Benchmark President of Public Solutions agrees. “H&W is a national leader in compliance consulting and quality monitoring for both private and government operated residential services. This is an exciting opportunity. Benchmark looks forward to expanding H&W’s services to also include performance management and capacity building for community based service agencies.”

End of Summer Fun!


Photos from summer activities throughout Benchmark Human Services.


Ohio Staff are Recognized by County Board


This past month, the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities recognized five Direct Support Professionals for their outstanding work, caring for people with developmental disabilities. Two of this year’s nominees were Renee Goodwin and Cindy Luginbihl, valued employees in our Ohio markets. ACBDD staff members nominated these DSPs because of their commitment to excellence and dedication to the people they serve. Thank you to Renee and Cindy for your continued dedication to the individuals you serve!

Success in Cincinnati


Benchmark management in our Ohio market recently received the following message from a supervisor at Bridges Foster Youth Transition Program, Shawna Wilson, which exemplifies our mission in action:

Although Bridges is a fairly new program, I have been working with young adults for 9 years and have coordinated a lot of services and worked with a lot of outside providers. I wanted to let you know how impressed I am with your staff and the care they provide to Tyler. In particular, staff members Kayla and Victoria. It is obvious that this is more than a job to them and they care deeply about the people they work with. I can tell it makes Tyler feel like he has a sense of belonging and family. The work we all do isn’t easy so I think it is important to recognize greatness when we see it! Thank you to you and your staff for all the work you do!

From birth, Tyler has been placed in multiple foster care settings until the age of 12 when he was taken into child protective custody and placed in a group home for children with intellectual disabilities. Tyler has been a victim of sexual abuse and has been faced with multiple traumatizing situations throughout his life. He was emancipated in June 2018 and moved to Cincinnati, OH where he needed to find a provider with experience working with people who have been traumatized. This is when the Clermont County Department of Disabilities asked Benchmark to be Tyler’s provider.

Tyler moved into a new group home August 2018 and his life has been significantly impacted for the better, thanks in no small part to the staff in the home. Tyler is now very involved in self-advocacy and local advocacy groups, teaching others to advocate for themselves.

Bridges is a program that supports people coming out of foster care settings, working with individuals and providing another layer of support and follow along services until they are no longer needed. We are proud to partner with their service and we look forward to continuing to watch Tyler grow!



Thrive honors employee hire anniversaries for October, November, and December, celebrating those who have worked at Benchmark for five years and longer.


Oluwakemi Adedoyin – 5
Kehinde Adeoba – 5
Leah Allen – 5
Janelle Archer – 5
Dontae Ball – 5
Debra Bradley – 5
Jessica Bridegroom – 5
Samantha Brown – 5
Rachael Chege – 5
Cynthia Chestnut – 5
Audrey Cooper – 5
Chynna Doaks – 5
Brian Everett – 5
Elizabeth Fasbinder – 5
Joseph Gallagher – 5
Sha-Quana Gaskins – 5
Lisa Goodson – 5
Mary Herycyk – 5
Brittany Ingram – 5
Anne Kahindi – 5
Judith King – 5
Robin Kinney – 5
Sol Laboy – 5
Penny Leas – 5
Benedicto Luque-Camargo – 5
Georgetta Mason-Brown – 5
Jill Mayo – 5
Amanda Miranda – 5
Deloris Moore – 5
Pamella Munson – 5
John Murray – 5
Jennifer Patterson – 5
Jolene Pettigrew – 5
Nichelle Powell – 5
Toni Proscia – 5
Daniele Quintavalle – 5
Cheryle Robinson – 5
Angela Rojo – 5
Delores Saxton – 5
Breanna Saylor – 5
Calandera Smith – 5
Gwendolyn Suggs – 5
Ebere Uko – 5
Kenneth Walker – 5
Jessica Wesley – 5
Patricia Williams – 5
Matthew Aremu – 6
Mario Baker – 6
Joshua Campbell – 6
Tammy Coyner – 6
Damon Dear – 6
Helene Ettang – 6
Kimberly Galaviz – 6
Anette Houghton – 6
Albert Jaramillo – 6
Grace Lazum – 6
Cynthia Lewis – 6
Daniel Linger – 6
Michael McKinney – 6
Beth Mills – 6
Jose Morales – 6
Nancy Mueller – 6
Kathy Newland – 6
Ethan Oakes – 6
James Paul – 6
Ruth Perez – 6
Terry Phillips – 6
Jessica See – 6
Ulaunda Sinclair – 6
Thomas Spaur – 6
Thomas Stark – 6
Coty Stinson – 6
Jasmine Thomas – 6
Dale Toth – 6
Megan Walters – 6
Stephen Agyeman – 7
Debora Baskerville – 7
Tori Bergdall – 7
Kathy Cesar – 7
Milagros Diaz – 7

Daniel Dick – 7
Jennifer Gilbert – 7
Stephen Gyasi-Mensah – 7
Isaac Harris – 7
Cherrie Hawes – 7
Latoya Jackson – 7
Sharron Jones – 7
Suliman Khalil – 7
Shannon McAllister – 7
James Minor – 7
Amber Moppin – 7
Christopher Murei – 7
McDonald Mvula – 7
Jeffrey Nicholson – 7
Katie Noel – 7
Samuel Ofosu – 7
Olamide Ogunmolawa – 7
Jessie Rush – 7
Benjamin Schroeder – 7
Elizabeth Shinolt – 7
Diane Smith – 7
Edward Agyemang – 8
Tamera Blount – 8
Chantal Cardriche – 8
Leo Carvalho – 8
Carolyn Cuffer – 8
Lynn Davies – 8
Keyana Dillard – 8
Margarita Espinosa – 8
Jeffery Gootee – 8
Latosha Hansley – 8
Wendy Harris – 8
Dericka Jones – 8
Makarious Kibe – 8
Brenda Kromah – 8
Devin Long – 8
Kanetha Miles – 8
Lois Miller – 8
Robert Mtika – 8
Adrienne Norman – 8
Linda Pops – 8
Camille Solga – 8
Debra Sorg – 8
Suzanne Weiss – 8
Ashli Wilt – 8
Mary Ali – 9
Selam Ayele – 9
Abdul Barrie – 9
Robert Bayne – 9
Andrew Beeks – 9
Jana Bunch – 9
Vicky Carr – 9
Virginia Cole – 9
Catherine Conner – 9
Teresa Domsic – 9
Susan Durham – 9
Patricia Everage – 9
Mikeion Ewing – 9
Jennifer Falk – 9
Kelli Ferguson – 9
Pamela Fields – 9
Pamela Ford – 9
Angelia Glosser – 9
Sharon Goerler – 9
Linda Griffy – 9
Shana Hall – 9
Theodore Hamilton – 9
Deborah Hatfield – 9
Lucy Hatfield – 9
Lisa Hicks – 9
Paul Hicks – 9
Rebecca Holladay – 9
Judy Lattanzi – 9
Donna Livingston – 9
George Lopez – 9
Marla Manifold – 9
Amie Mansaray – 9
Jennie McAllister – 9
Martine McPeak – 9
Dawn McPheron – 9

Jonna Potter – 9
Donald Pozil – 9
Nicole Price – 9
Amanda Richardson – 9
Nakia Robertson – 9
Marie Romulus – 9
Bessie Sanders – 9
Craig Schmitt – 9
Hachile Shandomo – 9
Valerie Showalter – 9
Marti Spaulding – 9
Darlene Spicer – 9
Teresa Steffee – 9
Melissa Taylor – 9
Desiree Taylor – 9
Crystal Toney – 9
Laura Wadsworth – 9
Tammy Welch – 9
Dorothy Wesley – 9
Michelle West – 9
Kimberly Bell – 10
Marcella Brown – 10
Valerie Church – 10
Antonia Gatewood – 10
Harold Graham – 10
Magdalena Henriquez – 10
Teresa Sims – 10
Keith Thompson – 10
Sharon Ward – 10
Andrew Bostic – 11
Charone Logan – 11
Jasman Lyles – 11
Brandon McGill – 11
Abimbola Olugbenga – 11
Andre Ottley – 11
Barbara Parks – 11
Tyra Poindexter – 11
Jackie Stuck – 11
Joshua Tomlinson – 11
Cynthia Bratton – 12
Michael Burdine – 12
Lois Dada – 12
Esther Gichanga – 12
Jennifer Heimann – 12
Ryan Knodel – 12
Frank Rousey – 12
Joshua Slone – 12
Mary Crawford – 13
Melissa Dykes – 13
Christine Henderson – 13
Natujwa Kivaria – 13
Emily Pace – 13
Lucille Sweet – 13
Linda Thomas-Carlisle – 13
Mariann Tindall – 13
Mamon Trotter – 13
Deborah Ungemach – 14
Josiah Chisale – 15
Karen Lewis – 15
Eric Weeks – 15
Kimberly Bolen – 16
Hellen Chimbuka – 16
Shannon OConnell – 16
Jennifer Bauer – 17
Charity Shumba – 17
Shari Bail – 18
Nancy Grone – 18
George Haldar – 18
Julie Kent – 18
Lucy Maina – 18
Sandra Ffrench – 19
Barbara King-Foist – 20
William Kartholl – 21
Ada Wilkinson – 22
Carol Telley – 24
Muriel Baker – 25
Carl Lampton – 25
David Ross – 27
David Howe – 33

Movin’ On Up!


Below is a list of employees who were promoted in July, August, and September and the position to which they were promoted. Congratulations to all!

Rhonda McAuley, Residential Manager
Dorothy Robbins, Team Leader
Raven Greco, Team Leader
Kelly Figgs, Supported Living Manager
Jasmine Smith, Team Leader
Mandy McQueen, Activities Coordinator
Susan Kiago, Team Leader
Amber Holliday, Residential Manager
Cynthia Hughes, Supported Living Supervisor
Jyair Coffey, Team Leader
Melissa Saylor, Supported Living Supervisor
Kierra Joshua, Team Leader
Evelyn Gills, Supported Living Supervisor
Sharon Jackson, Team Leader
Lavontay Johnson, Residential Manager
Saundra Simmons, Team Leader
Michele Moore, Team Leader
Pamela Barr, Team Leader
Hannah Lett, Team Leader
Simone Walker, Residential Manager
Marleen Sandridge, Supported Living Manager
Jamie Singleton, Supported Living Supervisor
Angela Smith, Residential Manager

Kevin Harvey, Registered Behavior Technician

Shana McKay, Team Leader
Kelli DeFrance, Team Leader
Kendra Sago, Team Leader
Laura Pearson, Team Leader

New Jersey
Katrena Briggs, Assistant Director
Victoria Clinkscales, Team Leader
Shantey Bost, Team Leader
Sheena Lawrence, Team Leader
Yazkalee Guzman, Residential Manager
Tanisha Colon, Team Leader
Angelique Palmer-Robinson, Residential Manager
Lawrence Jones, Residential Manager
Tanya Frain, Team Leader

New Mexico
Sandra Coons, Supported Living Manager

Balinda Fonner, Program Manager
Kirsten Poeppelman, Team Leader
Alexander Dysert, Registered Nurse
Betty Tirey, Supported Living Supervisor
Victoria Kohler, Supported Living Supervisor
Abby Roebuck, Team Leader
Cathrine Doss, Team Leader
Casey Griesheimer, Team Leader

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