Roy Gerstenberger

Bio: Roy Gerstenberger is a leader in the field of developmental services and organizational development in person centered practices. He has directed the DD Services Division at for the state of Vermont and worked twenty-three years as the Chief Executive Officer for Community Bridges; a major nonprofit organization with a mission focused service delivery team that has worked to deliver community-based services that promote meaningful lives for people who experience disability. During that time the company more than doubled in size to include over 400 employees and an operating budget of $32 million. It was recognized for excellence in nonprofit management as a recipient of the Dunfey Award from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation as well as accreditation by the Council on Quality & Leadership for quality assurance. Through this work he has been a thought leader in person-centered practices. Community Bridges has been a lead organization in using person-centered planning for over 15 years to the people served by the organization. He has published articles on inclusion and recently led the organization through a process of evolution in adopting person-centered thinking practices in partnership with Support Development Associates in all aspects of work. Community Bridges brings these practices externally as well by offering workshop and workforce development opportunities to build capacity throughout the system in multiple sectors of social care. His core beliefs are summarized in the following way: “I have learned that the core elements of a successful human service venture is to begin with a person-centered design, a focus on discovering and appreciating the gifts that exist in all people and an curiosity in discovering the capacities of our communities to support all of its members. Over the past 35 years my work has included direct care in institutional environments of the late 1970's, management of community residences in the early years of community service development, and roles in case coordination and program development. My greatest teachers have been people who experience disabilities, their families and the early pioneers of the principles of community inclusion.” Roy Gerstenberger received a Bachelor of Education degree from Middlebury College. After completing his undergraduate studies he volunteered and later worked as an instructor at Vermont’s institution for people with intellectual disabilities, Brandon Training School for two years which set the foundation for his lifelong dedication and passion to reversing the exile of people with disabilities through the creation of community based alternatives. This lead him to enter a graduate internship program whose purpose was to create a new home for adolescents experiencing autism previously confined to a ward at Waterbury State Hospital in Vermont. That work resulted in the award of a Master of Education degree from Johnson State College where he also received the President’s Award for Special Education. The following years included a variety of management positions for other homes, consulting in applied behavioral analysis, case management and service design and development. In recent years Roy Gerstenberger completed Executive Education program courses at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on performance measurement and leadership decision making and at the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Institute on strategic perspectives for nonprofit management. Roy lives in the small town of Chester, New Hampshire where he raised three beautiful children and where the outdoors brings joy and fulfillment to his pastime of hiking on trails, boating and exploring new beginnings.

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