“My goal is to build trust.”
Chris Hinkley began his career as a graphic designer, a position he held for about 15 years. Eight years ago, he decided that working behind a desk with computers wasn’t the right fit for him, so he started his education to become a physical therapist. During that time, he also joined EPI as a relief worker. “I was volunteering in the PT Department at a hospital for my educational requirements and realized that I wanted to do something that was more meaningful – and that working at EPI just felt right,” says Chris. He then decided that becoming a full-time employee with EPI was the right career path for him.
Now serving as Broome Community Services Supervisor, Chris explains that working at EPI has presented new and rewarding challenges, such as learning how to support people. “On a daily basis, I see individuals with developmental disabilities overcome obstacles of their own,” he adds. “It’s great to witness how the people we support grow and thrive, as well as see the positive impact we have on them.”
Chris shares a story about the complex cases EPI brought in after Broome Developmental Center closed. “These individuals had many different disabilities and needs. We were able to build trust and a rapport with them,” states Chris. “They’re doing remarkably well and are able to go out into the community. We’re very proud of this and it’s always gratifying to hear comments from outside people about the great job we did. It’s a testament to how EPI makes a difference in people’s lives – and that the individuals we support can accomplish many things when given the chance and proper guidance.”
According to Chris, “EPI has values and its heart in the right place.” The organization is person-centered and it aims to help the people we care for succeed and live their best possible life. Chris credits Becky Butler, his manager, for helping him at every step. “Becky and I have been together since day one – we’ve grown together and learn from each other,” he adds. “I’d encourage any EPI employee to ‘pick the brains’ of the people who have been here the longest and follow their advice. By doing so, you’ll get the most out of your job, advance and grow.” EPI also offers a host of training programs and opportunities to learn within the organization and advance in your career. “EPI seeks out dedicated and motivated individuals,” says Chris. “They’ve treated me great and enabled me to work my way up to supervisor.”
Chris feels that to be successful in this field, a person needs to have an open mind, be flexible and be able to adapt to changes. He also believes in an open-door policy – employees and individuals EPI supports are always welcome to stop by his office, even if it’s just to say hello. “In my day-to-day interactions with people, whether it’s my staff or individuals we support, I strongly strive to make a difference in their lives,” explains Chris. “My goal is to build relationships based on trust and ensure everyone is treated fairly.”