Guest Columnist: Michael F. Shriver | My Surreal Return to Penn-Mar - Penn-Mar

Guest Columnist: Michael F. Shriver | My Surreal Return to Penn-Mar

Posted on July 2, 2019

By Michael F. Shriver, Consultant, Penn-Mar Human Services

I first met Greg Miller, Penn-Mar’s CEO, at a leadership development program in the mid-80s sponsored by the Ryan Family Foundation. Obviously he was a great note taker and I must have been a great judge of character, as he is now Penn-Mar’s leader and I was the guy who hired him 31 years ago when I was heading this organization as CEO.

And here we are, colleagues again with the merger of Penn-Mar Human Services and Change, Inc., where I am currently CEO. Now better together as one strong organization supporting people with disabilities. What began as conversation, nearly 12 months ago, evolved into our decision to merge based upon the people and families we support, our team members, and the future of the organization.

For many years I have watched Greg from afar in his different managerial roles and I have always been impressed with his character, foundational values and decision-making skills. He is an extraordinary leader who truly cares.

We made it a point to stay in touch and meet regularly for breakfast over the years. The conversation ranged from politics to our mutual love of fishing and when it finally turned to business we were struck by how similar our vision and strategic plans were for both organizations.

Greg and I are committed to the least restrictive, person-centered, self-directed approach for people, always with their best interests in mind. We share the same three core leadership principles: Character, Commitment, and Courage.

With this merger, two organizations with shared beliefs and shared strategic strengths will be able to create even more non-traditional services and supports. That’s the differentiator that will make Penn-Mar the industry leader in the years to come. Supports important to a person vs. for a person.

Today, in the field of developmental disabilities, there is a shift away from traditional center-based approaches to home and community-based supports. Change, Inc. is probably five years behind Penn-Mar on that journey but together we can make that full transformation a reality.

And when I look across the state of Maryland where we are based, I can say with confidence that there is no better partner for Change, Inc. than Penn-Mar and vice-versa.

This merger isn’t about the financials. It’s not about wanting to be bigger. It’s about creating and offering what’s best for people, families and team members.

My new role with the merger will be Executive Director of Change, Inc., a Division of Penn-Mar Human Services. I have also been invited to join the organization’s Leadership Team and chair the transition team for integration.

It’s almost surreal for me to return to Penn-Mar, a place where I served as CEO from 1984 until 2000. What a joy to come across people in the organization whom I had the pleasure of working with who are still here!

When I called my daughter Amanda (who also worked at Penn-Mar for a time) to tell her about the merger and my new role, she was struck by how my life had come full circle, how this new opportunity was “meant to be.”

And so it is.

At a former job at MBNA, now Bank of America, I was given a book of sayings. My favorite quote was, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

There are busy days ahead and I and the Change, Inc. team couldn’t be more ready to work collectively with the Penn-Mar team. One of the first questions they asked after hearing the news was, “When do we get to meet our new teammates?”

Well, it’s already happening and we are all excited about what the future holds. The team who Believe in Life Unlimited are ready for the challenge of Transforming Life into Living.

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