Benchmark Blog

Third Quarter Thrive – July, 2024

Jul 10, 2024
Benchmark Blog

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

Shaping the Future

By Doug Beebe, Benchmark CEO

by Doug Beebe, Benchmark CEO

“Prediction depends on events outside your control.
Creation depends on events within your control.
Don’t guess about the future. Shape it.”

One of the things I love about being part of Benchmark and AWRC is the number of people who embrace this approach. As we enter new states and take on new programs, there is a sense of creating something new to better serve the people we support. I have been traveling quite a bit lately, and the feedback about the programs we are taking on and our approaches to them has been highly positive.

When faced with challenges, people step up and find better ways to do things. I want to highlight a few employees making a difference by shaping what is coming next. Marc Rumpf, a program coordinator at our Industrial Road Work Center in Fort Wayne, faced an issue. The AWRC Board of Directors agreed to implement a plan to cease 14C funding for Work Centers by 2026 and focus on creating above-minimum-wage jobs for the people we serve. Marc started a job club and is taking people on field trips to see what work opportunities exist in the community. He has also created a monthly “Coffee and Careers” gathering where those interested in work can talk with professionals from a variety of industries about what they do. These efforts introduce those we serve to worlds they may never have experienced.

In Arkansas, our Active Consulting team, led by Charles Burd, has been creating pathways to success that never existed before for adults and children. They are working with multiple managed care entities that identify people who are at risk of repeated hospitalizations, repeated encounters with law enforcement, loss of provider, or expulsion from school due to behavioral issues. The team wraps their services not only around each individual but also around those who support them. This has resulted in stabilized placements, high satisfaction, and more meaningful, purpose-filled lives for the individuals.

There are thousands of other stories like these, and I would love to hear yours. As one of our corporate principles states: Policies do not create quality, people do. Thank you for all you do every day to help shape the futures of those we support.

From the Front Lines

Hear from Benchmark employees across the country.

Katie, what is the best thing about your job?
The best part is building relationships with the families. I love learning how to empower them and assemble a team to support parents on their journey.

What is the most challenging?
It’s hard to see the child exit the program at age three. It is great watching them grow and progress and you hope they stay on the same trajectory in the next setting.

What game show or reality competition show do you think you could win and why?
My favorite game show has always been The Price Is Right. I have been to the traveling show twice and went to L.A. for a taping last year. If I ever get picked to “Come on Down,” I’ll have a great chance to win. I know the games, and I am great with prices!

Hannah, what is the best thing about your job?
The rapport with clients and co-workers. I also like that you can move up within the company.

What is the most challenging?
Last minute call-offs.

What game show or reality competition show do you think you could win and why? 
LOL. Maybe The Price is Right. I have to shop a lot!

Deosha, what is the best thing about your job?
The opportunity to constantly learn and grow.

What is the most challenging?
Communication challenges.

What game show or reality competition show do you think you could win and why? 
I don’t watch many game shows or reality competition shows. If I had to choose, I would say Wheel of Fortune.

Melissa, what is the best thing about your job?
Watching the kiddos progress and meet milestones and seeing the pure joy on their family’s faces when they reach those goals.

What is the most challenging?
Dealing with medical specialists and equipment suppliers and the time and effort it takes to get kiddos what they need.

What game show or reality competition show do you think you could win and why? 
I could probably win Wheel of Fortune because I’m pretty good at word puzzles.

Tracy, what is the best thing about your job?
Being able to watch the people we care for grow and learn. Helping them achieve goals and do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do is the most rewarding aspect of what we do!

What is the most challenging?
Finding balance. Balance with parent/caregiver relationships, balance in knowing when to speak up/step in and when to let the parents take the wheel, balance in work/home life (it’s very easy at times to put home life on the back burner while trying to go above and beyond for our patients and their families).

What game show or reality competition show do you think you could win and why?
I don’t typically watch game shows, but the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses would probably be my best bet for a win.


Summer Fun on Social Media

You know, you don’t have to wait until Thrive comes out to see some great photos of the individuals we serve from all over the country! Follow us on social media, just search Benchmark Human Services on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. Also, if you would like to share any photos you’ve taken of or with the individuals in your area on social media, please send them to Courtney Heiser or Larissa Whitaker!

Photo collage featuring individuals enjoying time in a rocking chair on a porch, a young woman standing in front of an arcade game, a group of people at a training, two people hugging, and two people standing outside a business.

Photo collage featuring a woman in a blue sunhat, two people hugging next to a vintage car, an individual wearing a lei and holding up a beverage, a young woman standing in front of a butterfly mural, a group of people holding up props, a gentleman at his retirement party, and a young woman dressed for a fancy event.


