Celebrating Transition May 13, 2022

Welcoming remarks by Lore Barcelona:                                                                                                                                            
I want to thank all of you for joining us. I know it’s a busy time for everyone, but we thought it would be a good idea to take a little bit of time on a Friday afternoon before what we hope will be a warm spring weekend to celebrate what we’ve all achieved so far in transitioning to the next chapter in Sinergia’s development.  As many of you know, I began at Sinergia as a youthful DSP back in the 20th century.  Since that time, my professional development has been intertwined with Sinergia’s growth and development as an organization, and I am happy to be here today as Acting Executive Director.  It’s a big job and a massive responsibility, but I will be guided by the values and knowledge I absorbed over the years, working alongside all of you and many others who came before us.

Many of us were surprised when Donald told us that he wanted to change direction for the next part of his career, and transitions to new leadership are always challenging and sometimes scary.  However, I’m glad that Donald agreed to stay on in a different capacity to help us through the transition, and I am also very appreciative of the members of the executive team, Any, Lenny, and Milca, as well as to everyone else within or close to Sinergia who did so much to make the transition process successful.  On a personal note, I want to thank you for the many expressions of support and welcome that I have received in taking on my new responsibilities.

Remarks by Donald Lash:

I would also like to thank all those who have supported and assisted in making this transition as smooth and successful; as it has been so far, I know that Lore has a supportive and dedicated team she will be able to count on in days to come.  As I told Lore, the board, and the staff when I announced my intention to leave the role of Executive Director, I did so with pride in what we’ve all achieved together during some of the most trying times Sinergia has faced in its 45-year history.  I also take great pride in the team I helped put together to lead Sinergia into its future, which I am confident will be a bright one.  It’s a team that has lived experience that reflects the lives of the families Sinergia serves, as parents of children with disabilities, immigrants or children of immigrants, as bilingual/bicultural people of color, and residents of the same communities that continue to face unique challenges.  I think it’s very important to note that and to say that I look forward to seeing Sinergia thrive and grow and continue to advocate and innovate under new leadership.

Continuing Remarks of Lore Barcelona:
Speaking of team members, I want to celebrate several team members who have taken on key responsibilities as we make adjustments in our management structure.

First, I am very pleased to celebrate Milca Takata, who agreed to serve as Acting Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer.  Milca’s plate was already very full, and she has assumed additional responsibilities because she is fiercely dedicated to Sinergia and the people it serves.  Milca has guided us through changes in our technological infrastructure that are essential to ensuring that we can continue to survive and thrive in a changing environment for disability services, but she has never forgotten the perspective of the people receiving services or of the workers providing them.  I am grateful to have her support moving forward.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Any Nuňez has been a stalwart in the agency's management for many years, and she has seen us through crises and challenges without wavering.  I am grateful to have her continued financial stewardship in my new role.

Lenny Moise has also been someone we have all counted on through turbulent times as the pandemic took an already very challenging HR environment in this industry and made it exponentially more complex and difficult.  We are thankful for everything he has done.  I am also appreciative that Lenny has agreed to take on the Director of Training and Development responsibilities, bringing all our professional development efforts into the HR department.  I know that with the assistance of Marc Collica as Training Coordinator, Lenny will ensure that we continue to develop our capacity in this area to meet the challenges ahead.

Egdabel Alvarado, Director of Community Services, has also gratefully accepted to lead the facility management for the residential program. We are thankful for her dedication and attention to detail, as this will help the quality of living of our individuals who reside in our program.

I would also like to recognize Paola Jordan, who has agreed to assume the title of Director of Metropolitan Parent Center. Paola is a powerhouse advocate for families and the agency, and she is respected as such by funders and policymakers. I know that she will be an essential part of making sure that Sinergia continues to fund and create innovative programs outside the Medicaid bureaucracy.

In addition, I would like to recognize Johanna Santana, who agreed to oversee all the Family Support programs. Many of you know that Family Support was the seed from which Sinergia grew. It is our oldest program and the program out of which our essential values of inclusion and person-centered and family-centered service grew. No one embodies these values more than Johanna, and no one can do a better job of protecting and developing these programs.

Moreover, I want to take the opportunity to note that this is National Nurses Week. We at Sinergia have always had good reasons to celebrate our Nursing Department. However, the last two years have given us an understanding of the tremendous responsibility and the incredible job they have done for the individuals we serve and for all of us. We are truly grateful. Please join me in raising the roof for the Nursing Department!

Finally, Thank you to all DSP, team leaders, managers, directors, assistant directors, coordinators, administrative staff, maintenance, and drivers for their care and continued dedication to Sinergia!

Lore Barcelona,
Acting Executive Director/ CEO