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IDB Hires New Chief Information Officer

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      I would like to introduce myself as the new Chief Information Officer for the Iowa Department for the Blind. I am Connie Mendenhall, I was raised in Des Moines, graduated from Des Moines East High School, attended Des Moines Community College where I received and Associates in Science Degree with a Paralegal Certification.
      Prior to accepting the position of Chief Information Officer, I most recently worked as an Independent Living Rehabilitation Teacher for the Iowa Department for the Blind. As an Independent Living Rehabilitation teacher most often my clients were people who were facing blindness for the first time in their lives. I encouraged them to learn the non-visual skills needed to continue living independently. Along with teaching the non-visual skills to maintain independence I taught my clients to advocate for themselves and maintain the highest quality of life possible. I worked with the LEAP apartment staff and students over the summer in the mornings working with the kids to get their day started.
      Prior to working for the Iowa Department for the Blind I was employed by Merchants Bonding Company for 13 years. I worked in the area of Compliance as a Quality Assurance Specialist, specializing in policy and procedure writing and dissemination. I was the liaison between the IT departments and the system end users for process improvement and redesign. My duties as the quality insurance tester included reporting to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee results and recommendation findings of testing. Prior to Merchants Bonding Company I worked in different areas of insurance, reviewing policies for customers, as an underwriter and a customer service person. Every area of insurance required clear, accurate and concise written and verbal communication. I bring a wide communication skill set to the Iowa Department for the Blind.
      Outside of work I have been a long time member of the Benevolent Patriotic Order of DOES #25 a nationwide chartered benevolent organization. I served a 4 year term to become President of the Des Moines drove #25. As with any charitable organization this involved hosting and organizing an annual District meeting, overseeing each of the various committees, promoting, organizing and hosting charity events. I have been a long-time volunteer for Park Avenue Elementary school in the classroom, fun nights, field days and working with a neighboring business to raise money to adopt families at Christmas.
      I attended the Iowa Blindness Empowerment and Independence Center in 2019. Much like many of my clients when I was faced with my sudden loss of sight, I thought my life would never be the same. My personal trip through the Iowa Blindness Empowerment and Independence Center presented me with an opportunity to start a new career path. In my position as an Independent Living Rehabilitation Teacher I began making a difference in people’s lives. My opportunity to work with the LEAP students over the summer reinforced my belief that no Iowan, of any age, quality of life should be diminished simply because they cannot see.
      We now have a multitude of communication platforms available to us, as an agency we can reach out to every area of the state. As the Chief Information Officer my personal goal is to provide valuable, concise and informative information to all internal and external consumers in a format that is accessible to everyone.