An Interview with Joe Brubaker
An Interview with the ASK New Executive Director, Joe Brubaker
1. What drew you to ASK?
When I saw that the Executive Director position with ASK was available, my wife and I were going through a transition period with the IEP team at my son’s school. Up to this point, we felt that the team was his advocate. However, it became evident that when issues arise around rights and responsibilities, once-invisible lines become clear. It seemed providential that ASK was seeking an Executive Director at that particular time. As I researched About Special Kids – everything from its history and core services, information, peer support and care coordination, to training and education – I discovered that the more I learned, the greater I felt about the organization, and the closer connection I felt, too.
I began comparing my talents, interests, education and experience with what was sought in the next Executive Director. I’ve never felt such a complete match in any other position during my 29 years of non-profit service, an unusually good fit. But frankly, what most strongly drew me to ASK is the mission. That’s what we’re supposed to say, right? And that’s what we always do say. But this time the mission hit home in a way that no other mission has for me.
Being a parent of a child with special needs, I know firsthand the helplessness, the fear, and the frustration felt when fighting for your love one. Whether a single parent or two fully engaged parents are advocating for a child, there can always seem to be some deficit in knowledge or experience. As parents, we can begin to doubt our ability to fully protect our child. ASK exists to reassure parents that they are, in fact, fighting the good fight. And ASK exists to supplement a parent’s knowledge or resources with whatever may help.
Oh, and to top it off, the wonderfully trained, professional staff just happen to be parents of children with special needs, as well. For these reasons, I packed up my management experience, my education, and my love of fundraising into whatever boxes they would fit and moved myself to ASK.
2. What am I excited about/what have I seen during my first month?
Every time I meet with people and groups outside the ASK office, I hear positive reports from other professionals and from parents about the impact ASK makes. I hear about the professional staff and how, as parents of children with special needs, they “get it.” When I hear unsolicited positive comments from people who are not as involved with ASK as board members and employees, I know I made the right decision.
And I know a few more things, too. I know there is a community-at-large who supports our mission. I know there are sympathetic individuals nearby, poised to volunteer, to donate, to embrace our mission. I know that imbedded in our staff is a form of loyalty to our mission that transcends mere employer-employee loyalty; it’s the loyalty borne of carrying a common banner. And I’m excited to know that at the very heart of ASK is a parent.
3. What do I see happening for ASK?
When I search for the right word to describe ASK’s next big push, I think of “strengthen,” of “fortify,” and “reinforce.” During the last few years, ASK has expanded to cover all areas of the state. I see us solidifying our presence in the state during the next few years and becoming a more visible key resource and partner. As we continue to help children with special needs live better lives…, we will build upon and expand the partnerships formed by my predecessors, seek new avenues of financial support and continue to walk beside and, when needed, guide, Hoosier families.
I see great things happening for ASK and for the deserving families we are honored to support.