Director of Career Development and Benefits Planning
In summer 2020, Kenda Curativo became the interim director of career planning and placement at the Center. In December 2021, she permanently took over the role.
For 10 years, Kenda was a general manager in the fast-casual restaurant industry. A representative from the Center’s employment team came to her restaurant to introduce the idea of becoming partners with the Center. Kenda started interviewing, and then hiring, the job placement participants from the Center. Little did she know that she had a natural talent for the work we do at the Center. Without realizing it, Kenda was turning her interviews into career assessments and was creating disability accommodations needed for the employee to meet expectations and be successful. When an opening for a vocational evaluator became available, Kenda interviewed for that role and began working for the Center in 2017.
Kenda took initiative to improve the department, with suggestions from a corporate perspective and to increase the value offered by our services. She became a certified autism specialist through the IBCCES, so her the Center’s vocational evaluation and job placement services could offer an even more specialized approach to our employment services for people with autism. The certification gives our services more expertise and improved quality, because participants with autism have different needs and challenges from other disabilities.
Kenda’s approach to leadership is to motivate and encourage people to grow. She believes in setting goals and challenging people, so they do not fall into stagnancy and complacency. Her philosophy is to keep everyone “aligned with a vision that our work is not about us, it is not about an agency, but about many parts working together for the good of the individuals we are serving.”
In her new leadership role, Kenda is most excited to continue growing the department. The pandemic has changed businesses, but Kenda has seen some of these changes be better for employees and jobseekers with disabilities.