Long-time staff member Rob Burns says its people that keep him at posAbilities
Camille Jensen

Rob Burns says “a good old belly laugh” is a great way to connect with others, an approach he thrives on when working as a posAbilities supervisor.

“Making each other laugh is valuable,” says Rob, who has been working with posAbilities for nearly 20 years.

“I think if you can have a good old belly laugh with someone you can move mountains.”

Rob first started with the organization during a time when people who have a disability were beginning to leave institutions. He says he’s enjoyed helping people become more involved in their community, adding it’s the people that keep him there and he’s developed many strong relationships with people he supports.

“The strongest of those relationships would be with the folks that I have spent the lengthiest amount of time with, but as with most of the amazing things that happen in our lives, they change. So, although the immediacy of the day-to-day relationship ends, the best thing that comes out of it is the ease with which we reconnect when you see them again, and the memories you take with you when moving on.”

In order to build relationships with others, Rob emphasizes open communication.

He says it helps to have a personality type such as Charles Dickens describes: “A knowledge of nothing but a scattering of everything” as it increases your chances of connecting with people.

Open communication also fosters greater trust and comfort, which is important to healthy relationships.

“The laughter comes easier when you relate to each other on trusted ground,” he adds.

According to Rob, it’s valuable relationships that enhance posAbilities’ capacity as an organization.

He says by having strong relationships, people increase their own comfort level in allowing others to see who they really are.  This in turn leads to a better understanding of each person’s individual weaknesses and strengths.

“I would like to think that this would guide us to a place as an agency that makes fewer mistakes and improves the quality of care to those we support,” says Rob.

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