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2024 National APSE Board Nominee: Roni Jo Frazier, TX

2024 National APSE Board of Directors At-Large Candidate

MEET THE NOMINEES FOR THE 2024 NATIONAL APSE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: CLICK to read about all nominees before the election ends on March 18.

The area(s) that best represents your current position/experience:

Family Member of a Person with a Disability, Service Provider or Manager

Describe your history/nature of involvement/interest in promoting competitive integrated employment in your state. Additionally, explain why you are passionate about competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities:

Throughout my professional journey, I have been deeply committed to promoting competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities in my state. My involvement in this cause has been multifaceted, spanning various roles and initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers to employment and fostering inclusive workplaces.  My interest in this advocacy began during my early career when I worked in direct support roles, witnessing firsthand the challenges individuals with disabilities faced in securing meaningful employment opportunities. This initial exposure ignited a passion within me to contribute to systemic change and address the existing disparities in employment outcomes for this community.  As I progressed in my career, I actively sought opportunities to engage with organizations, policymakers, and community stakeholders to promote the principles of competitive integrated employment. I participated in local task forces, committees, and collaborative initiatives aimed at shaping policies that support the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. These experiences allowed me to contribute insights from the ground level while also learning from the diverse perspectives of fellow advocates.  In my capacity as a CEO, I have consistently integrated inclusive employment practices within our organization. I’ve implemented strategies to create an accessible and supportive workplace environment, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities for professional growth. This has involved collaborating with HR departments, providing training to staff, and actively recruiting individuals with disabilities.  My interest in promoting competitive integrated employment extends beyond professional obligations; it is rooted in a belief in the inherent dignity and capabilities of every individual. Witnessing the transformative impact of employment on the lives of people with disabilities has only deepened my commitment. Employment not only provides financial independence but also fosters a sense of purpose, self-worth, and social inclusion.  I am passionate about dismantling stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding the abilities of individuals with disabilities. By advocating for competitive integrated employment, I aim to challenge preconceived notions and highlight the diverse talents and skills that people with disabilities bring to the workplace. I firmly believe that embracing diversity in the workforce leads to innovation, increased productivity, and a more vibrant and inclusive society. 

What relevance does/should APSE and its chapters/members have in national and state conversations regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion?

APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) and its chapters and members play a crucial role in national and state conversations regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion. The organization’s relevance in these discussions stems from its mission to advance integrated employment and inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Here’s why APSE should be actively engaged in these conversations:  Representation and Advocacy: APSE and its chapters represent a collective voice advocating for the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. As a leading organization in the field of supported employment, APSE’s involvement ensures that the perspectives, needs, and rights of people with disabilities are actively considered in discussions related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.  Expertise in Inclusive Employment Practices: APSE members bring a wealth of expertise in inclusive employment practices. Their on-the-ground experience, insights, and success stories contribute to shaping policies and initiatives that promote equity in the workplace. APSE can serve as a valuable resource for best practices, helping organizations and policymakers understand how to create environments that support diversity and inclusion.  Promoting Employment as a Core Component of Inclusion: APSE’s focus on competitive integrated employment aligns with the broader goals of promoting diversity and inclusion. By emphasizing employment as a key element of inclusion, APSE contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of what true equity means for individuals with disabilities, recognizing that meaningful work is a fundamental aspect of a fully inclusive society.  Collaboration with Stakeholders: APSE collaborates with various stakeholders, including government agencies, employers, educators, and advocacy groups. This collaborative approach ensures that discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion are inclusive and consider the perspectives of all relevant parties. This collaboration strengthens the impact of APSE’s advocacy efforts at both the national and state levels.  Policy Influence: APSE and its members actively engage in policy discussions related to disability employment. Their involvement ensures that legislation and regulations support initiatives that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. By actively participating in these conversations, APSE helps shape policies that reflect the organization’s commitment to the employment-first philosophy.  In summary, APSE and its chapters/members should have a prominent role in national and state conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion due to their unique expertise, advocacy efforts, and commitment to promoting competitive integrated employment as a cornerstone of true inclusion for individuals with disabilities. The organization’s involvement enriches these discussions, ensuring that the perspectives of the disability community are integral to the development of equitable and inclusive 

What skills, knowledge, or lived experience do you have that will contribute to strengthening and growing the financial health of APSE and promoting its mission to advance employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities?

My extensive experience in both state and national boards, coupled with a proven track record of successfully raising funds, writing grants, and developing impactful programs, uniquely positions me to contribute significantly to strengthening and growing the financial health of APSE.  Board Leadership: Serving on both state and national boards has equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of the organizational dynamics, governance structures, and strategic decision-making processes essential for the effective functioning of nonprofit entities like APSE. My experience has honed my ability to navigate complex financial landscapes, ensuring fiscal responsibility and sustainability.  Fundraising Expertise: I have a demonstrated history of implementing successful fundraising strategies. Whether through donor engagement, corporate sponsorships, or innovative fundraising campaigns, I have consistently surpassed financial targets. My experience includes cultivating relationships with donors, diversifying funding streams, and leveraging partnerships to secure financial support.  Grant Writing and Management: I possess strong grant writing skills, having successfully secured grants from various foundations and government agencies. My ability to articulate compelling narratives, aligning with APSE’s mission, has resulted in the acquisition of funds to support critical initiatives. Moreover, I bring proficiency in grant management, ensuring compliance, accountability, and the successful execution of funded programs.  Program Development: I have a proven ability to conceptualize, design, and implement impactful programs. By aligning programmatic goals with the mission of APSE, I can contribute to the development of initiatives that not only advance the organization’s objectives but also attract financial support from diverse stakeholders. My approach emphasizes innovation, scalability, and sustainability.  Strategic Vision: My involvement in board leadership has sharpened my strategic thinking. I understand the importance of aligning financial strategies with the overarching goals of APSE. I can contribute to the development and execution of financial plans that support the organization’s mission, promote fiscal health, and ensure the long-term sustainability of its initiatives.  In conclusion, my diverse skill set, board leadership experience, and successful track record in fundraising, grant writing, and program development uniquely position me to contribute to the financial strength and growth of APSE. I am deeply committed to advancing the mission of promoting employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities, and I am eager to leverage my expertise to ensure the financial vitality of APSE for years to come.

Biography

Roni Jo Frazier holds a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, demonstrating a formidable academic background. Possessing a certification as an Autism Specialist, she boasts an impressive track record of over two decades dedicated to delivering services to individuals with disabilities. For the past five years, Roni Jo has been an integral part of Bloom Consulting LLC, a prominent organization spearheading opportunities for individuals across diverse regions, including Texas, Wyoming, Virginia, Montana, Utah, and Nevada.  In her capacity as the Chief Executive Officer at Bloom Consulting, Roni Jo Frazier leverages her extensive experience in both the public and private sectors to spearhead the development and implementation of cutting-edge programs. These initiatives are meticulously designed to offer the most sophisticated and effective services to the individuals under her care. Notably, Roni Jo has actively contributed to numerous state and national boards of directors for disability-related service organizations, including prominent entities such as APSE and AAIDD.  Continuing her commitment to enhancing employment opportunities and fostering community-based living for individuals with disabilities, Roni Jo remains at the forefront of program development initiatives at Bloom Consulting. Her multifaceted approach encompasses educational outreach to professionals and tireless advocacy efforts, collectively contributing to the advancement of the overarching mission.  

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