Sinclairville woman wins state award | News, Sports, Jobs

Suzette Smith holds her award as she is pictured with Denise Jones, executive director of the Resource Center, and Kirk Lewis, who is the executive director of the Schenectady County chapter of Arc NY and president of the Association of executive directors.

Suzette Smith recently received 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 manager, received her award in the category “Excellence in support services.” She was one of five individuals chosen to receive the inaugural awards as part of an EDA initiative to recognize outstanding performance and leadership by Arc NY chapter staff members.

A resource center employee for 27 years, Smith is often called upon for critical reporting deadlines and will work outside of scheduled hours to meet a goal or meet a deadline. She also expanded her scope of work by taking over the purchasing department in November 2019 and the clinical billing team in March 2022.

Smith helped the Resource Center apply for grants to cover lost income due to the pandemic. Thanks in part to his leadership, the Resource Center has received more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for lost revenue from the Article 28 Clinic.

Smith is considered an industry leader beyond the Resource Center. In the Financial Management Association of Rehab Agencies, she is the president of the central region. Smith organizes monthly FMA meetings and the annual conference. Whenever regulatory clarifications, comments, or information are obtained, 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 collection from service providers for the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York regarding how much agencies were paid for advocacy needs. She also traveled to the Suffolk County chapter of The Arc NY to provide hands-on support, and she continues to help her remote billing department. The Fulton County Chapter contracted Smith’s assistance in tax intermediary services and consolidated tax reporting during a time of staffing shortages at that agency.

Resource Center management praised Smith and his work.

“She sets a high standard of excellence for herself and her team,” said Denise Jones, executive director. “His commitment to our field is evident not only in his impressive technical skills, but also in his willingness to go above and beyond his professional duties to support other organizations in the field through his active participation in the leadership of the Financial Managers Association.”

“Suzette has extensive revenue and reimbursement expertise and has enabled our agency to accurately forecast reimbursement rates” state funders,” said Kelly Dimitri, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Jones and Dimitri noted that in addition to his excellence in his usual duties, Smith volunteers to support many of TRC’s fundraising initiatives.

“Suzette has always kept our mission at the heart of everything she does,” said Dmitri.

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 Services (“Emerging Leader”); Meg Paolini, Nurse Manager (“Medical/Nursing Excellence”); and Jessica Smith, Quality Assurance and Improvement Administrator (“Excellence in Program Services”).

The Association of Executive Directors is a partnership of Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers of The Arc New York Chapters. The EDA connects leaders across the state to promote excellence and professional leadership in support of The Arc NY’s mission. The EDA seeks to help The Arc NY and its chapters provide quality support and services to people with developmental or other disabilities and their families. The resource center is the Chautauqua County chapter of The Arc NY.

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