Inclusive Insights: Quarterly Update

By Dr. Antoinette Thornton, Chair of DEIA Committee

by Dr. Antoinette Thornton, Operations Analyst, Chair of DEIA Committee

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee wants to thank everyone who completed the 2024 survey. Your voice was heard. In 2022, we embarked on a new movement to capture the voices of all employees through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We launched the first DEIA survey in 2022, and 773 employees responded. The DEIA committee worked tirelessly to cultivate an environment of inclusion for everyone, developing and implementing new organizational initiatives to promote a sense of belonging for all.

Thanks to your engagement, 1,538 employees completed the survey in 2024. We are pleased to report that our overall Belonging DEI score increased by 12 points in 2024. The DEIA Committee will host Simply HR, our external partner who received and processed survey results, to provide three virtual town hall meetings in August 2024. These meetings will offer an overview of the 2024 DEIA survey results and a comparative analysis of the 2022 and 2024 survey results. The town hall meetings will be held on:

August 20, 2024, at 10:30 AM EST

August 22, 2024, at 11:00 AM EST

August 26, 2024, at 11:00 AM EST

Content will be the same for each meeting, so please join us at the time and date that works best for you to hear the organization’s DEIA address. We look forward to fostering a more inclusive and equitable workplace together. See you in the virtual space!

Meet the DEIA Committee

Meet Angie Honshell. Angie is a member of Benchmark’s DEIA Committee and a passionate advocate for creating inclusive spaces.

Celebrating One Year of Success in Delaware!

Featuring Dorian Riddick, Director of Residential Services in Delaware

Dorian Riddick, Director of Residential Services in Delaware

Dorian Riddick, Benchmark’s director of residential services in Delaware, presented an update on services at the May Management Rally. Riddick shared that as Benchmark approaches one full year of providing services in the state, the team and the individuals served have much to celebrate!

Many of the individuals served in the Delaware program spent significant time in inpatient psychiatric hospitals and other restrictive settings, with little interaction with peers.  “Several of the people we serve are living with roommates for the first time in years,” Riddick said. “We have people participating in community activities, looking for work or volunteer opportunities, rediscovering their love of sports, building friendships, and most importantly, feeling safe at home.”

Two young men sit outside near a tree A young woman swims in an indoor swimming pool

Riddick also mentioned that admissions to hospitals, police involvement, ER visits, and other use of emergency resources have decreased significantly. “The individuals we are serving feel heard and supported in ways they have never felt before. It’s pretty exciting for our team to be part of that story.”

New Business

Living things grow, and Benchmark is proud of our continued growth. Shout outs to everyone involved in launching or expanding these programs:

Idaho Mobile Crisis
We launched a new mobile crisis response program in Idaho. Click to learn more.

Missouri System Point of Entry (SPOE)
We were awarded a new contract with an expanded staffing model to serve more children in Missouri.

Montana Early Intervention
We were awarded an updated contract for Part C services in Montana and expanded the service area to include an additional 8 counties. Click to learn more

National Leadership Consortium Partnership
We partnered with the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities to offer a series of workshops throughout the month of June. Several Benchmark staff worked together to lead these workshops.

Oklahoma Consulting Services
We are doing on-site consultation in the State of Oklahoma to support better service for individuals at the Greer Center.

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Facilitators are Here to Help!

By Ben Harrison, Communications Specialist

Photo of Ben Harrison, Communications Specialist

Is there a process in your day-to-day work that could be more efficient?  We have a group of Benchmark Lean Six Sigma (LSS) facilitators who would love to help you!  Here are some of the projects that we’ve tackled:

– Family Preservation documentation
– IST documentation process
– NJ Referral/Intake process
– SD Participant Discharge
– Tandem mail route at IGC

Can we help you next? Tell us about the processes that cause extra work or frustration with your job so that we can come alongside of you to improve Benchmark together! Click here.

Want to be trained in LSS? Take the Lean Six Sigma White Belt course on the HUB, and contact Ben Harrison if you would like to receive further LSS training.


Below is a list of employees who were promoted in April, May, and June. Congratulations to all!


Juliet Ihedike, Crisis Zone Lead

Alexandra Kuta, Supported Living Manager
Lori Pettit, Assistant Payroll Manager
Haley Seeley, Residential Manager
Lilly Biggins, Recreation Therapist

Thaddeus Norfleet, Team Leader
Heather Novak, Residential Manager
Jordan Roscoe, Team Leader

New Jersey
Jennifer Rodriguez Capetillo, House Manager
Berlinda Scurry, Day Services Manager
Jenysia Ruiz, Day Services Manager
Daiijah Montgomery, Activities Coordinator
Rontonio Jones, Activities Coordinator

Dawn McPheron, Team Leader
Shannah Schnur, Day Services Supervisor
Hope Alammari, Team Leader
Ireland  Fay, Team Leader


Thrive honors employee hire anniversaries for July, August, and September, celebrating those who have worked at Benchmark for five years and longer.


