At a recent meeting of its Board of Directors, Kelly PeLong was elected the new Executive Director of Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (DNMM), effective February 1, 2019. She succeeds Steven Locke who was recently named the Executive Director of Michigan's Statewide Independent Living Council.
"We cannot think of anyone more qualified to lead Disability Network," said board president Tom Provoast. "With nearly 25 years of experience at DNMM, Kelly has developed lasting and productive relationships with consumers and community partners, as well as a familiarity with all programs at DNMM. Her expertise with and dedication to our mission will not only expedite the transition process but will keep us moving forward as we advocate for and promote independence for all people with disabilities."
PeLong first started at Disability Network in 1994 as an Empowerment Trainer and a Peer Support Coordinator. In 1998 became the Independent Living Services Program Coordinator, administering DNMM's direct support programs for people with disabilities.As Quality Assurance Advisor, PeLong monitored agency quality assurance to improve program performance and service provision and she managed all compliance protocols for DNMM's accreditation survey through CARF. Through her guidance, we have received seven consecutive 3-year accreditations from CARF. Last year, PeLong assumed the role of Associate Director and was instrumental in fostering a partnership with the Great Lakes Loons where DNMM became the sponsor of accessible services at Dow Diamond.
"As a person with a disability, I strive to represent other people with disabilities in a way that portrays competence and a positive work ethic," said PeLong. "Having had a disability since birth, I have learned to adapt to a world that is not always welcoming to those who are different. We all have challenges, some visible and some hidden. My approach is to find ways to meet people where they are in life and to work with them to help them become the best version of themselves. I feel strongly in my heart that I have been given the opportunity to experience life from a different perspective for a reason. I am excited to continue advancing DNMM's vision of communities that are accessible and inclusive to all."
Kelly lives in Midland with her husband, Sam. She is a master gardener and her home was featured during the Reece Community Endeavor's 2017 Garden Walk. She is also passionate Great Lakes Loons fan and attends as many games as possible.