After an exhaustive national search, the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council is proud to welcome Brandi Monts as our new Executive Director. She has extensive experience within the intellectual and developmental disabilities community of Washington State. Her 23 years working in residential services, employment, government, teaching, advocacy, and consulting have given her knowledge of the barriers faced by people with developmental disabilities and their families accessing the supports and services they need. She has developed the necessary skills to guide the Council members and staff as they implement a State Plan that provides greater opportunities for advocacy, builds capacity in organizations and people, and changes systems to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values of the Council and expressed within the State Plan. Her professional and personal experience has prepared her for leading the efforts necessary to implement the values of the Council within initiatives, programs, projects, operational procedures and outreach. Her personal experience of having an uncle with developmental disabilities gives her an intimate knowledge of the needs of and care provided by families. She has experience reaching out and including people from diverse cultures and identities and has served a diverse range of geographic communities across Washington.
Of her previous time with the Council, Brandi says, “The DDC has been a source of inspiration and motivation since my formative years. I had the opportunity to work as council member support staff for the DDC, offering me a first glimpse into how legislation, policy, and program initiatives impact and better the lives of our community members with IDD. That experience fueled my graduate school study where I focused on policy and legislative impacts on the daily lives of people with disabilities. Since then, I’ve had opportunities to work alongside the DDC on several initiatives such as a workgroup examining the intersections of federal, state and local government systems, developing self-directed waiver system concepts, assisting with RHC family mentor design concepts, helping host legislative notebook meetings and attending numerous policy symposiums. These opportunities have encouraged my service on multiple committees and boards and provided me the chance to build relationships with stakeholders in our field.”
Finally, Brandi’s work and relationships with people with developmental disabilities have given her a deep understanding of the importance of being included in one’s community and exercising the innate rights of personhood. Her experience with employment enabled people to live independent lives with the necessary resources to thrive. Her work in public policy has endowed her with the knowledge that people who best know the needs of people with developmental disabilities are people with developmental disabilities. Cumulatively, her experience has informed her of the necessity of self-determination and access to resources. She is great ally of the self-advocacy/civil rights community.
Brandi begins her duties on September 1, 2022. You are invited to reach out to her in welcome and with your insights into the future of advocacy and resource development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.