On July 11, 2017, I was given an opportunity to join Bridges. At this particular time in my life, I was taking a step out on faith. For the past five and half years, I had been serving as the CEO for Logan Community Resources in South Bend, Indiana. Logan was a great organization and I was in an excellent situation, but it was a time where moving closer to my family was important to me and the right thing to do.
Due to my involvement and participation in our State Association, I knew of Bridges and their CEO, Jonathan Burlison. The company always seemed engaged and was respected as a quality provider for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
With that being said, I did not know much more about Bridges or their story. Over the past 18 months as an employee, it has been vital for me to learn and understand more about Bridges and the “why” behind the mission and the foundation of people before me. This is what makes Bridges what it is today.
The story surrounding the Burlison family is inspiring (you can read about it here). It is not by accident that the company continues to thrive while supporting thousands of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in six states.
With 21 years of experience in this industry, the services are not new to me. What I have come to love about Bridges is the culture, entrepreneurial spirit, and the innovative empowerment to always make a difference in our communities. We must challenge ourselves as a team so that we continuously improve as a provider and a business.
I think it is also important to point out that for over 20 years of my career I had been working in private not for profit 501(c)(3) organizations. Bridges is a for profit business. We pay taxes and do not fundraise. Therefore, we must be efficient and responsible for managing the financial aspects of our company.
For many businesses, this can be challenging at times when supporting people because in some cases the bottom line overshadows the quality care. I believe that for profit entities often get a bad rap from partners in the industry because of this misconception.
Having the opportunity to work on both sides, I can confidently say that the philosophy at Bridges is just the opposite. My primary goal as the Division President is to create a culture of quality service, customer focus, and to empower our staff to ensure the individuals we serve live a life with purpose.
This is Bridges mantra, it is who we are, it is what we stand for and an expectation that comes from our founder, Peggy Burlison. When we do this well, our reach will continue to expand nationwide because it is Bridges goal to bring this philosophy and culture to wherever it is needed for people and families.
Without Peggy Burlison’s vision for what Bridges could do for all people, we would not have been able to expand Bridges to what it has become today; the Nationwide Provider of Choice.