20 Under 40: Meghan McNamara, Horizons
July 27, 2017
Wealth and status don't equal success for Steamboat native, Meghan McNamara, 30.
"My motivation to succeed really comes from a desire to see the people I work for succeed too," she says. "Helping someone to achieve their best is so much more satisfying."
Throughout her life, McNamara has been drawn to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
First, she started volunteering and then worked as a paraprofessional for the transition program Stepping Stones before moving back to Steamboat and starting her career at Horizons. She began as a direct service professional and is now a service coordinator.
"She helps people lead positive lives by focusing on who they are and what's important to and for them," says Dierdre Pepin, resource development coordinator at Horizons Specialized Services. "Her job requires her to know people well, respect them completely, guide them forward and maintain confidential information. While she's compassionate, responsible and trustworthy, she's also a fierce and relentless advocate."
McNamara's belief in Horizons' mission and the population it serves was witnessed this past March when Sue White went to Austria for the Special Olympic Winter World Games. Of her own accord, McNamara saved enough money and traveled to Austria to provide support and encouragement while White brought home the gold.
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"It's challenging, but it's incredibly meaningful work and something I am truly passionate about," McNamara says.
From a young age, it was clear McNamara had natural gift caring for others.
"My family, especially my Grandma Rita, reinforced this notion and helped guide me in that direction," she says. "My work at Horizons enables me to use that gift and empower the individuals we work with to live their best lives."
"She displays such maturity, good judgment and common sense in every situation," says Horizons' Executive Director Susan Mizen. "She's someone you can depend on completely—you don't always see that in a young woman her age."
Mizen commends McNamara for her natural leadership abilities, no matter the weight or seriousness of the situation.
When she's not working, McNamara stays active and connected in Steamboat through Steamboat Dance Theatre, as a volunteer and board member of REPS (Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide) and baking. (She's entered and won three straight Community Holiday Dessert Bake-Off competitions.)
"Meghan's passion and dedication to improving the lives of her clients is unsurpassed," says friend B Torres. "Her advocacy for people with developmental disabilities is astounding. It's rare to find such a deep level of dedication in a young person in our community."