50th Anniversary Spotlight on Mary Howard

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I love that we have such strong early childhood services at HDI. HDI emphasizes the importance of supporting all young children to help them grow into healthy, happy adults that lead productive lives. To me the cradle to grave services at HDI exemplify the idea that people are more alike than different and that we all are working to be the best version of ourselves. —Mary Howard, Research and Development Associate; Director Child Care Aware

How did you come to know HDI?

I first heard about HDI and the good work that they do when I was working in early intervention in the early 1990’s.

How long have you been at HDI and what is your role?

I became involved with HDI in 2001. I was working with Kentucky’s KIDS NOW early childhood initiative and we some collaborative work with Beth Rous and the Kentucky Partnership for Early Childhood Services at HDI. I worked on several early childhood projects with HDI from 2001 – 2011. From 2011-2014, I served as the Military Child Care Liaison with Child Care Aware of America. As the Kentucky Partnership for Early Childhood Services provided the Child Care Aware of Kentucky Services, I was housed at HDI during this time. I officially became a part of HDI in July 2012 and am now in the role of Community Education Director, serving as the Director over our Child Care Aware of Kentucky services.

During your time at HDI, of which accomplishments are you most proud?

I think that I am most proud of the personal growth I have experienced while working at HDI. Through the support of many and in particular Beth Rous, Caroline Gooden, and Kathy Sheppard-Jones I feel like I have gained confidence and been able to accomplish work that I may not have in the past. I am proud to be part of an organization that recognizes and most especially values and respects differences in all people.

Looking back, can you please share with us a fun or fond moment you had at HDI?

It is funny because my first experience with HDI (then IHDI) was competing with them for a grant for early intervention services. I remember being told by colleagues that if IHDI was going for it, then we didn’t have a chance – and they were correct!

Do you have any advice you would like to share with current and future staff and students at HDI?

I would advise them to make as many connections that they can, both internal and external to HDI. I think it is important for HDI to stay current and relevant and to be visible as a partner and resource across the state.

What do you think the future holds for HDI?

I think HDI will continue to grow. There are so many wonderful projects housed here and sometimes we miss the opportunity to partner internally. In the future I hope that we will all (me included) make a concerted effort to collaborate with each other. As we work to strengthen partnerships within HDI, this will strengthen and grow all the wonderful partnerships we have throughout the state.