Terese Brennan

Terese is a long-time employee at May Institute. She has served the organization in a variety of capacities and programs over the past 20+ years, beginning at May's first school in Chatham, Mass. She has held several positions, including Program Coordinator and Director of Day and Vocational Services. Terese joined the Quality Improvement department in 1995, and is now Senior Vice President of Quality Improvement and Compliance. We are so pleased to share her story!

In 1991, I had never heard of May Institute. When I interviewed to be a behavior support specialist in Chatham, Mass. (at May Institute’s first school), I was intrigued by the work May employees were doing to assist children with autism. What I anticipated would be a two-year commitment with an agency has turned into a career and life experience for me.

When people ask me how long I have been with the agency, I typically don’t count the number of years because it is about my life experience here, not the years. But – believe it or not – 2016 marks 25 years!

The first five-year period of my career at May Institute was a wonderful learning experience. I gained a better understanding of and appreciation for individuals with special needs and the challenges they face. I was supported and trained on evidence-based practices, and provided with research that enabled me to help them gain more independence and enjoy a better quality of life.

It was remarkable to see the strides the children made. To see children finally be able to communicate their needs or greet their families were wonderful experiences.

Since then, there have been continuous growth and learning opportunities. As I continued my career with May Institute, I had the opportunity to relocate to the Boston area and open the first apartment program for women transferring out of a state institution. The women had lived in a large home with 9+ people for more than 40 years. For these women to move into a 2-bedroom community apartment was a real lifestyle change. In the beginning, it was difficult for them to understand that the apartment was their home: No one was going to take their personal possessions; no one was going to take their snacks. They could leave items in the bathroom or living room because this was their home. I will always remember the day I walked into the apartment and one of the women placed a framed photo of herself and friend on the living room end table. I knew then that the women understood this was their home! I have to say that memory stays with me and as I think about it now. I think it was a pivotal point in my career. This is what I want to do. I want to affect change. I want to assist as many people as I can in gaining independence and enhancing their lives.

I have been fortunate to have great role models not only in my personal life (my mother), but also in my professional life here at May Institute. That has helped me achieve and learn from the wonderful abilities of our individuals, our hardworking employees, and the “family” here at the organization.

Today, I am grateful for the amazing team of people I have the pleasure to work with. To be surrounded by dedicated, intelligent people, all motivated to support the same mission and vision, is astonishing. I promise to strive each day to be a mentor, role model, and advocate for our individuals and our employees.

Learn more about Terese!

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