For 25 years, Lisa Weeks has supported, empowered, and advocated for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to Lisa, the residents in her programs are, “the most wonderful people on the planet. The residential program allows adults to live active lives in their own homes. They make their own choices and have a say in everything they do. Our work is based on respect and dignity. Although I’m the program’s director, I believe that my staff can learn more from the residents we serve than from me. Our residents work every day to overcome their struggles and spread happiness and joy wherever they go.”
Lisa started at The Arc as a direct care staff member at the organization’s residential home in Scituate. Over two and a half decades, she has held numerous positions including a case manager, quality control manager, program coordinator, and assistant director prior to becoming the program’s director and overseeing a staff of more than 100. For her, the relationships she has built with residents is her driving force. “Hands down, our residents are my inspiration for coming to work each day. Every time I visit one of our homes, they always put a smile on my face and make me feel like a superstar—even though the reality is that they are in fact the stars.”
Throughout her career, Lisa has worked to create a warm environment for her staff and residents, and calls her staff a “dream team.” They have consistently received exceptional ratings on state licensing certifications with scores of 95% or higher. She also worked to open six new residential homes and developed the agency’s shared living program. She developed new self-advocacy groups for residents, hired a community inclusion coordinator, and spearheaded a new live-in, isolation model during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of her efforts, only a handful of residents tested positive in the last year, and today 100% of residents are fully vaccinated.
Her leadership style is collaborative, innovative, and mission-driven. She credits the program’s success to her “incredible team. I’m so proud of everyone in my department and the work they do every day. The job comes with its share of challenges, but it’s also the most gratifying work I’ve ever done. Whenever I get frustrated, I look at my staff and the residents we serve, and it reminds me why I’m doing this work. Every day, we are truly making a positive impact on people’s lives, and what could be better than that?”