After 31 years of dedicated service to individuals with disabilities across Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, Donna Sabecky has decided to step down as President and CEO of Community Connections, Inc.
Donna knew from the start she wanted to help people. She earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology at the University of NJ, and a MS in Business and Industry at the School of Management at Lesley College. Soon after graduating, she began her career as Clinical Director and Program Administrator at Nauset Inc., a Vocational Rehabilitation Center on Cape Cod, serving adults with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. She then served as a Program administrator for a Medicaid funded day service program for multi-disabled adults at Habilitation Assistance Corporation, in Duxbury.
Her career was put on hold when Donna had a serious horseback riding accident that left her with injuries confining her to a wheelchair for six months. Donna’s work with adults with disabilities had not really prepared her for what it would be like to be confined to a wheelchair. She had not completely realized the unique needs of people with disabilities and the lack of adequate services to meet those needs. This first hand awareness is what drove Donna to take action, opening Community Connections, Inc. in October of 1986.
The first programs to open were an Employment Services Program in Fall River and a Cape Cod Day Habilitation Program. Now after 31 years, Community Connections provides services for over 700 individuals from 65 Massachusetts cities and towns each day at Eight Day Habilitation Program Locations including transportation services for program participants.
During her career, Donna has been actively involved in State and Federal Disability and Health Care policy reform. She has served on several boards and has held several Officer positions on those boards, including Vice Chair and Chair Elect with the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, Clerk of the Cape Cod Disabilities Network, board member of the prestigious Gestalt International Study Center and board member of the Massachusetts Council on Human Service Providers. She met on a regular basis with Government Commissioners, as well as Secretariats, Governor, and State and Federal Legislators. She has also been a lead consultant, executive coach, trainer and guest speaker on disability issues to health care companies, human service agencies and community groups in Massachusetts and other states. Donna has continued her thirst for knowledge by taking Masters level courses from the University of Maryland in Psychology, and Executive Leadership programs from Harvard Business School. She also has a Masters certificate for Executive Leadership from the Gestalt International Study Center.
In February of 2015, Donna had another terrible accident; a fall on ice leaving her severely injured, shattering many bones that required several surgeries and months of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. She returned to work part-time a few months ago with hopes to be back full-time, but her condition did not improve enough for her to remain in such a demanding position without risking further complications to her health. So, along with her physicians, she decided it was best, both for her health, as well as the organization, to step down with her last day being January 2, 2017.
Donna will remain close to the organization, serving on the Board of Directors and has hopes to continue to be involved as a volunteer with CCI’s special events throughout the year.
We thank Donna for her vision to see this agency prosper as it does today, and for all of the individuals’ lives she has changed for the better over 31 years. We are sad to see her leave her position, but we wish her well for a full recovery.