We’re excited to be sharing a new series: Meet the PMs! Our Program Managers are the unsung, behind-the-scenes heroes who have one of the toughest – and most important – jobs within our organization. We’re looking forward to you all getting to know them and their work a bit better, so tune in on social media for #MeetThePMs!
Learn all about . . . Amanda Connor!
Why did you become a PM? Before becoming a Program Manager, I worked as a Director of a homeless shelter. I have a heart to believe in people that don’t always believe in themselves. The shelter was only open for the cold weather months, and I wanted to get back to having a year-round job. Before working at the homeless shelter, I worked with The Cornerstone Agency doing Behavior Support. While a Behavior Consultant, I worked with several individuals in Penn-Mar’s day program and residential homes. I always liked working with Penn-Mar, so I was excited to see a Program Manager position open when I was looking for a new opportunity. I’m thankful for my time spent as a Behavior Consultant because it is helpful to understand how behaviors and communication affects the individuals I support.
What’s one thing you wish people realized about your job? We don’t always sit at a desk from 8am – 4pm and answer phone calls/emails! Right now you’re likely to find some PMs in the residential homes due to short staffing.
What’s something you wish people realized about people with IDD? A label of a disability does not define what one is capable of doing. An individual with IDD is capable of living a functional and meaningful life. I’ve seen individuals so ready to get back to going to the day program after being off for months due to Covid. Then there are others who have the desire to work and can have a stable and consistent job. There’s an individual I support who is happy to be home listening to Dolly Parton and the movie Grease. He sings along to each song! Each individual is different and we should treat them as such. We need to take the time to find their strengths and build off of those skills. There is not one universal way to support individuals with IDD. We have to keep stretching the social norms of what people view as “normal.” Just like me, some of the individuals we support like to create the beat to their own drum.
What’s your favorite food? I’m a foodie and always up for a good adventure. Food trucks are my go-to. They have the best hidden finds! A food truck showed me just how good Pupusas are! Right now Vietnamese and Thai food hit the spot but I can go for a Mac Daddy pizza from Divino’s in Hanover any day!
Something you love to do? I love to travel! Africa and Peru will always have a special place in my heart! I got to ride an elephant in Zimbabwe which was such a fun experience!
In your spare time you’ll be found . . . At the ocean! There’s something so peaceful about sitting in the sand, reading a good book, and listening to the sound of the water!
What are you watching lately? Grey’s Anatomy is a given but I always love a good food competition like Master Chef too. Right now though I’ve been watching Last Ship on Hulu.
Something people might not know about you . . . I’ve been married for four years, and my husband and I have a toddler named Dawson. Dawson walks around holding a #3 on his hands showing off his age proudly. If you talk to me on the phone after normal work hours, you can often hear Dawson in the background because he is a social butterfly and likes to talk to everyone. Recently when I was on the phone one evening, he even shared his great idea of pancakes for dinner with a staff from HR.