Abbagail McMinn – 5
Adama Kanu – 5
Alisa Appling – 5
Amber Johnson – 5
Amera Erby – 5
Amos Fallah – 5
Angelica Tubbs Jones – 5
Anna Stokes – 5
Ashel Bangura – 5
Audrey Simmons – 5
Beatrice Uwamahoro – 5
Carol Hasson – 5
Carrie Wakefield – 5
Cecily Brown – 5
Chrisie Williams – 5
Christina O’Brien – 5
Craig Havens – 5
Crystal Ashby – 5
DaEnglan Lee – 5
Daniela Elias – 5
Decarius Collier – 5
Elbert Minus – 5
Emery Nkurunziza – 5
Gayflorzee Muryanquoi – 5
Iraccia Pegues – 5
Jacki Richardson – 5
Jaimee Gordon – 5
James Madave – 5
Jedidiah Doles – 5
Jennifer Larson – 5
Johnice Smith – 5
Joseph Nzikamira – 5
Katherine Hadley – 5
Kevin Hills – 5
Kimberly Hatcher-Murphy – 5
Kris Conant – 5
Kristabell Requena – 5
Lanisha Witkop – 5
Laura Robertson – 5
Laura Sutton – 5
Lawanda Brown – 5
Lawrence Blamah – 5
Logan Weaver – 5
Maria Loza – 5
Mariah Evans – 5
Marideli Cruz Sosa – 5
Marie Harden – 5
Nakia Cochran – 5
Nicole Herber – 5
Pamela Kernan – 5
Patricia Arrazola – 5
Rahamata Sangare – 5
Rocky Anderson – 5
Samuel Murphy – 5
Shannon Nash – 5
Sharon Ransberger – 5
Tiruneh Yimam – 5
Tonya House – 5
Tyrone Washington – 5
Wilson Gichobi – 5
Xavier Rias – 5
Ammaad Sims – 6
Andrea Garriott – 6
Arita Wheeler – 6
Ashley Griffith – 6
Baseema Butler – 6
Benjamin Thompson – 6
Cicerly Clemons – 6
Cindy Ellefson – 6
Cynthia Lockhard – 6
Cynthia Mitchell – 6
Diane Mount – 6
Ina Young – 6
James Byrne – 6
Jeffrey Marcum – 6
Kaitlin Lamison – 6
Kathryn Saffer – 6
Kevin Harvey – 6
Linda Ford – 6
Malik Lockett – 6
Megan Munoz – 6
Michael Nthiga – 6
Mickayla Moye – 6
Onyedika Opara – 6
Ramel Abercrombie – 6
Rebecca Denison – 6
Richard Wells – 6
Siera Jackson – 6
Tamlyn Fowler-Lee – 6
Tao Bartleson Mosley – 6
Aaria Ward – 7
Amanda Brewer – 7
Amy McNiel – 7
Angela DuBois – 7
Brian Croft – 7
Clara Hathaway – 7
Courtney Bierle – 7
Courtney ODell – 7
Debbra Anderson – 7
Donna Thomas – 7
Drema Myers – 7
Eboni Calhoun – 7
Ernestine Whitney – 7
Grace Manga – 7
Jariatu Collier – 7
Jawand Brannon – 7
Kendra Nolton – 7

