Our Mission: To drive up employment for people with disabilities, including Veterans.
The Sierra Group Foundation - Questions? Call 888.492.2402
Board of Directors
Janet Fiore – Chairman of the Board, Trustee, Governmental Affairs Liaison
Janet D. Fiore is CEO and Founder of The Sierra Group, a 16-person consultancy operating in the areas of Workforce Strategy, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Candidate Sourcing. Combining her past work history in law and insurance with her drive to reverse the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities in America, Janet lives her mission through her work. She takes this passion to greater heights, through her role as Chairman of the Board for this growing national Foundation. Called on routinely as a national authority on disability policy and procedures Janet combines her business consulting skills with her energy and understanding of what it is like to live with and accommodate disabilities in the workplace in almost all that she does. Janet occasionally feels ‘misunderstood' when friends or family suggest she take time off from work – “they don't get how much fun I having living my life's work. It's what I love to do”. Growing the Sierra Group's Workplace Foundation is ‘one more way' to achieve her team's mission – thus the name for the Foundation's debut national membership program, “One More Way”.
Fiore was inspired to launch One More Way (April 2008 scheduled kickoff) by the founding fathers of the Lion's Club International who declared back in the early 1920's to “come together to do together what we cannot do alone”. As trustee to the Lion's Eye Bank, Janet is borrowing this inspiration to further her Foundation's mission regarding research and information dissemination of best practices among all of the industry players. “So many great businesses and agencies are trying to connect job seekers with disabilities with resources and jobs. Given Sierra's role as the national agent to help place veterans with disabilities, she knew it was time to create a means for us all to ‘come together' to stimulate the employment numbers in a significant manner. One More Way will serve as a national forum to unite its members to share best practices and introduce valuable new relationships and resources among leaders in business, disability providers and most importantly, to match candidates with jobs!
Denise Barnes – Trustee
Denise Barnes is a well known business leader and advocate for employment and people with disabilities. While working as the Business Connections Director at Enable America, Denise developed a national network of connections between business leaders, community groups and people with disabilities. After being lured back into corporate America, Denise continued her outreach in her job as a Director at Washington Mutual, where she managed the banking loan sales force. She is an avid supporter of collaboration and the power of synergy. Using her contacts and her energy, Denise is proud to join the Sierra Group Foundation as Executive Director where she will help to lead the new One More Way collaborative. Denise Schabacker-Barnes heads our Florida Office location and is proud to be offering her energy to continue with her affiliations with the disability community throughout the country.
“Really, the foundation of every workplace is its people” says Barnes. “After working in the area of employment and disability, I became quite impassioned regarding the absolute need to include people with disabilities into corporate diversity plans.”
William W. “Skip” Simonds – Honorary Board Member
William W. “Skip” Simonds has more than 30 years of experience in providing consultative and program implementation support to businesses and organizations of all sizes. He is a recognized authority on issues relating to workforce availability including return to work, assistive technology, and other disability related issues. Skip is a senior consultant with Towers Perrin, an international human resources consulting firm. He is based in Los Angeles, CA and travels extensively throughout the western United States. His clients are Fortune 500 corporations.
Melody Templeton – Honorary Board Member, Director of Corporate Relations
Melody Templeton is CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Templeton Consulting based in suburban Philadelphia. For over 20 years Melody has coached companies of all sizes - from Fortune 500 to small family owned businesses and professional associations - to improve organizational and individual effectiveness. She has served on the faculties of Villanova University and the Wharton MBA and Executive MBA programs at the University of Pennsylvania. She conducted her fist seminar for adult students with disabilities in 1992 and continues to find creative ways for people of all abilities to develop excellent communication skills. McGraw-Hill is the publisher of Melody's “Quick Guide to Great Presentation Skills”.
Frank Henninger – Honorary Board Member, Higher Education Liaison
Frank Henninger runs a multi-million dollar university bookstore and oversees a retail and management staff with the added challenge of staffing up considerably each year during ‘peak seasons'. Speaking of ‘peaks,' Frank published a book regarding his experiences in 1999 and 2000 climbing Mt. Rainier, and is writing a sequel about his subsequent climbs there in 2002 & 2005, with his fourth climb following bilateral total knee replacement. This business-man, hiring manager and real life adventurer is someone whom Malcolm Gladwell would refer to as an absolute ‘maven' of information with a particular bent of knowledge regarding emerging technologies. Active with the Foundation's board since 2005 Frank has been instrumental in securing countless donations and serves as our Higher Education Liaison. Residing in the Philadelphia suburbs, Frank is the Director of the University Shop at Villanova University. He holds a B.S. degree in Biology & Psychology, and an M.A. degree in Liberal Studies.
