PossAbilities Executive Director named for 2024 Inspire Award

Inspire Award honors an individual for exemplary achievements in disability services

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MOHR President Robin Harkonen, left, presents the 2024 MOHR Inspire Award to Sue Mackert, Executive Director of PossAbilities.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sue Mackert, executive director of PossAbilities in Rochester, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Inspire Award, presented by MOHR, an all-volunteer organization representing more than 100 nonprofit day and employment service providers for adults living with disabilities. The recognition honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the disability services field, and who inspire others to take action benefiting individuals with disabilities.

“Sue is a dynamic leader whose unwavering commitment and innovative approach has transformed PossAbilities and made a significant impact across multiple domains,” explained Mike Miner, president of Phoenix Alternatives, Inc. (PAI) and a peer of Mackert’s. “Her exemplary leadership has not only led to positive changes within her agency but has also inspired and benefited all MOHR members and the people they support.”

As executive director, Mackert has led PossAbilities through program re-design, financial re-stabilization, and Covid challenges. Her notable accomplishments include the introduction and growth of new services, the establishment of a community arts program, and the transition from a special minimum wage operation to a competitive employment program.

Mackert also supports day and employment service providers across the state through her volunteer work with MOHR. Mackert currently serves as Co-Chair of MOHR’s Public Relations Committee and is MOHR’s point person for Waiver Reimagine. Her engagement at the State Capitol and with individual legislators provides a compelling voice of advocacy for MOHR members and the people they serve.

“Sue doesn’t just have a seat at the table,” said Robin Harkonen, president of MOHR. “Across the board, she is leading, educating, and making change happen. She is tireless when it comes to advocating for Minnesotans with disabilities.”

At a local level, Mackert leverages her ability to build relationships to engage multiple community partners. She is the Chair of the Olmsted County Public Health Services Board, and her collaborative work with the Mayo Clinic, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and multiple other organizations has paved the way for groundbreaking programs that support individuals with disabilities. These include a community partnership to develop a skills development program for younger people with disabilities, covering everything from nutrition to sexual wellness. Mackert is currently partnering with the Mayo Clinic to expand access to disability-related services for underserved groups in rural areas, with an emphasis on LGBTQ constituents and communities of color.

“Sue Mackert's leadership, dedication, and advocacy make her the perfect choice for this year’s Inspire Award,” adds Mike Miner. “Her impact extends far beyond her organization, creating a lasting legacy of empowerment and inclusion throughout MOHR and across the state.”

About MOHR

Thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities have a better, more meaningful quality of life through access to employment and enrichment opportunities offered by local non-profits. These mission-driven, independently operated organizations offer distinct approaches and resources in their local communities. Through membership in MOHR, a 501(C)(6) trade organization, members are supported with training, awareness building and legislative advocacy. Learn more at https://mohrmn.org/.