re:con – The Convention of New Beginnings returned for 2021 in a virtual format this November, bringing together attendees from across the state committed to removing barriers, restarting lives, and restoring community.
The conference is a collaboration between Incompass Michigan and Michigan Rehabilitation Association and featured the celebration of both the Apex Award and BOOM Award honorees.
The apex awards recognize outstanding achievement in the following categories: Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Partner, Transformational Leadership, and Lifetime Achievement.
The Apex Outstanding Community Partner award recognizes an individual that has dramatically improved the quality of services and supports for people with disabilities and other barriers. This award honors the vital role and commitment of our community partners – often unsung heroes – contributing to the betterment of an existing program, or creating a new model that has positively and sustainably affected the quality of life for individuals who face barriers. The 2021 honoree is Emmet Yglesias, Warehouse Operations Manager at Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit.
The Apex Outstanding Employer award celebrates a business that has fostered exceptional employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to community access in Michigan. This employer has demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and diversity in hiring practices, training, and talent development. The award recognizes an employer that has created a workplace culture rich with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, skills and abilities. The 2021 honoree is Busch’s Fresh Food Market.
The Apex Transformational Leader award recognizes those that have demonstrated the ability to develop and implement creative and effective leadership strategies, nurture valuable collaboration and partnership, and work across boundaries to achieve transformational outcomes with individuals who face barriers. This includes advocacy, innovative programs, partnership models, or published research – solutions that have changed the game in a positive way. The 2021 honorees are Brent Mikulski, Presidenty & CEO of Services to Enhance Potential and Dr. Michael Leahy, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus Michigan State University.
Founded in 2013 by Justin Caine, the BOOM (Be Our Own Motivation) Awards were made to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities. By telling their stories, they provide stigma-busting case studies to change society’s mindset when it comes to the capabilities of those with disabilities.
Each year, three individual are celebrated – an employee, an entrepreneur and an athlete – who have ignored doubters and pursued their dreams, in order to live the life they desire.
The 2021 BOOM Employee of the Year is Nate Burleson, Video Editor for Good Fruit Video described as an incredibly hard working and dedicated employee with a passion and drive to be successful for himself and his company.
The 2021 BOOM Entrepreneur of the Year is Ronnie Knapp, also known as DJ Ron, a local celebrity within the mid-Michigan area, providing DJ Services for decades.
The 2021 BOOM Athlete of the Year is Margaret Beaudoin, a world renown athlete with disabilities and a drive to give back.
To watch a video of the awards ceremony, visit https://youtu.be/aBSSg97LXsI