Described by coworkers as warm, caring, dependable, and professional, Karen lives the IPPI mission every day

Shortly before 9:00am on any given weekday, individuals and staff start to gather outside the Electric Cafe coffee shop at our Massachusetts’s Day Program. They know that Direct Support Professional (DSP) Karen Veneziano will be behind the window to serve up a number of breakfast selections along with her trademark smile.The café, run and managed by Karen, is open for an hour each day and is a popular social hub where individuals and staff have a chance to socialize and grab a bite to eat before starting their day.

Karen has been a DSP with IPPI for almost 9 years, working primarily in the IPPI community-based day program in Massachusetts. As an advocate of person-centered supports, Karen embraces the “no walls” concept of day habilitation which offers individuals the opportunity to participate in community life through planned activities.

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Another CQL Accreditation Achievement for IPPI in Connecticut | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Company photo collage

Meriden, CT – CQL | The Council on Quality and Leaderships posted an article on IPPI Connecticut’s recent accreditation, “IPPI Connecticut has a vision for the future that has been shaped in response to the needs of people receiving supports, families, and their community. This was reflected during the visit in focus groups, in-person reviews, interviews, and the stakeholder event,” says Michael Clausen, CQL Quality Enhancement Specialist. “We were able to see, hear, and directly experience how that vision plays out not only in services, but especially people’s lives.” Through various factors such as a talented and passionate staff, strong self-advocates, transparent approaches, embrace of best practices, and more, it was evident that IPPI remains focused on ongoing organizational transformation. They have expanded upon their people-first culture through language used by staff, organizational community integration efforts, and implementation of person-centered discovery practices.

Read the full CQL article HERE 

About CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership is an international nonprofit, virtual organization dedicated to the definition, measurement, and improvement of personal quality of life. CQL’s vision is a world of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people. Learn more about CQL by visiting:

About The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. provides services and supports to individuals of all ages who experience developmental disabilities. Founded nearly 40 years ago, IPPI’s mission to build strong communities by empowering individuals permeates the work of the agency, providing highly individuated care to everyone who turns to IPPI for support. IPPI’s service footprint spans throughout New England and in Maryland. Learn more about the transformational work happening in a community near you at

IPPI CFO, Erica Hare, recently appointed to a four-year term on the Vermont Commission on Women

We’re pleased to announce that our Chief Financial Officer, Erica Hare, has been appointed to The Vermont Commission for Women.

The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) is an independent non-partisan state government commission. The group is governed by 16 Commissioners and an Advisory Board and Council of representatives of 27 organizations serving girls and women in Vermont. The purpose of the VCW is to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls in Vermont.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of the furtherance of the work of the mission of the Commission on Women and contribute in any way that I can and be honored to do that,” stated Hare. Read the Times Argus article HERE.


The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. Hires New Chief Financial Officer

Montpelier, VT— The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc. (IPPI) has hired Erica Hare as the agency’s new Chief Financial Officer. Erica will lead IPPI’s financial strategy as the agency continues to expand its service reach, unify its financial processes, and plan for future growth and development.

Hare brings nearly 20 years’ experience managing financial and administrative operations for several large nonprofits, including Academic Medical Centers in her native New York City. She is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where her portfolio included Finance, Human Resources, Fundraising and Alumni Affairs.

“We are pleased to welcome Erica to the IPPI team as our new CFO,” said Lou Giramma, CEO of IPPI. “Erica brings a wealth of experience in leadership of large nonprofit organizations, an extensive background in finance and strategic planning, as well as the leadership qualities needed to guide our agency into a new phase of responsible growth and development.”

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IPPI Connecticut hosts Ice Cream Social meet and greet for new foster parents

Man and woman attending Ice Cream Social

IPPI Connecticut’s Permanency Services Foster Care team’s licensing division hosted an Ice Cream Social on Tuesday evening for our new foster family applicants. The next step in the application process is completing a series of parenting classes that start in September. The classes are a requirement of the CT Department of Children and Families for fostering.

The meet and greet offered the group an opportunity to meet each other as well as the licensing team. One of our long time foster parents, Marilyn Jones, also joined the group to answer questions and share her experiences. Marilyn provided valuable insight into the challenges of understanding the trauma many of our youth in care have experienced and also spoke of the friendships she’s made along the way.

