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Suzette Smith recently was honored with a Future of Excellence Award from The Arc New York Executive Directors’ Association for her work at The Resource Center.
Smith, a Sinclairville resident who is TRC’s Assistant Finance Director, received her award in the category “Excellence in Support Services.” She was one of five people chosen to receive the inaugural awards as part of an EDA initiative to recognize exceptional performance and leadership by staff members at Arc NY chapters.
A TRC employee for 27 years, Smith often is relied upon for critical reporting deadlines and will work outside of scheduled hours to accomplish a goal or meet a deadline. She also has expanded her scope of work by taking on the purchasing department in November 2019 and clinical billing team in March 2022.
Smith supported TRC in applying for grants to cover lost revenue due to the pandemic. Thanks in part to her leadership, TRC received more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Article 28 Clinic lost revenue.
Smith is regarded as an industry leader beyond TRC. Within the Financial Management Association of Rehab Agencies, she serves as the president of the Central Region. Smith organizes monthly FMA meetings and the annual conference. Whenever regulatory clarity, feedback or insights are gained, she shares that information with FMA members.
It is common for people in the field to contact Smith with technical questions. For example, she led data gathering of service providers in the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York regarding how much the agencies were being paid for the purpose of advocacy needs. She also traveled to The Arc NY’s Suffolk County Chapter to provide hands-on support, and she continues to assist its billing department remotely. The Fulton County Chapter contracted for Smith’s assistance in fiscal intermediary services and consolidated fiscal reporting during a period of short staffing at that agency.
The Resource Center’s leadership praised Smith and her work.
“She sets a high standard of excellence for herself and her team,” said Denise Jones, Executive Director. “Her commitment to our field is evident not only in her impressive technical skills, but in her willingness to go above and beyond her job duties to support other organizations in the field through her active involvement in the leadership of the Financial Managers Association.”
“Suzette has a vast revenue and reimbursement expertise and has allowed our agency to accurately forecast reimbursement rates” from state funders, said Kelly Dimitri, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Jones and Dimitri noted that in addition to her excellence in her regular job duties, Smith volunteers in support of many of TRC’s fund-raising initiatives.
“Suzette has always kept our mission at the heart of all she does,” Dimitri said.
Several other TRC employees were nominated for EDA awards and received honorable mention in their categories: Rosanna Hatfield, Clinical Site Supervisor (“Clinical Champion” category); Terri Johnson, Director of Employment and Community-Based Services (“Emerging Leader”); Meg Paolini, Nurse Manager (“Medical/Nursing Excellence”); and Jessica Smith, Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Administrator (“Program Services Excellence”).
The Executive Directors’ Association is a partnership among the executive directors and chief executive officers of the chapters of The Arc New York. The EDA connects executive leaders from across the state to promote excellence and professional leadership in support of The Arc NY mission. The EDA seeks to assist The Arc NY and its chapters to provide quality supports and services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. The Resource Center is The Arc NY’s Chautauqua County Chapter.