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'Best career imaginable' comes to an end

'Best career imaginable' comes to an end

January 9, 2018

Sometimes it takes just one person or one event to know you’ve found the right career path.

For Liz Prather, that happened 35 years ago as she was beginning her tenure with Richland Newhope and her work in the developmental disabilities field.  There was one individual who she was responsible for training to do a job at Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. who made a lasting impression. 

“She was tolerating my training attempts with good humor, but I could tell the concept of adding or subtracting parts in a box on a scale to arrive at a balance wasn’t translating well,” notes Liz. “I still remember the look on her face when she realized what I was trying to get across.  After that moment she never made another error, and I knew I loved my job!”

Liz worked in various positions in Adult Services for Richland Newhope from 1982-1990.  In 1993, she left to become director of Adult and Community Services for the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

She returned to Richland Newhope in 2003 to become director of Adult Services.  Four years later, Liz was promoted to superintendent.  It led to her involvement on numerous statewide committees and work groups designed to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities throughout Ohio.

For much of the past three years, Liz also served as superintendent of the Crawford County Board of Developmental Disabilities, spending part of her week in Bucyrus.

At the same time, she continued to be very active in numerous community organizations, especially United Way of Richland County where she has been a board member, past president, and campaign co-chair. 

After devoting much of her life to the DD field and to the community, Liz decided it was time for a new chapter in her life.  She officially retired on Dec. 31.

“Being able to see the difference that services and supports make in people’s lives has been so rewarding,” she says.  “Being part of the effort to include people within their communities and support them to control their lives has not been without frustration, but it has been worth the effort!”

What does Liz consider her biggest accomplishment?

“Keeping the focus on the individuals, regardless of outside pressures and influences,” she notes.

Her advice to her successor, Michele Giess, is pretty simple.

“You’re never alone; there are always people to support you, too,” says Liz.

Learning new things is one of her plans for her retirement, along with travel, yoga, golf, and spending time with family and friends.  She is also now registered as a Richland Newhope volunteer, so you might be seeing her at various events in the future.

Finally - her final message to the individuals and families supported by Richland Newhope as she leaves her leadership role with the agency:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” adds Liz.

No – THANK YOU, Liz!

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