Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Kristen Smith

Broome DDRO
Kristen Smith

POSITION: Self-Direction Liaison/Willowbrook Liaison


Kristen Smith was named the 2019 Employee of the Year for the Broome DDRO due to her positive energy and willingness to take on anything asked of her – making her an “irreplaceable employee.”

Vanessa Smith, Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist II and Kristen’s supervisor says Kristen has worked in several capacities with OPWDD. Most recently, she was in a combined role as both the Care Coordination Organizations (CCO) liaison and Willowbrook liaison. 

“Kristen makes it a point to learn each and every task within the domain of her work, seeking guidance when necessary and offering mentorship whenever the chance arises,” Smith says.“Kristen makes herself available to assist outside of her own responsibilities, never turning down a challenge or a chance to learn something new. She embraces each new task with focus and positive energy.”

“Kristen is very down-to-earth and compassionate about her job. In her various roles within the agency, she has provided support and guidance to coworkers, agencies and most importantly, to the people served by OPWDD,” she continues. “Kristen is a team player who always has a professional and respectful attitude, works seamlessly with all of the staff and Leadership Team here at the Broome Regional Office.”

Kristen is in the process of transitioning to a new role in the Self-Direction unit at the Broome Regional Office, says Smith. “The transition has taken a life of its own, as we are in a period of change both within the office and the service delivery system as a whole. Kristen’s previous position as the CCO Liaison was met with many demands due to  the change from Medicaid Service Coordination to CCO care managers.”

“Kristen stayed on top of these changes and made herself available to attend any trainings and WebEx sessions that became available in order to have the most up-to-date information possible,” she continues. “Kristen then shares her knowledge with those around her, proving to not only better herself, but the entire team she works with.”

“She has worked simultaneously in several different capactities within the Broome Regional Office this year, and has been more than an asset in each of these very different assignments,” Smith says. “From taking on tasks and special projects, both large and small, to having an instrumental part in the training and onboarding of new and transitioning staff. During this time, Kristen has met each request with a positive attitude, never letting the demands of an overflowing plate keep her from moving forward with the task at hand, all the while having the added responsibility of learning a new role herself. Kristen is always willing to learn and adjust to changes that occur within the DDRO and OPWDD.”

“Kristen’s adaptable and positive attitude, combined with a knowledgeable skill set, makes her an integral part of the Broome team,” says Smith. “Add in her ability to take on and manage change and new tasks regardless of the difficulty, and she becomes an irreplacable employee. Having Kristen work in the Regional Office, where she can apply her awareness of new initiatives and years of experience and share it with her coworkers, outside agencies, and most importantly the people we serve, is appreciated beyond measure.”