Retirement celebration held for CEO of Communitas
Teamwork takes commitment. It’s a lesson Steve Thiessen has learned – and lived – for over three decades with Communitas Supportive Care Services.
Thiessen, the chief executive officer of Communitas, retired on Feb. 28 after 30 years of service with the organization.
Communitas is a provincial social service agency based in Abbotsford that provides support for people living with a disability.
Services include full-time residential care, integration of people living with a disability into community-based programs and employment, and respite care.
As CEO, Thiessen led Communitas into providing a wide range of services aimed at building an inclusive community and advocating for individuals living with a disability.
Under Thiessen’s leadership, the agency (formerly MCC Supportive Care Services) grew from 10 staff in the early 1980s to more than 400 today, many working in Abbotsford.
“Steve has kept bringing people around him, to collaborate, to bring expertise,” said Eugene Klassen, Communitas chief financial officer. “He sees the best in people before drawing limits. This has allowed us to build and grow.”
At the celebration on Feb. 28, Thiessen was honored by colleagues and community partners for the contributions made over his career.
“Steve is outstanding in a field of outstanding people,” said Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen.
Guests recalled how Thiessen’s teamwork philosophy of leadership, as well as his gentle, respectful approach to the people Communitas serves, have made a difference in the community.
“His open door attested to his readiness, willingness, and openness for communication,” said Marlyce Friesen, chair of the Communitas board of directors.
Karyn Santiago has been named the agency’s new CEO. She has experience in local and international community development. “Steve has led the way in advocating for individuals living with disabilities,” Santiago said. “I am excited to contribute to Communitas and the work Steve has been a part of.”