Michael Planz, CEO of Community Living, Inc., answers a few questions about his work at CLI, his passion for the organization’s mission, and what he does in his spare time.
1. How long have you been with CLI? How long have you been CEO?
I have been with CLI for 6.5 years. I will have been the CEO for two years on July 1st.
2. How did you come to work at CLI?
I have worked in the field of developmental disabilities since college, having progressively more responsible positions. In 2009 I was looking for something new and one of the direct support staff here told me that CLI was looking to hire a deputy director who could train with the CEO for when she eventually retired (she had actually retired once and come back). I knew a lot of the staff here and a lot of the people we supported from my previous jobs. I actually went to the CEO’s house, where she was recuperating from knee surgery and interviewed in her living room. She hired me and I have been here ever since.
3. Why is CLI’s mission important to you?
I truly believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can achieve just about anything they want with the proper support. I also believe they should have opportunities to live life to the fullest and access to the same things as everyone else.
4. What is your favorite part of working at CLI?
There are many favorite parts for me. Seeing the success of someone we support, watching staff as they realize they have made a difference in someone’s life, or seeing the appreciation of a family member for the opportunities given to their loved one. I also enjoy the sense of family and community at CLI. Staff all act like family to each other and the organization receives so much support from the community in so many ways – that support truly contributes to our success.
5. How long have you been a Frederick resident?
I have lived in Frederick for 25 years. Although not born and raised here, it is now truly my home. I do however, still root for the Steelers (Redskins are a close second though).
6. What do you like most about living in Frederick?
Everything. There are so many cool things to do throughout the year, downtown is great, the people are incredible, and you can get to anywhere – beaches, mountains, historical sites – in no more than a few hours.
7. What is your favorite summer activity?
My favorite summer activity is spending time with my family. We like to get out and take short day or weekend trips and explore the area.