Triangle
people with ability
For 46 years we’ve been walking together toward a brighter future. Welcome to Triangle!

Meet the 2018 Celebration Honorees!

I’m excited to announce the 2018 honorees that will be recognized at Celebrate: Triangle, Inc.’s Annual Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd, in Smith Hall at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Columbia Point in Boston from 6 pm to 8 pm.

And the awardees are….

 

Stan Black Business Leader of the Year Award: CVS Health

This honor is in recognition of the company’s role as a corporate leader in recognizing individuals with disabilities as a major part of their nationally recognized diversity and inclusion programs. In the past year, Triangle participants have completed more than 20 externships at CVS stores across the region, with eight staying on board as successful employees. Additionally, Triangle, Inc. and CVS Health recently collaborated on an innovative project design that will allow nearly 40 transition-aged youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to explore retail careers through inclusive, supported group employment opportunities at multiple CVS store locations, while also receiving career readiness training in order to build long-term retail careers throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

Carmella Gregorie Disability Advocate of the Year Award: Christine Griffin

This honor is in recognition of Christine’s career-long dedication to individuals with disabilities and her advocacy for inclusion in all facets of society. Christine served two stints as Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston, a nonprofit group that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the state’s society and economy. She is a Dorchester native and an Army veteran, and has served in high-ranking positions at the federal Office of Personnel Management, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Throughout her career, Christine’s work has touched nearly every facet of life for individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth. This award is being presented to Christine in recognition of her efforts to empower people of all abilities to live safe, inclusive, and empowered lives.

Public Servants of the Year Award: Sen. Jason Lewis, Sen. Joan Lovely, Rep. Steven Ultrino, and Rep. Daniel Ryan

This honor is in recognition of the commitment that these four hard-working elected officials have shown to people with disabilities through their advocacy on Beacon Hill and their dedication to inclusion in their home districts.

 

For the first time, this annual celebration will take place at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. We will welcome local politicians and state leaders; major corporate funders such as Clarks Americas, The TJX Companies, Inc., and State Street; industry and community partners; and past honorees. This event is the largest generator of funds for Triangle programs annually. More information on how you can purchase tickets are available at www.triangle-inc.org/events.

If you cannot join us at this year’s event, we hope that you’ll join us in spirit as we congratulate the 2018 honorees.

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How All the Difference Can Make the Difference

The diverse backgrounds and experiences of the dedicated staff at Triangle are part of what makes it such an engaging place to work. I always find it interesting to learn what inspired members of our talented team to work in human services, and what experiences, besides formal training, may have prepared them to help people in the ways that we do here at Triangle.

For instance, I entered into human services quite unexpectedly, after having spent a significant part of my life building a career in the business world as a Corporate Communications Specialist for a large New England banking network. I then transferred those skills to a client services position with an up-and-coming prepress firm. As the company grew, so did my career. I moved up from Project Manager to Manager of Client Services and Marketing, and eventually to General Manager. Those years were both exciting and intense, and came with an upward progression of monetary and material rewards. To maintain the requisite style of professionalism and success, I lived in three-piece suits and hard wingtip shoes. I proudly hung my sea prints and sword upon the walls of the large, inner office that I came to occupy to make it more my own. After all, it was where I spent nearly all my waking hours, and often, many hours that I should have been sleeping.

During my years there, the company developed into a three-shift operation, and became one of Boston’s high-end prepress and graphics firms. We had a prestigious and highly demanding clientele, comprised of many top publishing companies, financial corporations, and advertising agencies. The business, and therefore most of my life, was driven by the unyielding pace of daily “do-or-die” deadlines that had to be met without sacrificing the high quality for which we had become known.

Such was life on the proverbial “merry-go-round” until the tragic events of 9/11 slammed on the brakes. Marketing capital was drastically cut in the uncertain times that followed, which led to the stagnation and downsizing of many businesses in my field, and I found myself in the midst of a sustained layoff.

However, a turning point came out of this most inopportune time, offering an opportunity for personal growth and discovery. My unemployment allowed me the time to assist a desperate relative through a terrible period in their life. The process of assisting and advocating for them so that they could receive the needed supports to regain their life reawakened a previous interest in rehabilitation services I had back in college. Thus, after recognizing both a deeper sense of personal fulfillment and the significance of what had been accomplished for my relative, I shifted my sights to human services.

I was first employed in human services by a non-profit agency where I worked both one-to-one and in groups, teaching business skills and providing job development and placements within the local community. It was a major change and in the beginning, I felt like a fish out of water, as I marveled at the ease, compassion, and skill with which my fellow staff were able to relate to and assist the participants. After years of taking charge and being responsible for fixing problems, I had to adjust my expectations and my approach after realizing that it was not always necessary or helpful for me to try to fix or control matters. I needed to learn to do what my gifted co-workers were doing, which was to slow down and really see and listen to the whole person, and to allow myself to look at the folks with my heart more than with my eyes. When I did that, I stopped making assumptions about their needs, capabilities, and probable outcomes. Instead, I came to see and know the true person beneath the outward persona that we too readily base our initial opinions on. Our eyes cannot see what is essential in people: their true spirit, abilities, needs, and desires. I found that without the deeper vision of the heart, we’re likely to overlook or discount the real attributes, capabilities, and desires of those we endeavor to help.

Additionally, as I looked with my heart, I was humbled by the realization that for some, a simple job that offers only a few hours per week can be immensely fulfilling and satisfying. While I didn’t want to overlook anyone’s real abilities, I also didn’t want to dismiss the great significance that any job, no matter how meager it may seem to some of us, can hold for another in terms of building their confidence, self-esteem, and pride in their contribution to society.

Moreover, I learned that if we don’t take the time and care to truly view the people we serve, we not only limit their opportunities for a more fulfilling life, but we rob ourselves of our job’s best rewards: the joy of making a connection with an individual and seeing them light up with confidence, the discovery of purpose, and a sense of belonging and contribution.

Since I changed careers, I’ve had a number of opportunities to return to my former profession. However, after having so many rich, personal experiences in human services, I find that my former position no longer holds the same appeal for me. Rather than devoting my life to meeting strict deadlines in order to sell or promote things to a public I shall never come to know, I now derive greater fulfillment from helping individuals, whom I come to know very well, find their greater sense of purpose, fulfillment, and belonging through meaningful employment in the community. Further, it isn’t necessary to impress these clients with elaborate presentations, perks, favors, or dinners. All our clients want from us is to receive our trust, kindness, and to be truly seen and understood.

Indeed, a good day at work for me now is when I succeed in connecting with insightful and progressive employers who are eager to collaborate with Triangle because they, too, recognize what is essential in ALL human beings: the inner spirit, dignity, and individual attributes that we all desire to contribute to our community. Every human being wishes to be connected to humanity and to be seen for who they truly are. This requires a connection and vision that comes not from the eyes, but from the heart. Thus, a significant part of our mission at Triangle is to enlighten the greater community by demonstrating how to see others with one’s heart through our collective example. In doing so, we unlock the doors to opportunities and inclusiveness, as our actions do much to remove stigmas, assumptions, and misconceptions. This is the profound difference we can make through the work we do at Triangle.

It is my sincere desire that, through this change which has made all the difference in my life, I may continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

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Triangle Inc. is a registered Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization.