Independence Ohio – July 23, 2019: Heidi Spaeth, a Residential Manager at Koinonia, was awarded the 2019 Founders Award in the non-DSP category.  The award was presented to Heidi and her family during Koinonia’s All-Staff event by Diane Beastrom, President and CEO of Koinonia. Heidi has been with Koinonia for 9 years.

The Founder’s Award is the most prestigious award a Koinonia employee can receive. It was established to specially recognize two associates who have consistently demonstrated exemplary efforts and outstanding service to our mission. This year’s recipients of the Founder’s Award have demonstrated their commitment to Koinonia through honest fellowship, interdependence, unselfish caring and compassionate partnering with people who have developmental disabilities to achieve healthy, fulfilling enriched lives. Each recipient receives a special plaque and a check for $500. Their names are also added to the Founder’s Award plaque hanging in the home office.

According to her nomination, “Heidi frequently takes extra time to not only reach out and support her cluster but also supports others outside of her team.  She can always be counted on to assist in sharing staff and helping to cover vacancies.

Heidi also takes the lead in training new management even when a new manager is not assigned to her. By doing this she has built relationships with team members across the ICF program.  She is well known for her depth of knowledge and experience in our field.  In addition, families reach out to her and rely on her for guidance and advice on behalf of their loved ones.  One example of this is when a difficult situation arose with an individual– Heidi needed to educate a family member on a certain procedure that in turn would help the family member help the individual.  Heidi did so with such professionalism and grace, the family member then reached out to the Director to express their immense gratitude and commend her on her efforts.   By doing this, Heidi made a lasting impression and continued to foster a relationship built on trust.

Heidi is deeply committed to her team and takes the time to train hands-on with her team, this leads to great success in her homes.  One example of this was with a recent Medicaid survey.  Heidi knew her team was ready, so she purposefully let the core team lead in overseeing and participating in the survey.   The home received a citation-free survey.  Later when the Director heard of the good news from the core team they said, “What do you expect we had such a great mentor”.

Training and mentoring are indeed just a few of Heidi’s strengths.  She prepares and trains her staff exceptionally well and always communicates “the why” of any necessary training.

Heidi’s innovative side is apparent when working with the Individuals.  She accepts any challenge that comes her way.  She frequently is faced with having to make decisions that may not be embraced easily by team members because the decisions may involve change. Heidi’s approach in building trust and getting buy-in seems effortless and is remarkable.  Recently, an individual needed immediate emergency placement. Without hesitation, Heidi jumped in and began advocating how and why we needed to admit this individual and what needed to happen for the admission.

The admission was successful due in part to Heidi’s leadership and advocacy.  This is one of many examples reflecting how Heidi ensures individuals needs are met from start to finish thoroughly and at times within a limited time frame.

When you think of Koinonia many things come to mind, but it always seems to come back to one thing, that we partner with people with developmental disabilities to achieve healthy, fulfilling, and enriched lives.  It is our job to help people live the best lives they can in our community.  The founder’s award exemplifies this and recognizes people like Heidi for their unselfish commitment to the individuals and our mission.”

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