LivAbility Magazine
. Portrait, Lisa Purdy. Lisa wears a short-sleeved floral-pattern top and has her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She smiles at the camera.

Lisa Purdy: Lead Employment Coordinator

Photo by Loren Worthington

Actions speak louder than words. Lisa epitomizes what many people with a disability can achieve regardless of their disability. Lisa works directly with SSDI/SSI beneficiaries to achieve or return to self-supporting work. When advising the Ability360 Employment Services consumers with whom she works, the discussion is 95 percent non-disability related. Somehow she has the ability to instill an “I can work” attitude and demonstrates it herself. She does not need to discuss her own disability. It is not very relevant to what she does in life, and it is evidenced in her actions. She’s a workforce professional, wife, mother, advocate, and she blushes easily. We are really lucky she chose to be part of the A360 team. ~Susan Webb

How long have you been with Ability360? 13 years

What’s your current job title? Lead Employment Coordinator for the Ticket to Work program

What other job titles have you held, if any? I started in December 2004 as the Program Aide for the Employment department and now I’m the Lead Employment Coordinator

For people outside of the organization, what do you do? At the Ticket to Work program, I help people who receive SSI or SSDI return to work. I screen consumers, host orientations and meet one-on-one to help them through our Employment Network. I assess their skills for the job market and keep track of consumer benefits and earnings when they return to work. I also advocate for them when they run into problems with the SSA.

Is there a work achievement you’re especially proud of? I think being at this organization for 13 years is pretty great. I have definitely grown throughout the years.

What brought you here? After I graduated from ASU, I went to a job fair where I listened to Rhonda Webb’s presentation about returning to work while on benefits. She gave me a pamphlet about Ticket to Work and I came in for a presentation with Susan Webb, who had an open position for Program Aide at the time. I applied and the rest is history.

What do you like most about your work? No two days are the same. I like seeing consumers grow more confident as they return to full-time employment. I can say that every week I continue to learn more about my job and ways to assist others.

Will you share a little something about your family? I am originally from Illinois and moved to Arizona in high school. I met my husband when we were in college and we have been married for 10 years. We have an 8-year-old daughter who keeps us busy and entertained on a daily basis. We bought our first house in April 2015 which is a never-ending project of updates.

Will you tell us about your best day ever? I’ve been blessed to have too many to choose just one.

What are people most surprised to know about you? I’m very friendly and can have a one-on-one conversation with just about anyone but if I am in front of a crowd, no matter how well I know the subject, I forget my own name! I have definitely improved over the years but it still terrifies me.

Is there a movie or TV show you drop everything to watch?
I have loved the movie The Goonies since I was very little and know probably every word.

If a mega-fortune fell into your lap, what would you do?
Travel the world with my family.