Finding One's Future with a Leap of Faith: Director Adrienne's Career Journey

By Sara Porcaro | Sep 16, 2020
Director of Employment, Promotion, Recognition, Disabilities, Rhode Island, Employment Services

With all the different choices and paths we can take, sometimes it seems like the options are overwhelming, and that can make it difficult to keep moving towards our goals. However, while it's true that one can't predict the future to know if success is ahead of us, when we follow our passions and interests, perhaps we don't need to.
That's how driven professionals like Adrienne Tipple stay on the paths they make for themselves--and how Adrienne, recently promoted to Director of Employment Services, reached one of the many goals in her work with Perspectives' Employment Department. As we celebrate Adrienne's success, we're also taking a look on her road to her current position.
As someone who grew up familiar with the world of human services--both through her mother, a teacher's assistant in the Coventry school system, and her participation in events like local Special Olympics games--Adrienne was always interested in giving back to her community through a career in the field. She began going to school for special education at CCRI, where she received her associates degree before transferring to Rhode Island College. During her studies, she also worked full time as a manager at a local restaurant, where she enjoyed working in the fast-paced environment food service requires, as well as working alongside individuals with disabilities who were a part of her crew.
"They were some of the most dedicated, dependable people to work with," Adrienne says about the individuals who joined her team. "I could always count on them to help when we were understaffed, and they worked so hard. They helped me realize what I really wanted to do."
And what she wanted to do included creating a space where individuals with disabilities could continue to shine in an integrated workplace setting. However, as Adrienne continued working her current job through school, she realized that teaching wasn't where her talents were meant to be. Her love of the food service industry kept her dedicated to her work at the restaurant, where she had many great experiences--including allowing her restaurant to host one local service provider's weekly meetings to coordinate services for individuals they supported. Adrienne built connections with this group, learning more about the possibilities in human services, but it wasn't until the restaurant changed ownership that she decided to leave and start a new career path.
With her cousin's recommendation to work at Perspectives, she headed there to start work in Transitional School Services (TSS) and Home Based Therapeutic Services (HBTS) as a Direct Support Professional. Then, in 2014, the Employment Department was born, where Adrienne soon moved after inquiring about different opportunities within the agency. She interviewed with Chief Operating Officer Kim Einloth, became a Vocational Specialist and then a Job Developer, and took special interest in the ProjectSEARCH programs, where she got to bring her talents from TSS into the world of employment as she supported students in completing their internships with Miriam Hospital.
"Being the Job Developer for TSS programs was my true passion over the three and a half years I worked in that position," Adrienne says. "Beyond that, I had experience on both sides of the aisle, thanks to my work in food service; I had the perspective of being both a Job Developer for individuals and the manager that hires them, and it made it easier to connect with employers about job opportunities."
But all the way through, Adrienne had her sights set on leadership; as hard as it was to leave the role she loved for her current position as Director, she's always wanted to be in a place where she could support individuals and fellow professionals alike in accomplishing all the incredible things they want to do. And all the while, Adrienne has learned what she knows through Perspectives' frequent and extensive training opportunities, which earned her various certifications, like the ACRE certification, as well as her on-the-job experience.
"Perspectives is amazing at training their employees," Adrienne says. "For me, in my career, it's the experience I got from just doing the work that's gotten me where I am, and I think it's important for people just starting their career to understand that often, you don't know what you can do until you do it. You have to push through your own uncertainty; there are always people on your team who can help you when you're stuck."
Now, Adrienne is looking forward to continuing her career and learning the skills necessary to take her leadership further. At Perspectives, an agency she describes as "one big family," she's working with her peers in the industry on the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP), as well as developing her leadership skills further as she continues to ensure the quality and safety of employment services during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a team of dedicated employment professionals standing by her, Adrienne's set for success, and we're wishing her the best in her new role!


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