Jeff Horner – Honorary Board Member
Jeff Horner is a 25 year veteran of the call center services industry, specializing in the development and implementation of programs, campaign designs, facilities, compliance standards, and staffing solutions. His client base includes industry leading fortune 500 companies in the financial services, banking, telecommunications, utilities, healthcare and government industries. Mr. Horner is recognized in the industry as the innovative leader who has developed a successful program to drive increases in call center performance in private business markets through the employment of people with disabilities. His convergence of directed sourcing and recruiting techniques, use of assistive technology at the workstation level, and support services has proven to achieve low turnover rates, resulting in high performance metrics with reduced training cost for the centers. Mr. Horner is based in Columbus, Ohio and works domestically and internationally.
Mary Flynn – Honorary Board Member
Mary Flynn is an occupational health nurse and has extensive experience in the field of corporate ergonomics. She has overseen national projects that combined traditional and technology assisted ergonomic interventions for stay at work programs. Her work has opened up doors for more ‘bring to work' opportunities for people with disabilities. She is also experienced in the interrelationship between ergonomic practice and lost time claims. Mary's extensive experience in the area of workplace health and safety bring a valuable perspective to the issues surrounding disability at work. Residing in Connecticut, Mary is employed at Prudential Insurance.
Joe Padula – Honorary Board Member
Joe Padula is a seasoned financial broker with more than 12 years of experience managing portfolios for individual and corporate clients. Committed to financial growth and attaining wealth for all of his clients, Joe is a valuable asset to the Foundation's fundraising team and gives valued insight regarding all fiscal activities, including helping to quantify and promote the business to business value of our Employment Incentives web portal. As the spouse of an industry ‘insider' Joe is familiar with the unique assets that people with disabilities offer to American businesses. Residing in the Philadelphia suburbs, Joe is VP of RBC Wealth Management.
Suzanne Padula – Honorary Board Member
Suzanne Padula is a rehabilitation technology consultant with more than 12 years field experience conducting worksite assessments for employees with disabilities. Combining her degree in Psychology and Education, she has designed and delivered adaptive curriculum for several hundred people with disabilities helping arm them with soft and hard skills needed for employment. Suzanne is the wife of co- board member Joe Padula. Residing in the Philadelphia suburbs, Suzanne is a part time consultant with The Sierra Group, Inc, and full time mother to two young children.
Michael Fiore – Secretary, Treasurer
Michael Fiore, BSE; MBA, is the CFO and Co-Founder of The Sierra Group, a 16-person consultancy operating in the areas of Workforce Strategy, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Candidate Sourcing. Combining his engineering and business degrees, Michael consults with the insurance industry and businesses on the implications of disability to bottom line goals and financial objectives. He heads the firm's Hire Heroes USA partnership, where he facilitates services and linkages for thousands of veterans with disabilities seeking re-employment. Michael routinely publishes and speaks on issues on disability and economics. He is on the Board of the Villanova University Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions. As a Founding Board Member of The Sierra Group Workplace Foundation, Michael designed and developed the Foundation's popular individual micro-grant program; was the ‘brains behind' the Foundation's popular national web portal www.employmentincentives.com; and is the catalyst for gathering and sharing best practices through White Papers and the Foundation's new series of One More Way programs and activities.
Linda Dezenski – Honorary Board Member
Linda Dezenski is the Chief Operating Officer for Liberty Resources, the Center for Independent Living in Philadelphia. Linda is currently the longest tenured employee of Liberty, having worked in a variety of other positions within the Center before assuming her current position in July of 1995. Linda has also worked as Acting CEO when needed. She supervises the Directors of the consumer programs.
Linda has 28+ years experience working in community based care for disabled and older persons. She earned a BA from Neumann College (now Neumann University), and two Masters degrees from the Graduate School of Social Work at Bryn Mawr College.
Prior to working for Liberty Resources, Linda was the Administrator for a subsidiary of Northwestern Corporation. That entity provided staffing to shelters for the homeless and other mental health programs.
Linda was born with a disability and advocates for total equality for disabled people. She has served on numerous statewide committees including the PA Independent Living Council and Chaired the DPW Nursing Home Transition Advisory Committee when Nursing Home reform was launched in the late 1980’s.
Linda has also served as a volunteer Examiner for the Keystone Alliance for Performance Excellence, Pennsylvania’s Baldrige organization.
Douglas L. Pilarski - Honorary Board Member
Doug is a Talent Management Consultant and has had the privilege to work with some of the most respected corporations in the world. He started his firm, Sawyer TMS, in 1987.
Over the years, Doug has held senior HR positions with Fortune 500 companies and spent a number of years in Tokyo in a Global Recruitment role. He launched the popular strategicdiversity.com in 1994. Read his blog, Talent Manager’s Journal on WordPress.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he attended the University of Pittsburgh. Doug has traveled extensively and does speaking engagements and workshops on the topic of “Talent Management for the Disabled Workforce”. He resides in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas.
INTERESTED? Please contact The Sierra Group via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1.888.492.2402.
We would like to receive your suggestions or comments. Please sign our Guest Book.