Effective January 6, 2016, there will be a major change taking place at the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Please see the note below from Jeremie Ballinger regarding this news. Direct any questions to our office at 314.961.2504.
This is already so much harder to write than expected. But here goes: As of January 6, DSAGSL will have a new Executive Director. My last day in the office serving you will be Tuesday, January 5. To say this decision is bittersweet is the understatement of the year. But as wrong as it feels, it truly is the right move. We are moving back to my hometown of Kansas City to be closer to family. This has been on our hearts for a while, and has become even more necessary in the past few months.
To be quite honest, staying in St. Louis this long wasn’t always the plan. But this city…man, it has a way of growing on you, doesn’t it? The people are so gracious and generous. There are so many wonderful places to see and traditions to enjoy. And let’s be honest here, the food scene has “grown on me” by more than a few pounds. But what truly made this home is the way our DSAGSL family has welcomed and embraced us from day one. My stance has always been that St. Louis does more for its disability community than anyone in the country. The DSAGSL family embodies that perfectly. You are the most dedicated, caring group of people I’ve ever seen. Regardless of who leads this organization, the reason we get national awards and grow so quickly is still here. It’s because of you – our families, our volunteers, and especially our self-advocates – and I’m so thankful for that.
I’m also excited to know that our next 40 years will be brighter than ever because of the group continuing to lead DSAGSL. Our Board of Directors has created a wonderful vision for the organization, and puts in hundreds of hours each year behind the scenes to bring that vision to life. It’s been an honor to work alongside them. And our staff is hands down the best Down syndrome staff in the country – don’t let anyone even attempt to tell you otherwise. Seeing other organizations around the country makes me even more proud of the group we have here. Nobody works harder or brings more knowledge, passion and professionalism to the table, period. Which makes this next sentence such a joy to write…
I’m thrilled to share with you that Erin Suelmann, formerly our Director of Programs & Services, will be DSAGSL’s Executive Director starting January 6. Erin’s leadership directing our programming has been beyond impressive, and she simply never stops working to make this place better. She also has experience as an Executive Director, and as you probably know is motivated daily by her brother who has Down syndrome. It was only a matter of time until Erin was asked to lead an organization, and thankfully it will be DSAGSL. You’ll hear from her soon, and I know will continue enjoying to work with her and our entire staff as we look forward to our next 40 years.
Thank you again so much for supporting this organization, and for making the experience of serving you so memorable. This is absolutely a “see you later” rather than a farewell. We can’t wait to see everyone again soon.
With so much respect,