Kristina Maxwell – 7
Leah Leidholdt-Bauer – 7
Mandy Ditto – 7
Melanie Ross – 7
Oluyinka Adebisi – 7
Saintecile Theodore – 7
Shandareen Sanders – 7
Shandrel Riddle-Thelwell – 7
Stacey Stevens – 7
Teresia Gichachi – 7
Te’Zhira Heard – 7
Thomas Dennin-Beebe – 7
Vicky Grubbs – 7
Victoria Heiser – 7
Yves Rutagengwa – 7
Ashlee Okane – 8
Babila Mba – 8
Bernadette Bill – 8
Christopher Diehl – 8
Cindy Stolte – 8
Cleta Griffin – 8
Cynthia Hughes – 8
Daisy Johnston – 8
Edward Dahlkamp – 8
Elisa Della Ventura – 8
Heather Maas – 8
Jeanne Smith – 8
Jennifer Bush – 8
Joy Scholten – 8
Joyce Aaron – 8
Juliet Ihedike – 8
Kalan Phinezy – 8
Kenneth Keegan – 8
Kenneth MacCutcheon – 8
Martha Williams – 8
Merlande Deravil – 8
Nancy Westmoreland – 8
Nicole Cocce – 8
Norma Jackson – 8
Portia Lewis – 8
Richard Adams – 8
Robert Kirkwood – 8
Sharlet Davis-Sandles – 8
Shonta Hazel – 8
Stephanie Dennis – 8
Summer Gerry – 8
Tiana Gaddis – 8
Anna Geething – 9
Annette Powers Kilburn – 9
Anthony Zephy – 9
Ashley King – 9
Emily Grohnke – 9
Jessie Bryant – 9
Joanna Gallagher – 9
Kameisha Johnson – 9
Kelly Kroeger – 9
Laura Kauffman – 9
Lisa Hendrix – 9
Miriam Sisay – 9
Renardo Gleenio – 9
Robertson Asamoah – 9
Rosena Roberts – 9
Ameria Sheriff – 10
Beth Weiss – 10
Christina Norris – 10
Dennis Meyer – 10
Isaac Ogundairo – 10
Janelle Jansson – 10
Jody Martin – 10
Leshan Dix – 10
Robin Horn – 10
Shadrack Mibeere – 10
Sonya Burnett – 10
Alex Berrios – 11
Angel Ripoll – 11
Ann Wainaina – 11
Brenda Severns – 11
Christy Ware-Payne – 11
Dawn Brown – 11
Eucharia Okendu – 11
Julia Glover – 11
Kacianne Sealy – 11
Kristin Adkins – 11
Marissa Spiess – 11
Megan Tracy – 11
Mysti Joye – 11
Noelle Utley – 11
Patrice Buchanan – 11
Patti Greer – 11
Paul Kabutha – 11
Sandra Houston – 11
Shannon Winston – 11
Sue Ellis – 11
Valencia Davidson – 11
Willie Gardner – 11
Andrea Walker – 12
Angela Couch – 12
Bueford McKinney – 12
Danielle Smith – 12
Diane Ressler – 12
Eureke Moorman – 12
Festus Bolarinde – 12
Gloria Baity – 12
Jason Frame – 12
Karen Geiger – 12
Mallory Leatherman – 12
Maryann Caldwell – 12

Nicole Infante Forsythe – 12
Rodney Geis – 12
Selly War – 12
Tamera Pendarvis – 12
Anjali Joshi – 13
Antwan Byrd – 13
Army Burks – 13
Betty Holloway – 13
Charles Osei – 13
Christine Taylor – 13
Connie Walters 13
Cynthia Driggers – 13
Franklin Briggs – 13
Franklin Davis – 13
George Harris – 13
Ginger Sunbom – 13
Jayne Spitznogle – 13
Jeanne Warno – 13
Jerri Flowers – 13
John Sesay – 13
Joyce Johnson – 13
Kwabena Boaitey – 13
LaShonda Thomas – 13
Litonlya Lester – 13
Marcia Fowlkes – 13
Max Gilyan – 13
Peter Belsky – 13
Robert Ashlock – 13
Sharon Sonnenberg – 13
Teresa Salemi-Gumiran – 13
William Hopkins – 13
Derrick McGraw – 14
Jean Beausoleil – 14
John Guercio – 14
Kimberly Finn – 14
Leslie Armstrong – 14
Maritza Baden – 14
Minerva Coker – 14
Olasunkanmi Faturoti – 14
Tony Rainbolt – 14
Vicki Kennedy – 14
Cassandra Clubb – 15
Christina Narasimhan – 15
Courtney Schaffner – 15
David Muthike – 15
Eileen Baker – 15
Heather Morelan – 15
Jodi Phillips – 15
Joella Wiggins – 15
Katie Flinner – 15
Kristen Gentilini – 15
May Listenberger – 15
Nancy McClimans – 15
Peter Mbugguss – 15
Ruth Nothdurft – 15
Solomon Daniel – 15
Victoria Halbert – 15
Alice Pilarski – 16
Amanda Musser – 16
Amber Adams – 16
Deborah Cartwright – 16
Kristina Lambert -16
Tamara Nash – 16
Dewayne Totten – 17
Erma Wims – 17
Evelyn Gillespie – 17
Gladys Arlotta – 17
Jayne Underwood – 17
Philip Boakye – 17
Robert Taylor – 17
Jeff Harris – 18
Kerrie Miller – 18
Michelle Maio-Venezia – 18
Jason McCain – 19
Rosa Sturgis – 19
Lennie Singano – 21
Margaret Davis – 22
Tammy Schmitt – 22
Angela Heller – 24
Cynthia Graeber – 25
Lorraine Di Novo – 25
Mary Zumbaugh – 25
Holly Eykholt – 26
Joy Dennison – 26
Elaine Berning – 26
Brandy Patterson – 27
Michelle Desmonds – 27
Tom Titus – 27
Karen Lichtsinn – 30
Anne Titus – 32
Margaret Cantey – 33
Karen Shollenberger – 36

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