Diana Hess, the chief communications officer for Jawonio, received the 2012 Affiliate Leadership Award from the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State. Hess describes herself as the “chief storyteller for Jawonio.”
The award recognizes an individual who had made a significant contribution to their organization and the people the Cerebral Palsy Associations serve. Jawonio is a provider of lifespan services in Rockland County and the Hudson Valley for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and chronic health needs.
The congratulatory letter stated Hess was chosen because of her “dedication to empowering people with disabilities to think and act decisively and creatively on their own behalf. Your ability to generate cooperation and instill confidence in others is an example for program participants, staff and volunteers at Jawonio and in the community at large.”
Hess, a New City resident, started her career at Jawonio as the public relations officer in 2000. In 2010, she was promoted to chief communications officer.
Hess, 54 years old, said she appreciates receiving the recognition.
"I feel very blessed to work and advocate for people with disabilities at Jawonio," she said. "I always pride myself on being the Chief Storyteller for the staff, consumers and families and I share this award with all of my colleagues and consumers. I could not be prouder to receive this, because I receive this with great humility about giving voice and passion to Jawonio and people with disabilities, mental illness and chronic medical needs."
Hess said this was her first "official" award, but that she receives "many rewards for this work daily."
Jawonio's Chief Executive Officer Jill Warner nominated Hess for the award. It will be presented on Monday, Oct. 22 at the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs.
For more than 60 years, New City-based Jawonio has supported and served individuals with developmental disabilities and special needs.