Q&A With Toward Maximum Independence Division Manager Marcus Byrd
Updated: May 14, 2019
(Marcus with his daughters Aasija and Nasiera at her graduation from UC Berkeley)
With just less than two years of employment at Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), Marcus was awarded TMI’s 2017 Supported Employment Division Manager of the Year. TMI's Supported Employment program assists individuals with developmental disabilities to find employment. Marcus is extremely passionate about his work and it shows in the number of TMI clients he has helped to find not only employment, but to pursue their dreams. We love his take on working at TMI and learning about his amazing grandmother!
What interested you about working at TMI?
I was impressed with TMI’s mission and commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities to overcome obstacles to live healthy, happy and productive lives.
Where were you previously working?
Previously I worked for PATH San Diego as a Case Manager supporting homeless individuals struggling to address problems that may have led to their homelessness (medical, mental health, substance abuse, and other related issues). I assisted them with getting connected to community resources that would help them to ultimately secure and maintain permanent housing.
What is your favorite part about working at TMI?
My favorite part about TMI is its culture of caring, cooperation, and teamwork that every employee embraces. It’s a great place to work!
What challenges do you face, your clients face and how have you overcome them?
A primary challenge faced in helping individuals with disabilities find employment is the lack of knowledge and insecurity many employers have about hiring a person with a disability. My job is to educate employers about how our clients can contribute to the success of their companies as hardworking, capable individuals who are committed to being the best employees they can be.
What are your hopes for the future of individuals with developmental disabilities?
My hope for the future is that individuals with developmental disabilities are understood and embraced more by the general public, that they get to experience all that life has to offer and live their most fulfilling life. The work that we do at TMI has a great deal to with making this happen.
(DOR Counselor Nathan Reiman, Marcus and Travis who Marcus assisted with finding employment)
How does making a difference in the lives of our clients make you feel?
The feeling I get in helping our clients is indescribable. I believe it is a primary purpose of human existence, to help our fellow man. I get to fulfill this purpose on a daily basis! I am honored and humbled by the privilege of working with our clients.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like to exercise, travel, and spend quality time with family and friends.
(Marcus and his wife, Ghinah, in Dubai)
Who do you admire and why?
The person I admire the most is my grandmother! She came to this country from the Philippines at the age of 17 after marrying my grandfather who was in the Air Force. She had 13 children and when the oldest was just 17 my grandfather passed away. My grandmother raised 13 children as single parent! She somehow found the superhuman strength to nurture, educate, discipline, and guide not only her 13 children, but us grandchildren as well! Her legacy will live on, always honoring the woman that made us all who we are today!
(Marcus with two of his four children: Nasiera and Cameron graduating from El Cajon High School )
Words to live by?
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you just don’t give up!” - Stephen Hawking
TMI and our clients are lucky to have you, Marcus! The work you are doing to assist our clients is truly transforming lives!
An estimated 1 in 6 people are born with a developmental disability. Just like you they are born with hopes, dreams and the drive to contribute to society. Since 1981 Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has transformed thousands of lives by providing assistance to children and adults with developmental disabilities, giving them the ability to realize their hopes and dreams.