SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence (SADI)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Year established: Incorporated in 1987

Product or service offered: Provide non-residential independent living services to people with disabilities

Number of employees: 135

Location: Cape Girardeau, Perryville, Marble Hill, and Charleston

Owner(s): Maryann "Miki" Gudermuth, Founder and Executive Director

Describe your business/occupation in exactly five words.: Oversee Fiscal Operations of SADI

What is your vision for your business and/or your industry in 2012?

Miki Gudermuth, founder, executive director

Miki Gudermuth, founder, executive director: To purchase an additional facility in Cape Girardeau in which to expand our independent living services, add transportation services to yet another of our counties and to become CARF Accredited.

Who are some of the people, either historical or living, who have influenced your business philosophy, and how have they done so?

MG: I think the "School of Hard Knocks" influenced my business philosophy. Working in all phases of industry throughout history where employees are looked at as "a means to an end" and not as people who have much talent to bring to the table. Having Polio forces me to think outside the box all the time for a better way to accomplish a task is behind it all. As for historical models, if FDR and Helen Keller did it - so can I and so can my staff of gifted people.

Give us an example or two of an idea that came to fruition in the last couple of years, and how has that helped your consumers or clients?

MG: Seeing parents of children with autism struggle to make ends meet while providing the best therapies possible for their child. This was the brain child of Donna Thompson, my Director of Personal Care Services. SADI holds an annual Autism Walk that has benefited more than 100 families in this area to enable them to afford dire necessities while at the same being able to afford the needed services vital to the positive development of their children.

Does your business have a mission statement? What is it?

MG: SADI endeavors to empower people with disabilities, in choosing feasible options, helping them achieve control over their lives to minimize dependence and increase independence, allowing more control in their lives. Thus the Mission Statement: "CHOICE, CHANGE AND CONTROL".

How do you encourage teamwork at your place of work?

MG: I have a team of six incredible program directors who meet almost daily to ensure that our consumers needs are being met as well the needs and well being of our staff. We are always looking for ways to implement policies that enhance our work environment.

What role does your business play in the betterment of the community?

MG: We have an economic impact on the local community through our employment of over 135 people, and SADI processes payroll for over 900 attendants on the Consumer Directed Services Program. We work with people with disabilities to integrate them into their community through our independent living services that include transportation. People with disabilities are often neglected as an integral part of the community. Our job is to make integration possible!

What do you think is the community's biggest asset from a business perspective?

MG: We enjoy a very collaborative and interactive community that respond quickly to the needs of others. The business community is important but also we tend to discount the impact that social services provide to a community and its economy.

Tell us about one or two businesses, colleagues or organizations you work with in the community, and how you have helped one another.:

MG: We have worked with the autism center to collaborate on individual cases and issues affecting families with children with Autism. SADI has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Alliance Bank in Cape Girardeau and the local media in promoting programs and services we provide, which has proven invaluable.

What books or publications have you read that inspire you? Can you give examples of how you've applied what you've read to your business?

MG: "The Power of Small, Why Little Things Make All the Difference" by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. It is a book on how the smallest action or gesture can have a tremendous impact on some of our biggest goals. Going the extra mile for someone which I believe in doing every day. Bigger isn't always better; in my center the smallest detail can make a huge difference in securing that grant, that deal, that campaign or that relationship. Some say not to sweat the small stuff, but the small stuff often leads to bigger opportunities. I like to show my staff I appreciate them every day in little ways, and feel their loyalty and our growth is a reflection of that level of appreciation. Little Things Do Mean A Lot.

What are some lessons that you learned at a young age that still apply in your business philosophy today?

MG: Change is always in motion. I've learned that each day may require a new or different strategy to enable me to go about my day-to-day activities. That holds true in the business climate where funding options are ever changing up or down, and coincides with the economic trends at both the state and federal level. The slightest changes can make a positive or negative impact on the consumers we serve.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: