CEO Spotlight: Alan Lovell, CHI Centers
"It takes more than buildings and equipment to be successful: it takes a sound program and a dedicated, loving staff... and generous, compassionate supporters." We've interviewed award-winning CEO, Alan Lovell of CHI Centers shares why giving back is always a first priority for him and his team.
Helios: How has your organization been impacted by the recession?
Alan Lovell: The recession has had a great impact on our Agency since much of our funding is based on the government’s budget dollars–CHI is dependent on federal and state funds. The cut back in governmental funding has had a great impact on the level of services we are able to provide to our participants. Another impact we have felt is the reduction in private foundation grants – those grants have been reduced in the past few years, due to the obvious economic conditions.
Helios: How do you set your priorities?
Alan Lovell: Priorities are set based, first, on those individuals we serve –those with developmental disabilities. Secondary are the parents and guardians of our participants. For me, I want to make sure the supports and programs that are needed by our cliental are delivered. And that the delivery and support are of utmost quality. Third would be as non-profit and a business –we need to be secure financially and are responsive to our funding sources.
Helios: What are some of your strategies for employee development?
Alan Lovell: The important aspect of employee development is to make sure that our workforce understands the mission of our agency – assuring individuals with disabilities are included in all aspects of the community. We train our staff to be professionals and drive home the understanding they are not only care givers but have the vital role of providing support to our participants to help them to be independent and productive.
Helios: And how do you measure the impact?
Alan Lovell: This impact is clearly demonstrated by the relationships our staff develop between employees and program participants. A large percentage of our employee population has been with CHI Centers for more than 5- to 10 years.
Helios: What advice do you give fellow CEOs?
Alan Lovell: To stay focused on the mission of the agency and to know the regulatory process. Most importantly for me is to be a person who is not afraid to be “another employee” and not wear the CEO hat.
Helios: What feedback would you share with fellow HR executives?
Alan Lovell: Share the importance of the relationship that the HR office has with the employees. In most cases they are the first point of contact with the agency, they serve as an advocate for our employees and they have the tools to provide employees with all of the information they need to be integrated into the organization, and often provide valued guidance on their personal and professional goals.
Helios: Are you involved in community outreach?
Alan Lovell: Yes! Community outreach is important, especially in our field, to continually drive the message of involving people with disabilities into the community. I like to invite the community to our setting to see the population we are serving and experience, first hand, the powerful impact they are able to bring into the community. It is important to stay involved with our elected public officials to keep them knowledgeable of our priorities, therefore representing our priorities as part of their agenda and recognition of our participants as constituents of their districts.
CHI Centers is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the independence, self-reliance and dignity of individuals with developmental disabilities through training, education, and legislative advocacy. CHI Centers serves on a daily and regular basis approximately 1000 individuals whose diagnoses include: cerebral palsy, hearing impaired, blindness, physical disabilities, medically fragile, behaviorally challenged, intellectually challenged and multiple disabilities. For more information, please visit www.chicenters.org.