Possibility Unleashed: The 2023 ANCOR Annual Conference
by Jerri McCandless, ANCOR
Comings & Goings is an ongoing feature of Connections in which we highlight exciting changes happening at ANCOR member agencies and state associations.
Hope Haven (Burlington, IA)
Bob Bartles, Executive Director, retired in early January. Bob had been in at Hope Haven since 2007. Bob had previously been an ANCOR member while at other agencies in Illinois and other states. He has over 30 years experience working with people with disabilities. He was very active in his state association, the Iowa Association of Community Providers, and also with ANCOR. He served on the ANCOR Board of Representatives, ANCOR Global Council and Government Relations Committee. Bob looks forward to spending more time with family and doing some traveling in his retirement.
Cheryl Plank is now CEO of Hope Haven. Prior to coming to Hope Haven, Cheryl was CEO of Vision 20/20 for two years. She spent three years as CEO of Tenco, Inc., and prior to that almost 18 years at Lutheran Services in Iowa, where she held a variety of positions, including most recently as Vice President of Operations. Cheryl has also been very involved with her state association in Iowa and serves on the Board of Directors there. Cheryl was recently elected to the ANCOR Foundation Board of Directors.
Mosaic (Omaha, NE)
Mark Matulka, Vice President of Government Relations at Mosaic, a multi-state ANCOR member, left left the organization in early January. Mark is now working at a law firm in Omaha, Erickson Sederstrom, P.C. He had been employed by Mosaic since 2013, when he started out as Director of Government Relations. Prior to joining Mosaic, Mark worked as a public policy advisor to then-Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman for almost five years.
Mark has always been very active with ANCOR. He had been a Government Relations Committee Co-Chair, member of the Government Relations Advisory Committee and previously served as Co-Chair of the ANCOR DC PAC. Mark served on the Board of Representatives as well as on the Board of Directors. In 2020, Mark was a recipient of ANCOR’s Suellen Galbraith Award in Public Policy. We wish him well in this new phase of his career.
OHI (Bangor, ME)
Long-time member Bonnie-Jean Brooks, ANCOR volunteer extraordinaire and Founder & CEO of OHI in central Maine, retired as of January 2. While we are excited for Bonnie to start her next chapter, selfishly, we are even more excited that we will still work closely with Bonnie as she will continue to represent OHI regarding state and federal issues, both within ANCOR and within Maine’s state provider association.
Bonnie founded OHI over 42 years ago. It was the first nonprofit in Maine to support 12 Class members who were institutionalized with the dual diagnoses of I/DD and mental illness. Her initial vision for OHI stemmed from her personal philosophy, which she then transformed into a corporate vision that still stands as the foundation of OHI today. At the core of Bonnie’s philosophy, and OHI’s, is a simple premise: Anything is Possible.
Few people have had such an undeniable impact in their local community and in the ANCOR community as Bonnie. Since her earliest days in ANCOR, she has always carried the torch of advocacy and social justice in support of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness. Knowing Bonnie as we do, we know she will continue advocacy this far into the future.
Bonnie’s history with ANCOR includes serving for many years on the ANCOR Boad of Directors (1981-2002), including multiple terms as President (1994-1998). She also represented Maine on the ANCOR Board of Representatives and most recently served for multiple terms on the ANCOR Foundation, officially completing her service in December 2021.
Bonnie has also been an incredibly involved participant over the years on ANCOR’s Government Relations Committee and its various sub-committees. She has represented ANCOR before Congress multiple times. Leveraging her keen interest in taking a global view toward supporting people with diverse needs, Bonnie has also been an active member of ANCOR’s Global Council. Unofficially, she is also ANCOR’s historian, documenting ANCOR’s rich history alongside her own deep participation in the association.
At the state level, Bonnie founded the Maine Association for Community Service Providers (MACSP), where she continues to be a strong supporter of a range of key initiatives.
Beyond ANCOR and MACSP, Bonnie served four terms at CARF, where she was appointed to multiple international accreditation committees. In addition, she previously served as a staff member to the President’s Committee on for People with Intellectual Disabilities and went on to serve four more years as a program consultant for the Committee.
Succeeding Bonnie is Melinda “Mindy” Ward, who is now President & CEO of OHI. She began her career with OHI just 18 months after its founding in 1979. “I’ve been privileged to be part of an effort by a truly unique and diverse team to raise OHI to serve our community and people with disabilities. It has been a rewarding and inspiring experience to say the least.”
Mindy previously served in several management capacities at OHI, originally starting out as a DSP. She plans to rely heavily on the proven team of motivated professionals at OHI. “We are a dedicated group of mission-focused Mainers, determined to make a difference,” Mindy said. “Development of future leaders and our workforce shortage are at the top of my list of concerns.” Like Bonnie, Mindy is certainly committed to OHI’s “Anything is Possible” philosophy, and we wish her the best of luck as she leads OHI through the next chapters of its journey.
Have news about retirements, appointments, celebrations, mergers, acquisitions and more? Email items for Comings & Goings to Jerri McCandless at [email protected].