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Health Care Achievement Awards special needs honoree Sharon Marble

After nearly 30 years, Sharon Marble of CDS Monarch Inc. still enjoys working with developmentally disabled people.

“They’re so thankful, really, for all of the efforts that you put into your job,” says Marble, who is the agency’s executive vice president for program operations and organizational development. “They really give so much more back than what you give, so it makes it very rewarding.”

CDS Monarch provides a variety of services to help people with developmental disabilities live fulfilling, independent lives in the community, including prevocational training and residential programs. While the agency focuses primarily on such programs, CDS Monarch also has a residential community for people 55 and older, some of whom are developmentally disabled, and a supportive program for veterans. Called Warrior Salute, that program provides clinical rehabilitative and family support services and employment opportunities for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Marble, who joined CDS Monarch in 1987, has made her mark at the agency, says president and CEO Sankar Sewnauth. Down through the years, she has helped transform the agency’s day services program, meeting one-on-one with the people it serves throughout the region. She has also helped CDS Monarch build relationships with service providers in its network. And Marble is as an exemplary role model and mentor for her peers, supporters say.

“Sharon has always shown care and compassion for all the people that we support, including people with developmental disabilities, veterans and seniors,” Sewnauth says. “Her contributions have greatly impacted the positive changes that have occurred at CDS Monarch.”

Marble has also been a driving force behind the work of iCircle, a coalition of local agencies that serve disabled people and others in need. The members of iCircle came together to form a Disability Individual Support and Care Coordination Organization. Known as a DISCO, it is a managed care organization that would help clients coordinate funding for the different types of services they need.

“For an individual, it would mean how their housing gets paid, how their medical services get paid for—everything, really, that helps support them in the community,” says iCircle board member Ann Marie Cook, president and CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc.

Cook says iCircle cannot form the DISCO without the approval of the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Marble’s knowledge and organizational skills have helped the coalition navigate the complicated application process.

“She has really understood the big picture of the goals, of the needs of individuals … but also has the organizational skills to pull off this paper-intensive process, to make this happen,” Cook says. “I don’t think we would be this far without Sharon.”

Rather than speak of the work she has done for CDS Monarch or iCircle, Marble seems much more willing to talk about her interactions with people CDS Monarch serves.

“I’ve had relationships with individuals that have lasted almost my whole career,” she says.

Mike Costanza is a Rochester-area freelance writer.

3/21/14 Health Care Achievement Awards (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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