Presidential Pondering

by Marjorie Millner

What a great pleasure it is to serve as the VRA President for 2017!

I want to thank all of you for electing me and awarding me with this honor. Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I have been involved in this profession for over thirty years, and have worked in a variety of roles. I started as a Counselor for the Deaf. I quickly moved to being a Manager for a Clubhouse with the Hampton Newport News CSB, preparing clients with mental illness for community stability and job readiness. Included in the umbrella of services under the Clubhouse, I also managed an Employment Service Organization (ESO), which provided Supported Employment Services to Hampton/ Newport News CSB clientele. The Next Step Substance Abuse Day Program, Partial Hospitalization Program, and CSB Deaf Program Services were subsequently added to my watch under my tenure with the Hampton/Newport News CSB. After leaving work for a short stint to raise my children, I returned to the workforce with DARS. Since being with DARS, I have carried a General Caseload, Transition Caseload, Seriously Mentally Ill Caseload, and a Substance Abuse Caseload. I currently work in the capacity of Unit Supervisor in the Hampton DARS office.

Thanks to the hard work and recruitment efforts of Past President, Dale Batten, I come into this position with a full slate of diversified and enthusiastic board members ready to contribute to VRA’s vision. I wish to continue the fine work that Dale started and enhance VRA’s mission as we move forward.

As President, I plan to rekindle and redefine the “VRA Gives Back – Special Projects” initiative. A new line item has been added to the 2017 budget, allowing for two monetary rewards to be presented to persons or programs endorsing VRA’s mission. What a great way to embrace VRA! I will also focus on improved communication and our membership drive. The 2017 Communications Committee is already going full throttle. In the first quarter, VRA has strengthened communication through regular VRA email blasts and updated Facebook and website information. There has also been focus on new ideas for membership outreach. I am excited to see new strategies put into place for our membership drive as we move through 2017.

We started the year off with a bang through our VRA strategic planning retreat in early January. There was lively discussion resulting in targeted goals and objectives for each committee for 2017. I am so impressed with the drive, creative thinking, and professional commitment of each board member. I look forward to a great year!

--Submitted by Marjorie Millner