Not Just a Job
Leading the St. Joseph Home Family
Dan Connors, the new president and CEO of St. Joseph Home and his wife Allison.
Photography by Daniel Smyth
In many careers, there is a struggle to balance personal life and professional. Attending important meetings as well as being there for important moments with family can be hard to juggle in today’s world. Dan Connors, the new president and CEO of St. Joseph Home, knows this better than most, but he has a unique way to solve the problem.
St. Joseph Home is an Intermediate Care Facility for individuals with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs. Connors has worked for the organization as vice president of operations for 3 years, and knows well the demand the job he’s stepping into brings. But, for him, St. Joseph Home isn’t just a job – the residents and staff at St. Joseph Home have become an extension of his family.
“It’s a different type of work environment for him,” says Allison Connors, Dan’s wife. “The residents feel more like friends to us, which makes this so much more than just a job.” Allison is frequently involved in activities and events at St. Joseph Home, and the couple brings their children to help out and understand the unique perspectives offered by becoming immersed in a different way of life.
“There’s a diversity of thought and perspective here, and I want my children to meet all kinds of people in their lives,” says Dan. “I want them to experience the value of diversity.”
St. Joseph Home sees community as a foundation to what they do, so it’s not unusual to see family, spouses and members of the community visiting residents regularly. Because of this, the community at St. Joseph Home is comprised of something much larger than just the residents and their caregivers – it includes a large support group that surrounds each resident, adding a different perspective while still maintaining a tight-knit atmosphere. “They’ve made us better – they teach us a lot,” says Allison. “The residents have a perspective of just being, and it’s beautiful.”
Dan adds that the culture of St. Joseph Home is what lends this ease of integration between family life and work life. With a ministry connection through the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and a caring and comforting atmosphere, St. Joseph Home is peaceful and community-oriented.
But working with individuals with disabilities is not always simple and stress-free. In the last decade, the healthcare industry has evolved significantly in the field of mental and developmental disability, and this isn’t something that’s slowing down or changing.
“Our field is challenging … we specialize in working with people who have complex medical needs,” says Dan. “The field in which we work is changing, and we have many challenges to applying those changes to the individuals we serve, who have complex needs based on their disability. We have to evolve, but we cannot do so in a way that deviates from our heritage as a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.”
Dan has a great respect for the Sisters and what their influence has done for St. Joseph Home, which continues, at its core, to be what the Sisters originally intended – an organization that provides care, community and advocacy for people who don’t often have the opportunity to express their voice.
“We’re not just providing medical care, we are supporting an individual to have the opportunity to live the life they choose the best we can,” says Dan.
It’s his passion for the residents and the fundamental mission that they lead fulfilling lives that ensures he will continue carrying on the goals and principles of his predecessor, Michael Rench. Whether it is taking a resident, who happens to be Chinese, to a Mandarin restaurant, indulging another resident in his love for music or helping a resident volunteer in a place of his/her passion, Dan and the staff place focus on the residents getting the most out of every day.
“St. Joseph Home gives the residents diversity in their opportunities,” says Allison. “We don’t see the work done here as charity. Every resident is a child of God, with unique gifts they can bring to their community; they just face challenges in expressing those gifts. The staff at St. Joseph Home are dedicated and committed to breaking down the barriers that make it difficult for the residents to express their gifts – and we all grow as much as they do in the process.”
The couple has gone the extra mile for the residents – some of whom are also identified as friends – while taking the time for family. As Dan steps up to the responsibilities of being the president and CEO of an organization like St. Joseph Home, he also strives to serve his family and community in equal parts. His vision for the future of St. Joseph Home is a bright one, and his leadership, passion and community-oriented ideals are sure to lead the organization to great things.
“Dan is a dedicated member of the St. Joseph Home community,” says Janel Carroll Walker, COO and principal at Truepoint Wealth Counsel and chair of the board at St. Joseph Home. “During his tenure here, he has demonstrated strong leadership, communication and project management skills. He is a strategic thinker who understands the unique perspectives and challenges of our residents, families and regulatory environment. Dan truly exemplifies the values and ministry of St. Joseph Home. We believe he is the best individual to lead the organization into the future.”
Learn more about volunteering, events and opportunities to support the St. Joseph Home mission at stjosephhome.org or call 513.563.2520.