Allies All-Star Spotlight: Allison Donnelly, employment services supervisor

Throughout the Allies organization, exceptional, talented, and dedicated team members make the services and support we provide possible. Allies wants to recognize the people who make the work we do possible. In each issue of Allies: Keeping in Touch, we will highlight someone who is doing incredible work and who puts the “Ally” in “Allies.”

This month, we are honoring Allison Donnelly! Donnelly is an employment services supervisor who has been crucial in helping the agency expand supported employment services.

Question: How long have you been with Allies?

Allison: In August, it will be 2 years that I’ve been with Allies.

Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in this field?

Allison: I’ve always had a desire to help people and I’ve always been passionate about gainful employment and education. Job coaching and supported employment services are a very natural fit for me.

Question: What is your favorite part of your role?

Allison: To be able to travel throughout different parts of New Jersey and meet new people. It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to build relationships with the individuals we support, as well as their families.

Question: Where do you find inspiration?

Allison: I draw inspiration from others in the field and also the individuals we support in the Supported Employment program. Seeing their excitement and how they light up when they talk about their goals is truly inspiring. That alone motivates me!

Question: Is there anyone who is part of the organization that you look up to? Why?

Allison: I would say my supervisor, Luke Washack! He has been such a great mentor to me and is a great motivator for our department! Luke has always been so supportive and helpful whenever I need anything. He provides great feedback and support! Luke has great experience in the field and its really amazing to be able to work with him. I admire his managing style as well.

Question: How do you think your role has helped to shape the lives of those you serve?

Allison: My role has allowed me to be able to create and provide an exceptional service to those we serve. It’s my job to ensure that Employment Services in Central New Jersey run smoothly and that everyone we serve has the opportunity to look for, find, and achieve gainful employment. It’s truly inspiring to see our individuals light up when they talk about their dream jobs and what they want to do. To be able to be a part of that is truly wonderful.

Question: Where do you think you have the biggest impact in your role?

Allison: My biggest impact comes when I help people who have never had a job get their first one. Not only as a supervisor, but as a job coach myself, seeing someone get their first job is truly moving! That never gets old in employment services!

Question: Can you tell me about a professional experience or accomplishment you are proud of?

Allison: I would like to share two! The first being able to help grow this program. When I started at Allies almost 2 years ago, the Supported Employment program had fewer than 11 participants. With my outreach and working together with Luke Washack and Kevin Emory, we have been able to grow the program to serving more than 100 participants in both Central New Jersey and Southern New Jersey and Delaware regions! I’m truly proud of that!

My second is being able to grow my amazing team of job coaches and being able to mentor them! I love having the ability to work with people and help them be the best they can be!

Question: Please describe one of your fondest memories working with Allies.

Allison: In one of our most recent staff meetings, we had a few minutes of casual conversation and ice breakers to continue to team build. It was really great to be able to speak with everyone on the team and get to know them more!

Question: Do you have any advice for people hoping to advance in this field?

Allison: Continue to work hard and always have a good work ethic. It’s the relationships you develop with the people you support and your team that will help you be able to advance. Always stay true to yourself as well and look to the positives in any situation.

Question: Do you have any hidden talents?

Allison: I have this ability to listen intently and have people I’ve just met open up to me easily. This is extremely helpful in my work as I look to build relationships with individuals and their families in the communities we serve.

Question: If you could choose any superpower, which would you pick?

Allison: One superpower that I would love to have is the ability to fly! I’ve always wanted to fly since I was a young kid. I find the idea of being able to soar through the skies exciting!

Question: Do you have anything else you would like to share? Anyone you would like to shout-out?

Allison: I’m incredibly grateful for my role here at Allies and the opportunity to support the individuals we serve find gainful employment. This job means so much to me and I would not be here without the people that support me behind the scenes. I also want to shout out my incredible team of job coaches in Central New Jersey! Thank you to David Ravaioli, Sal Diaz, Kasey Hamilton, Daniella Petrow, and Meliza Q. Morales for all their hard work! We would not be here without all the work they do so thank you to my team of great job coaches and thank you to Allies!