The 2022 Lifeworks Annual Celebration: An Evening of Impact and Investment

Girl smiling and holding a white dog on a purple background.

On Thursday, April 14th we hosted the 2022 Lifeworks Annual Celebration both in person at the Depot in Minneapolis and online. After hosting a completely virtual event last year, we were excited to offer people the option to attend our celebration in a way that worked best for them.

The event focused on how our evolution as an employment services provider has positively impacted those we serve. By centering our approach on those with lived experience, people with disabilities are progressing in their careers. We learned just how important it is for businesses to join us in listening to the people we serve. When we all listen, we begin to recognize barriers both in the workplace and in the communities where we all live and work. Challenging our beliefs and continuously learning from people with disabilities will ensure that Minnesota becomes a more inclusive place for all people. The stories we all heard at the celebration should serve as a primer for the Lifeworks community to continue removing barriers and reframing our mindset.

Lifeworks President and CEO Gertrude Matemba-Mutasa and Board Chair John Abbott on stage.Along with some incredible stories, we also had the chance to hear from our new President and CEO Gertrude Matemba-Mutasa, welcomed our four new Board Members Caryn Addante, Nimo Ahmed, Bukata Hayes, and Mark Traynor, and gave a warm send off to former President and CEO Jeff Brown who is retiring after five years of service with Lifeworks. Guests had the opportunity to bid on exciting live auction experiences, and on one-of-a-kind artwork created by people with disabilities in our silent art auction.

The program was co-hosted by Raquel Sidie-Wagner, Regional Manager for Employment and Day Support Services, and Josh Mathiowetz, Program Liaison. The livestreamed, virtual event was accompanied by a lively chat hosted by Dylan Croeker, Resource Navigation Coordinator. We want to thank our hosts for creating an engaging and memorable event.

This year, the goal was to raise $200,000 to support our employment services. These funds are key in helping those we serve explore their interests, develop new skills, and start or progress their careers. Our personalized employment services put the individual in the driver’s seat in their career journey. We have leaned into our value of “You Lead the Way – We Listen” to ensure we are honoring choice and allowing those we serve to make decisions that work best for them.

Through our employment services, Lifeworks aims to support 225 new jobs this year (in addition to serving over 600 people overall). These new jobs are for people who are starting out their careers or making a career change. We know that when businesses hire more people with disabilities, we all benefit from the more inclusive workplaces and communities that are created.

We are proud to announce that with over 600 attending online and in person the event raised over $460,000 total! Thank you to everyone who invested in Lifeworks and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Lifeworks is appreciative of each of our supporters for their dedication to our mission and to the community we serve. We want to thank everyone who donated so we can continue to support innovative services.

We are especially grateful to:

  •  Our fantastic sponsors whose commitment to our community helps us remove barriers and increase access to employment opportunities for those we serve.
  • Auction donors Peter and Lynda Michielutti, Atomic Data, and Ecolab for donating the enticing auction items.
  • Our incredible production experts: The Show Syndicate, Captionmax, and a special thanks to Vern Hanson form Custom Visual Services who has helped bring the magic to our events for many years and will be retiring this year.
  • Principal partner and auctioneer, Glen Fladeboe, and his team at Fladeboe Advancement for their guidance, expertise, and many years of passionate support of Lifeworks.
  • The extraordinary volunteers (including ten people from Allianz) who helped us all find our way at The Depot, assisted in the auction and fund-a-need, moved things along at registration and check-out, and made the event a seamless experience.
  • Our onstage ASL interpreter, Patty Gordon, for helping us make this event more accessible.
  • Every member of the Lifeworks Board, whose enthusiastic support and leadership is paving the way for this organization’s future.
  • The wonderful staff of The Depot, including an amazing catering team who helped us all enjoy the celebration safely and comfortably.
  • And finally, each of you. However you participated, and whether or not you made a gift, we appreciate that you joined us, heard our stories, and made a connection.

We can’t wait to see you all again next April!

If you couldn’t attend the event or want to look back at one of your favorite moments from this year’s celebration, you can watch the video of the evening and the three videos we featured at the celebration.