posAbilities CEO Fernando Coelho excited about new year’s possibilities
Michelle Strutzenberger


A new kind of planning process at posAbilities is generating so much excitement, people who haven’t gone through it are asking when it’s their turn. Continuing to implement this new planning process and bring it to all parts of the organization will be a main focus of 2013.

2012 was the first full year posAbilities offered this new process, which involves everyone — from persons served to families, staff and managers at all levels — in planning each program or service offered through the organization.

As one example of how it works, a person served through posAbilities had a team of diverse stakeholders work with him to discover what he’s interested in — large machinery and movement — and then brainstorm activities he could do that match his passions. At a last check in, he had just visited the airport and sat in a Cessna for the first time with the goal being to eventually go flying.

What’s most notable is how the new process is generating a sense of empowerment, posAbilities CEO Fernando Coelho says. Instead of waiting for top-down direction, people understand they can take it upon themselves to initiate.

 We’ve noticed with programs that have gone through this process, there’s this excitement and energy and involvement,” he says.

Fernando foresees that as the process becomes more widely practised, both posAbilities’ direct network of stakeholders and eventually the broader community will take more ownership for creating a community of true belonging for all.

 “We can’t do it alone. A handful of managers can’t do it alone.

“The only way we’re going to achieve this is by having all stakeholders actively participating in making pathways into our respective communities, whether that’s the baker down the road, the coffee shop across the street or the local laundry facilities,” he says.

 “It’s a matter of branching into those parts of community and educating the community that we are part of community. . . . It can’t just be done with a brochure stating what our mission and vision is. It has to be more than words on a pamphlet. There has to be some meaningful demonstration of those beliefs.

 “That requires action, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve here.”

 Fernando says he’s excited about the year ahead, thinking about integrating this planning process deeply and widely.

 “I think our organization has come a long way and I can see that in the culture of the organization in terms of the excitement that you feel in teams and the taking of ownership that’s happening at the different programs and the different teams,” he notes. “And I’m excited that this will grow over the year.”

 The goal is that the ways of being and intent that underscore this planning process eventually become “bred in the bone so that it’s not something that has to be stated in a memo but it’s part of the fabric of the culture.”

 “That’s the end goal and I’m excited about that becoming the end goal in the next 12 to 24 months,” Fernando says.

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