The night was a great success and we are grateful to those of you who have opened your hearts and your homes to do this transformative work. Learn more about our fostering with IPPI HERE

IPPI Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan, presents at the Therap Multi-State Provider Conference

Ryan Sullivan presenting at Therap Multi-State Conference

Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan (right, closest to screen), presenting.

IPPI Business Systems Analyst, Ryan Sullivan, along with IT Director, Scott Schulman, and MA Director of Administrative Services, Jennifer Peck, attended the Therap Multi-State Providers Conference last week in Denver, CO. Therap is a web-based electronic documentation application designed specifically for agencies supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The specialized conference offers an opportunity for Therap users from multi-state provider agencies to meet each other and key Therap staff in a small conference setting. Ryan presented our work with Domo, a business management platform. His presentation included dashboard creation and the integration of Human Resources, Financial and Therap data, enabling us to run analytics and other essential functions.

Tiffany L. Robinson, a former foster child, holds an MBA, founded a company, has a full-time job, and still makes time to give back to our youth in foster care

Meet Tiffany L. Robinson, MBA, social entrepreneur, CEO/Founder of Eloquent Ingenuity™ LLC, and Planning and Development Coordinator for the Community Action Agency of New Haven.

A native of New Haven County, Tiffany is a former foster child who spent 10 years in the foster care system due to a voluntary surrender by her biological parents. Her journey is one that many of our youth in foster care can relate to. The search for identity, the desire to belong, learning resilience, discovering independence and navigating self-awareness. Through determination, perseverance, and a passion for learning, Tiffany excelled.

Tiffany’s passion for learning, leadership and giving back, fueled her to create Eloquent Ingenuity™ LLC, which offers training and development to entrepreneurs.

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IPPI’s Vermont Center for Wellness brings outpatient mental health counseling services to area residents

Our recently opened Vermont Center for Wellness in Berlin, VT provides individual, family, and group counseling services to area residents in central Vermont.

Our goal is to supplement outpatient mental health services currently available by offering counseling services to treat common mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, relationships, life stresses, responses to critical or traumatic incidents, and similar issues.

Partnerships with other mental health providers and agencies are important to us. We take a relational approach to building our list of stakeholders and referral partners. We strive to be collaborative, strengths-based and take a non-competitive approach to serving the area’s mental health needs.

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IPPI Achieves CQL Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation

Group of people at a meeting

IPPI staff, stakeholders, and individuals collaborate to transform supports and services.

Meriden, CT – IPPI Connecticut has been awarded the four-year Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award confirms that the organization embraces person-centered solutions to improve the quality of life for people receiving supports and services.

IPPI works with individuals of all ages who experience developmental disabilities. Founded nearly 40 years ago, IPPI’s mission to build strong communities by empowering individuals permeates the work of the agency, which provides creative and dynamic service for the people cared for by the agency.

“The CQL Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation is a great honor for this agency that was achieved because of the hardworking staff, stakeholders, and the people served by the agency who dedicate themselves to a shared vision of transforming IPPI’s supports and services,” said Lou Giramma, IPPI’s CEO. “CQL has helped our agency shine a light on what we do well and provides us with a path towards improved service for everyone in our care.”

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IPPI Massachusetts celebrates staff at annual Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony

Staff at Employee Appreciation Awards dinner.

(Left – Right) Harvey Rodriguez, Christine Lowe, Lissette Perez, Jason Burdett.

IPPI Massachusetts held its annual Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony on June 20th at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner, MA. The staff was treated to a barbeque dinner and a free raffle. The highlight of the night, however, was the awards ceremony.

Each year IPPI employees and providers have the opportunity to nominate anyone they believe is deserving of an Employee Appreciation award. The award recognizes those who represent the core values of the agency.

We’re proud to announce this year’s winners! Congratulations to all of you!

Direct Support Professional Award – Residential: Benjamin Danquah
Presented to residential services staff members who have consistently performed above expectations over the last year.

“Ben is the consummate professional, always identifying the next steps and working toward solutions that support Lunenburg.”

Direct Support Professional Award – Day Program: Amayra Davila 
Presented to day program staff members who have consistently performed above expectations over the last year.

“Amayra meets the individuals where they are at, gently coaches and pushes them to challenge themselves and is a supportive instructor, job coach and caregiver for the individuals she supports.”  

Continue reading for the full list of award recipients.

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