Name:Barbara A Mazzella, FAAIDD, MSM
Employment: Quality Enhancement Specialist: Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
Why did you join AAIDD?
As a “budding “professional in the field of human services, I thought it was important to join the leading organization on intellectual and developmental disabilities. In these formative years, I was on a quest to soak up as much information about the current happenings in our field as possible and AAIDD was the place to meet scholars as well as learn about the future direction of our field. Many of our industry heroes and founding members were part of this organization and I was excited and energized about the opportunity to interact with these wonderful leaders. I am continually inspired and humbled by the people involved in this field and in this organization. I can honestly say that many of my closest friends and colleagues are involved in chapter and regional activities of AAIDD.
Why did you choose the field of intellectual disability?
I started my professional career as a teacher in elementary education and soon realized my passion and calling was towards improving the quality of life for individuals in need of supports and services. I had the opportunity to visit one of our state facilities in the early 1970’s and was shocked and appalled at the conditions that existed for individuals of various ages and that moment charted my career path towards helping individuals with developmental disabilities. After receiving my masters in management in human services, I was excited and motivated to work with agency leaders to make real system change across the Commonwealth. I vigorously worked in the Governor’s office to ensure that agency policies were directed towards improving and strengthening services for all consumers. Our public hearings provided a unique and unfiltered mechanism for individuals to speak about the positive as well as the negative strategies being utilized across the Commonwealth. I left this office feeling that our initiatives and activities improved communication between individuals and agencies and improved many implementation strategies.
AAIDD leadership positions:
I am currently the proud President of Region X; a vibrant and highly energized committed group of professionals. (President as of Jan 2013-Jan 2015) I was Vice-President of Region X from Jan 2010-2013. I have been the Senior Director at large Region X 2009-2010. I was also the President of the Mass Chapter AAIDD from 2008-2010 and Vice President of the Mass Chapter of AAIDD from 2006-2008. I have served on the National Assembly of geographic interests in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.