CEO John Severtson presented the Shirley Echelbarger Award to Pinske. The award is named after an early employee of the Village who was known for her dedication and service.
Jennifer Pinske is Team Leader at Executive Cottage in Clear Lake, having started at the Village in 2007.
Pinske has been singled out for her willingness to learn new things, get things done, and go beyond.
“The internal motivation that all leaders need to have is truly one of her biggest assets, as many challenges come at us each and every day in our jobs,” according to her supervising Team Advisor John Olson. “This nominee is genuine and sincere and always wants what is best for the people we serve. Tough decisions are part of the job, and she is not afraid to make them when needed. The role modeling is so powerful for clients, staff and co-workers.”
Olson said, “I believe and agree with a statement from a co-worker who shared, ‘In the 28 years of working at Opportunity Village, I believe she is the best Team Leader I have ever known!’ Her previous employer obviously thought the same thing, as she was voted ‘Staff of the Year’ there also. I honestly believe that she has taught us all on how to avoid Burning Out, and how to BURN BRIGHTLY each day. Her parents must have known something when giving her the middle name of HOPE, because it so speaks to what she is about for all of us.”
The Echelbarger Award winner is selected from winners in the past two years of the Tom Thornblade Award, another employee honor at the Village. Pinske received the Thornblade Award in September 2012.
Several Thornblade awards are given throughout each year. The Tom Thornblade Award is named for another former staff member and is funded by the Martin Koldyke family. The Thornblade Award winners for 2012 are Cathy Giddings, Mike VerHelst, Michelle Tue, Patsy Piper, Jennifer Pinske, DeeAnn Rawlings, Randy Reid, and Donna Peterson.
Opportunity Village employs more than 600 full and part-time staff. The Village provides supports for daily living and work to nearly 600 people with disabilities in many communities of Iowa.