The Arc of Southington announced that their CEO, Sandra Amato, will be retiring at the end of the year. The board of directors appointed chief operations officer Tricia Gibney as her successor effective Jan. 1.
“Sandy has contributed so much to The Arc of Southington, and her achievements will not be forgotten,” Walter Rice, president of The Arc of Southington board of directors, said in a press release. “She had the lead role in expanding our company’s services and partnerships with the community, and she continues to maintain these important friendships.”
Amato has served the organization for 24 years, since January 1996. She began her career as a training coordinator and served in several positions within the company before being promoted to CEO in May 2005. During Amato’s tenure as CEO, she directed the company’s most critical operations and management processes, and she played a significant role in securing fundraising, grants and developing partnerships with many organizations in the community.
“Her work ethic, devotion and dedication to the members of this organization have been an exemplary example of what true leadership and true humanity is,” Rice said in the release.
During her tenure, Amato developed a social network of financial support. The Arc of Southington’s annual dance at Cadillac Ranch draws 175-250 people from across the state.
Amato partnered with Michael Ruzzi, a local self-advocate, to help expand his self-advocacy group into “A New Way,” which is now managed through The Arc. Since the partnership, the group has blossomed into a local chapter of People First, a state-wide advocacy group for people with disabilities. As an advisor, Amato helped expand the group from seven individuals to 35 members with a waiting list to join.
“The group members learn about independence, finances, employment and many other important life skills,” officials said in the press release.
By partnering with Arc human resource coordinator Lydia Anderson, Amato helped create an annual variety show fundraiser now in its eighth year.
“Yet, her most critical contribution has been the increase in funds she continues to secure for the organization’s programs,” Arc officials said in the press release. “These programs help to expand the important services required for individuals with developmental disabilities, which is a critical piece of The Arc’s mission.”
Under Amato’s leadership, the Arc of Southington has maintained good relationships with members of Connecticut’s union offices for her reputation for developing programs, like the Arc’s employee pension plan, and for promoting volunteerism within the company and the community.
In 1999, Amato received the only known humanitarian award for The Arc of Southington.
Recently, she oversaw an expansion of the main office and parking lot at the 201 W. Main St. facility.
“Her influence has left an indelible impact on all of us,” Rice said in the release, “and I want to thank her for all she’s done for the progression of The Arc of Southington.”
To learn more about The Arc of Southington, a private, non-profit organization with a mission to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families visit http://thearcct.org/the-arc-of-southington.