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Spotlight On: Mary Austin

Mary Austin

My name is Mary Austin. I have three children; Michael 42, Jovonna 39, and Stacey 29. I grew up in Bridgeport, CT. I then moved to Anaheim, CA., in 1981, where I worked for a law firm in Tustin for several years.

In 1996, I moved to Atlanta, GA and landed a job in the finance department of a major corporation. I remained in the finance industry for several years. I loved living in Georgia. I worked part-time at Stacey’s school as a computer teacher for Pre-Kindergarten. Also, I landed a job on the weekend as a Leasing Agent at my current resident.

In 2000, I moved to Jamaica Queens, New York. I was offered a promotion to work with the Credit and Collections Manager. In New York, I attended plays, restaurants, and children’s events. In 2001, I moved back to my hometown and commuted by train to New York. I really enjoyed taking my mother shopping and talking to my father.

By 2012, I lost both of my parents and decided to move back to beautiful California. Currently, I’m raising my grandkids; Hayleigh 5 and Chase 3. I love taking them to the library, movies, social events, and I make education their priority.

In 2017, I earned my MBA with a concentration in Human Resources. Even though I am serving in
a different field, I truly enjoy working at Ability Counts. Tiana makes sure I’m learning the industry and making an impact on the job as well as my personal growth.

I look forward to my future in California.

Spotlight on Angela Venaas

Hello my name is Angela Venaas. I’ve been a job coach with Ability Counts for 6 years. On my off time, I spend time in the garden, or watching movies with my husband.

I have one niece and five nephews, all of which are involved in sports. I try to go to their games as much as possible before they grow up.

We live in a little historical house on almost an acre land with two large dogs & a cat. I always have some sort of project going. -Angela Venaas

Spotlight on Ernst Guillaume

Lamentably, I am leaving my second home. Yes, I mean it! Ability Counts, Inc. has been my second home for 5 years. I remember when I met with Claudette on my first day (June 24, 2013) and she introduced me to Veronica Zepeda and the rest of the team (Debbie, Sandra, and Tiana).

That day was a triple culture shock for me: new to America, new to American workforce, and, most importantly, new to people with developmental disabilities.

However, three months later, I fell in love with the population and the rest of the team! I am saying this genuinely, this population changed my life. They taught me that life is not just about driving a nice car, living in a luxury home, or earning a fat paycheck, but to do something that is greater than who I am. For that, I am so grateful!

I learned so much from almost everyone, knowledge and skills that shaped professional careers that I will take with me everywhere I go. I will always be grateful to people like Claudette, Victor Sr., Leticia Gutierrez, Mo Gaji, and Ability Counts, Inc. as a whole.

It also was a privilege for me to work with the SEP Case Managers and employees such as Tiana, Lorrie, Sarah, Brenda, Judith, Diane, Blake, Julian, Gema, etc. Also, it was my honor to directly team up with the WAP coaches: Veronica, Rosie, Karina, Ingrid, Yvette, Wade, Yolanda, and Maricela to serve more than 200 hardworking people with developmental disabilities.

All of you are very valuable to Ability Counts, Inc. I hope you continue knowing how much of an influence you have on these people’s lives and how valuable you are to the success of the company.

-Ernst Guillaume

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