Work Opportunities Unlimited has recently promoted Iskedar Ayalew to Director in the Southern Maryland/Washington D.C. area. As Director, she ensures that the Career Resource Specialist team is functioning effectively and providing exceptional client service. She also focuses on the goals for the team and for each Career Resource Specialist (CRS) in the office, making sure they achieve job development and revenue goals, as well as pre-set personal objectives.
In her new role, Iskedar oversees communication with referring counselors from different agencies to make sure Work Opportunities Unlimited is providing services of the highest quality. She also trains team members on various tasks to help them succeed, learn and grow. In addition to her managerial responsibilities, Iskedar works with her own caseload, utilizing her extensive job development skills to make placements herself.
Iskedar started working with Work Opportunities Unlimited in September, 2010 as a CRS, and due to her hard work, commitment to client service and workplace successes, she was promoted to team leader, then Director-in-Training and, most recently, to Director.
Since her start date, Iskedar has placed 90 customers in jobs, and last year she finished in fourth place overall for company placements. Additionally, she won a Success at Work Award last year for demonstrating exemplary leadership over the course of an extended period when her Director was on an extended leave of absence.
Her supervisors and colleagues praise Iskedar’s positive attitude, ability to problem-solve, willingness to embrace the challenges that come her way, and her commitment to providing outstanding client service.
“Iskedar is quick, she identifies problems and solutions, responds well to any requests, communicates effectively, is very responsive, and has never failed to follow through. She has a great track record with client services, and has always been a leader with job placement. She has experience working with all of the populations we serve in Maryland, and she has built strong relationships with our three main referral services in Maryland and DC, including the Developmental Disability Administration (DDA), Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS),” said Ryan P. Mountain, Vice President, Work Opportunities Unlimited. “We’re thrilled to give her the promotion that she truly deserved.”
Work Opportunities Unlimited has been successful in Maryland and Washington, DC, and the team continues to expand. When Iskedar started with the organization in 2010, they had only eight team members in the Maryland office. Now, three years later, they’ve doubled to 16 team members, with three Directors, which allows them to increase the number of clients they serve.
“We continually set high goals and we always make sure to achieve them. When WOU reached the 1,000th client placement mark at the end of FY12, the 1,000th placement came from our Maryland South team. In September 2013, Maryland South achieved the highest monthly client placement number in Work Opportunities Unlimited’s history, with a total of 31 placements in just 30 days! We followed that up with 27 placements in October 2013,” Iskedar explained. “I believe the drive of our team and the ability to work with one another in sharing job leads, assisting with client coverage and the willingness to place each other’s clients allows our team to work best as a unit.”
Since the Maryland/DC territory is so large – and they serve so many clients there – Iskedar works collaboratively with fellow Directors Salsi Mane and Althea Azu.
Iskedar loves the fast-paced, unpredictable work environment, and raves about her “upbeat” colleagues. She also enjoys working with clients and placing them into appropriate, fulfilling job opportunities.
“There’s a lot of internal reward that comes from being able to change the lives of the people I am working for,” Iskedar explained.
Prior to joining the Work Opportunities Unlimited team, Iskedar was a full-time student at the University of Maryland – College Park. While in school, she worked as a summer and after-school program coordinator for elementary students in DC-area schools. She also worked as a monitor overlooking court-ordered parent-child visitation with The Children’s Rights Council.
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Iskedar studied there until 8th grade, with the exception of third grade, which she attended in Maryland. She moved to Maryland permanently in 2001. As someone who loves to travel, she participated in a study abroad program at the University of London in 2008. She currently resides in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.
In her spare time, Iskedar loves to cook for family and friends and play with her two dogs, Prince and Bentley.