Champion April Heckard is an exceptional Employment Consultant and IPS community leader

May 23, 2023

Champion of the Month April Heckard smiles in front of a blue and orange wall.

Champion of the Month, April Heckard, joined our Team at Rise about four and a half years ago as an Employment Consultant. She brings over a decade of experience in Day Training and Habilitation (DTH) and job coaching work, as well as experience in a variety of other industries.

April is an exceptional Employment Consultant who is very dedicated to her work. She shares, “I enjoy working with people, supporting them with supporting themselves.” The flexibility and autonomy of her role is a plus for her, allowing her to make decisions about the support she provides, and ultimately, make an even bigger difference. “I enjoy encouraging people to believe in themselves.”

April’s team recognizes her excellence in her role and the way she challenges herself to be an industry leader outside of her time with Rise. “April is leading the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Specialist Community of Practice. She volunteered for this task because she wants to challenge and develop herself and because she wants to help improve the greater IPS community,” a colleague shares. “In addition to her excellent work with our partners, our community, and our team, April has done great work with the people she supports.”

The leadership and determination that April embodies has a big impact, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the clinic where she works has rebuilt their caseloads and systems, a team member shares that “April has been active in developing a strong working relationship with clinicians and has tripled her caseload.” Amidst changes in leadership and staffing at her site, April “has been a strong resource to her new team members as they are learning their jobs and serving their people.”

When asked what she’s most proud of, April doesn’t hesitate. “I’m most proud of my children and being a mother,” she says. “I am proud of overcoming some of my own barriers and embracing and loving who I am.”

Outside of work, April can be found spending time with her family or chasing her next adventure. “I enjoy live music, dancing, and good food. I absolutely love creating memories with my family and friends as well as relaxing on my hammock in front of a fire.”