Honoring the Legacy of David Henderson, Retiring President & CEO of STARS.

May marks a bittersweet moment as STARS bids farewell to a visionary leader, David Henderson, whose compassionate stewardship has left an indelible mark on the organization and the hearts of all who have had the privilege of knowing him.

David Henderson, retiring President & CEO of STARS, reflects on his tenure with humility and gratitude. “I was privileged to be CEO when STARS celebrated its golden anniversary,” David recalls. “There were times during the pandemic where STARS future was uncertain, so it was an honor to stand with founder, Mary King, and toast the historic occasion.”

Under David’s transformative leadership, STARS has evolved into a beacon of hope and empowerment for individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities. “Covid provided an opportunity for STARS to pivot to the ‘employment first’ model, altering the legacy of STARS,” David reflects.

“Over the last 50 years of STARS, the services provided have evolved,” shares Jennifer Alewelt, Board Chair of STARS. “Under Dave’s leadership, STARS has developed and grown its Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) program. With the goal of helping people with disabilities find independent employment, the program provides training and placement assistance. This is a huge step towards providing people with autonomy.”

Challenges met with resilience, lessons learned with humility—David’s leadership journey has been marked by a commitment to growth and adaptability. “Incoming leaders are typically faced with the task of determining how and why things are done,” David shares. “Through conversations with trusted advisors, I learned how to adapt my behaviors to the unique behaviors of each team member.”

As David embarks on a new chapter in his life, his aspirations reflect a spirit of adventure and a heart full of love. “My wife and I have set a goal to create a unique travel experience for each of our grandchildren,” David shares with a smile. “But what I’m really looking forward to is catching up on my reading, something I’ve neglected far too long.”

To stakeholders, employees, and the public, David extends a message of gratitude and hope. “There is no greater joy than working alongside our program participants,” David affirms. “They have enhanced my personal spiritual maturity through the fruits of the spirit.”

David’s last day as President & CEO of STARS will be June 30th, 2024.

For those who wish to honor his legacy, David requests that donations be made to STARS. This gesture serves as a tribute to his unwavering commitment to the mission of STARS and his belief in the power of compassion to transform lives.

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