43rd WNYIL Annual Meeting

Independent Perspective 1751 with Mike Benzin on the 43rd WNYIL Annual Meeting. 

Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Mike Benzin, Chief Community Engagement Officer of WNYIL. And I am your host, Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Mike.  

Guest: Thank you for inviting me, Ernie. 

Host: It is our pleasure. You have got the big picture of an exciting event that is coming up in our very near future, the Annual Meeting of the WNYIL family of agencies. And for people that are not familiar with us, could you mention what those agencies are? 

Guest: Well, the WNYIL family of agencies includes the umbrella organization WNYIL, but it's made up of independent living centers and serves Erie County, Independent Living of the Genesee Region which serves Genesee County, Wyoming County and Orleans County and Independent Living of Niagara County, as well as the Mental Health PEER Connection, the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service, and the Young Leaders and Advocates Network and also Parent to Parent, our newest family member. 

Host: And that does not even count a whole bunch of subdivisions beneath those but that kind of covers the big picture. And what can you tell us about the big event, particularly when and where? 

Guest: Like most nonprofit organizations WNYIL is required to have an annual meeting. And this year is the first year in three that we have been able to schedule and have it in person. Because of COVID the last three years it has been virtual and online. So, this year, it will be on June 6, at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott. But at the annual meeting, it is important for the board to nominate and approve new board members for each of the affiliates’ councils, to nominate and approve new council members, and for all for all organizations to nominate and approve officers, president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary for their individual organizations. 

Host: And plus, there's a number of recognitions and awards that take place because there are a lot of people behind the scenes that make our work possible. 

Guest: Yes, you don't get a lot of opportunities to say thank you to people and to recognize those folks that kind of stood head and shoulders above the rest as they perform their duties. So, we have got the Volunteer the Year award. The balloting for that has not finished yet, but we will know that soon. The Employee of the Year from all the WNYIL family of agencies, that nominee has been elected but we keep that secret until the annual meeting. The Corporate Support award, which is going to Community Support Services. They are an organization based in New York City that does a lot to support our ICAN program, our Independent Consumer Advocacy Network and other things for independent living. And then our Elaine Wells Community Support award is going to go to WBFO reporter Emily Watkins who manages their disability desk. Emily has been a great friend to people with disabilities monitoring access issues and, and other kinds of things that are important for that audience. So, she's going to get our Community Support award. We also you know, like any Annual Meeting, we look at the previous year, we've got a year in review video that highlights all the things that WNYIL and its family of agencies have accomplished during the year. We recognize again, monthly Quality Service award winners. Those are employees who through the month did something exceptionally special and were nominated by one of the people that they serve. And then finally, our big thing I guess saving the best for last is our keynote speaker this year, is Wali Mutazammil. Wali is CEO of Behavioral Mental Wellness Coaching. He is a transformational development expert nationwide. He's a bestselling author. And his expertise is in consulting with organizations on their development, designing and leading transformation, facilitating transformational leadership. He's a veteran of the US Marine Corps and he's an expert in peer services. 

Host: And we're running low on time. If someone wants to know more about the annual meeting, who should they call? 

Guest: They can call me. My number is 716-836-0822 extension 450. 

Host: Thanks so much for being with us Mike.  

Guest: Thank you, Ernie. 

Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Mike Benzin, Chief Community Engagement Officer of WNYIL and I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.