It was just three weeks ago that LaunchAbility had its annual fundraiser, “A Special Evening With …” at the Meyerson with comedian Martin Short on stage to the delight of hundreds. Now word arrives that LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons has turned in her resignation that will become effective on Tuesday, May 31.
Having joined LaunchAbility in 2010, she led the organization’s “Supported Employment Services and launch[ed] the innovative Academy program.” It was in 2013 that she was made CEO.
According to LaunchAbility Board President Karen Wald, “Kathryn’s decision to leave reflects her personal wishes to pursue new professional endeavors. She left the agency through the evolution that focused on expanding services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Board sincerely thanks Kathryn for her hard work and tireless dedication in serving clients and other valuable stakeholders of LaunchAbility. We wish her the very best.”
In the past two years under Kathryn’s leadership, the organization has
- Increased the number of adults placed in jobs. Each adult placed in full-time employment saves taxpayers $47,000 annually in reduced social services and contribution back to the community.
- Grown the Academy program as employers like Novitex, Aramark and Office Depot see the advantage of onsite training, suited specifically to their workforce needs. Since inception the program has helped double the number of successful annual hires. Additionally the program has grown to partner with local school districts to prepare youth ages 18-22 in special education in high school to transition into the workforce.
- Initiated programs to expand opportunities for people with Autism in technology (IT) careers. In March, LaunchAbility led “The 5000: a Global Summit on Autism in IT” and announced a pilot program with AT&T to train people with autism in software testing. Modeled after our highly successful Academy, the pilot will include best practices and experience gained by our specialty in Autism. The model is one that can successfully be replicated in other companies and other cities across the nation.
It was also during her tenure that the Bill Cosby “situation” blew up just days after announcing that the comedian would be the headliner at the annual gala. Kathryn orchestrated the cancellation of the Cosby appearance and replaced him with Dana Carvey.
Dr. Bill Behrendt has undertaken the search for Kathryn’s replacement.