Independent Perspective 1697 with Mike Benzin on the WNYIL 42nd Annual Meeting.
Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Michael Benzin, Chief Community Engagement Officer of WNYIL. And I'm your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Mike.
Guest: Thank you, Ernie.
Host: And you're here with us because you have all the information at your fingertips about one of the family of agencies’ biggest events of the year, our Annual Meeting. First, tell us how it's going to be conducted, and who all has been invited.
Guest: Yes, well, the Annual Meeting for WNYIL and that's for the whole family of agencies, is going to be on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:00 PM. And unfortunately, it's going to be on Zoom again, it's going to be a virtual meeting. I think everybody had hoped that we could start to meet in person again, but with the rise of COVID increasing once more, we thought it would be safe and prudent to have a Zoom meeting. But the Annual Meeting for Independent Living is pretty important. This is our 42nd regular meeting. It's where the business of the organization is conducted. We elect the officers for the board of directors. We confirm the appointees for all the individual councils for each of the affiliates, Independent Living of Niagara County and Independent Living of the Genesee region, and all the other organizations that are part of the family. So it has that normal routine business that we need to go through, but it's also a great opportunity just to kind of celebrate the year and the fact that we survived another year of COVID second row I think is a big deal. So, during the meeting, we'll give out prizes. We'll do some raffles; we’ll spin the wheel a few times and try and make it fun. But we're also going to honor some people. Some people have made a difference in this last year. It's the employee recognition. So, honor the employer the year. We’ll honor the volunteer of the year and we've had a lot of volunteers step up in this last year to help the agency do its thing. The corporate support award is big. We get a lot of support from our partners and business to help us perform our services and deliver our programs. The community support award is also important. So, we'll be doing all of that during this meeting. I guess the big highlight is our keynote speaker is Steve Miccio, CEO of People USA. Steve has been in the business for 35 years plus or minus. But he was one of the first people in the country to start using peers in crisis situations. So in the past when somebody was having a mental health breakdown or some sort of challenge, very often they would go to the hospital and he is a pioneer and hospital diversion programs to kind of help people not unnecessarily go to the hospital but go somewhere else a safe space where they can recover and kind of you know get back on a solid footing. So, he's our keynote speaker for the for this event.
Host: Because even though we don't have a particular banquet hall or whatnot lined up for this, people will still need to get the Zoom link. If they wanted to participate. What do they need to do to get that?
Guest: If they want to come to the event, we could probably send them a formal invitation, so they have all the details. And then they could probably contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I'll send them the invitation and if they can make the event. They just RSVP to the invitation. And then we'll send them the information for the zoom session at that time. We cast a wide net this year where it was invited everybody that we work with although the people who participate in our programs and services we've invited, obviously the entire WNYIL staff, team and all of our volunteers on our councils and our boards as well as people that we work with other not for profits in town. So hopefully we'll get a real strong attendance.
Host: All right, we're out of time. If people have any short questions, how can they reach you?
Guest: I think Call me anytime. 716-836-0822 extension 450
Host: Thanks so much for being with us.
Guest: Thank you Ernie.
Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest for today was Michael Benzin, Chief Community Engagement Officer of WNYIL and I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.