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Meeting Highlights: December Quarterly Staff Meeting

Coloring page that says "Today is Going to be Awesome"

The Deceber 2023 Quarterly Staff featured a packed agenda, holiday crafts, abundant food, and a lot of laughter. Please check out the key announcements and information-points that were shared during the meeting, below.

Then, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Please complete this survey so we can make sure each meeting is better than the last.

Upcoming Dates

Please note that the date for our next All Staff Meeting has Changed due to the Visions of Community schedule.

  • Holidays Office Closure: Half day on December 22 – closed through January 1, 2024
  • Office reopens: January 2
  • Timesheets due: Thursday December 21
  • Strategic Planning Process Lunch & Learn: January 3
  • Visions of Community – Key Dates
    • March 4-8: Pre-conference sessions
    • Primary Conference Day: March 9
    • Office closed: March 11
    • Youth VOC: March 16
    • Southeastern MA in-person regional VOC event: April TBD
    • Western MA in-person regional VOC event: April TBD
  • Next Staff Meeting: March 21, 2024
C2C Respite Network:
  • Ana Burke, Project Coordinator
  • Mahima Gupta, Project Associate
  • Janaina DeMelo , Project Coordinator
Development and Communications:
  • Stephanie Barerra Valdes, Development and Communications Associate
Family TIES:
  • Angela Isaac, Regional Coordinator
School Finder Help Line:
  • Melissa Acevedo, School Navigation Specialist
Family Engagement:
  • Ann Teng, Senior Trainer
  • Sundis Arif, Project Associate

Staff Promotions & Changes 

Join us in congratulating the following individuals on starting new roles:

  • Ruth Esther de la Cruz and Karen Lopez, in addition to their current roles, will be working with Renee and me on the Mass General Hospital research project Promoting Resiliency in Parents of Children with Learning and Attentional Disabilities
  • Emma Gregory has been promoted to Senior Trainer
  • Bridget Koetsch has been promoted to Finance Manager
  • Mary Beth Landy has moved into our new position of Family Engagement Manager
  • Gail Merriam has taken over the Pathways project from Eileen as our Pathways Manager
  • Mikayla Metcalf has also moved into a new position and is our Events and Engagement Coordinator
  • Naya Monteiro will continue to provide database support and is also working with MelanieMcLaughlin on Mass Health as a Certified Application Counselor and is a School Navigation Specialist for School Finder as well
  • Eileen Sandberg has passed the Pathways baton to Gail Merriam and has stepped into the role of Positive Solutions for Families trainer

New Name for the Training Room

Informally, the small conference room is called “the Fishbowl.” But, the training room doesn’t have a fun name! A survey of staff yielded two  top two vote-getters: “The Aquarium” and “The Shark Tank.”

By a strong majority, The Shark Tank: A Space for Innovative Ideas wins! And, Pam has decided to rename her office, “The Aquarium.”

Visions of Community

Emma Gregory, one of the Visions of Community co-chairs, walked everyone through the plans for Visions of Community 2024, including  the key dates listed above. Then, staff shared some of their favorite memories of our annual conference.

  • Kristin LaRose shared about a young person she worked with when he was 3 years old became a youth speaker one year — allowing the community to hear from him about what it means to have a village supporting your family. She also described how after we became a virtual event, we started hearing from parents who said, “I could never make it before and now this is possible for me.
  • Leslie Leslie spoke about a video created by Melanie McLaughlin in 2015, capturing Jameel’s story 
  • Susan Ou emphasized the impact of providing a reserved space for Chinese families to network and connect with one another around shared experiences – when we were in person this was a physical space and now it involves providing unstructured networking and connection time on Zoom. She also emphasized that now that we’re virtual, we are able to reach people and have speakers from different time zones!
  • Pam Nourse talked about the power of our in-person gatherings in terms of making personal connections. In 2019, at her first VOC, parent after parent came up to her to say how much the event means to them. Then last year at Youth VOC, a parent handed Pam a $20 and insisted she take it as a donation because she knew how much work it is

Communications Updates

Rosalie Rippey welcomed her new team members, Mikayla Metcalf and Stephanie Barrera Valdes. She shared some changes to procedures that staff members will see in January and early 2024. You can read the slides she presented (Google) for more information.


  • Human Resources Jennetta Hyatt & Miranda Tyszka
    • Right after the holidays, HR will be reaching out to staff about preferences and training needs related to Visions of Community, which takes place on Zoom and Whova
    • We have a lot of job openings on our website https://fcsn.org/about-us/human-resources-finance-diversity-2/#careers
      • Remember a referral bonus is available so please refer people for work here!
    • Miranda and Jennetta are auditing personnel files to make sure signed forms and required documents are in place
    • Please use the service request form for HR questions and requests
    • Performance Appraisals – the last lunch and learn prior to the quarterly staff meeting was about this process. New supervisors should reach out if they need help
  • Information Technology (Chetna Putta)
    • Please use our service request form
    • We are moving our internet service to a much faster, fiber optic network. This will help our phone system, Teams, and other systems. There will also be an extender to improve internet access in the Fishbowl and that side of the office, which will improve service 
  • Business Office
    • Normally timesheets would be due on the 22nd but because the office is closed the following week, please submit and verify your timesheet on Thursday December 21st. This will allow payroll to be processed before the offices are closed.
Pam Nourse, addressing tables full of staff members
Cambria Russell gesturing and talking about naming the training room
Emma Gregory, masked, addresses staff members in front of the Visions of Community landing page on the website
Susan Ou, standing, shares memories of Visions of Community
Rebecca Davis discusses Youth Visions of Community
Rosalie Rippey presents about the Communications department
Jennetta Hyatt sharing reminders
Coloring page that says "Today is Going to be Awesome"
coloring page that says "creativity takes courage"
Rosette made of clay, dotted with magenta glitter
clay shaped into brances and roses