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Talent Tribute: Cori Dunn

Our Talent Tribute Monthly Feature is designed to celebrate the phenomenal staff that serve our Members.

When Cori Dunn was first introduced to VALLEYLIFE by her prom date, she had no idea just how big of an impact it would have on her life. What started as a high school starter job as a DSP I to hold her over until she could reach her goal of becoming an elementary school teacher evolved into a 26-year-long career that has made a lasting impact on her and her family. Throughout her time at VALLEYLIFE, Cori has seen some major growth within her career, becoming a Lead Tech for Marconi, a supervisor at Alex, and even working in the IT department before settling into her current role as a Residential Senior Program Manager. She has also played a role in overseeing Member records and residential scheduling.

Although she had never initially pictured herself pursuing a career working with individuals with disabilities, Cori grew up helping to support local children with Down Syndrome within her neighborhood and church. In addition, she also learned a lot about living with a disability from her Aunt, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Another prominent role model in her life that helped shape her outlook was her 6th-grade teacher, who taught her that “There are no disabilities, only different abilities.”

Since joining the VALLEYLIFE family, Cori has continued to grow closer and closer to her Members, even getting ordained in hopes of officiating the wedding between two former Alex Members. When she had her son in 2009, some of the first people brought him to meet were her Members, which established an extra special bond between them.

Cori was born and raised in Phoenix and enjoys traveling, camping, fishing, and geocaching with her now 15-year-old son outside of work. She loves any opportunity she has to help others and also dedicates time to taking care of her parents. 

We asked Cori a few questions to learn more about her experience at VALLEYLIFE.

1. How would you describe your ideal day at VALLEYLIFE?

My Ideal Day at VALLEYLIFE would be one where all my assignments are done, all my Members are cared for and all their needs are met.


2. What has your time at VALLEYLIFE taught you over the years?

 My time at VALLEYLIFE has taught me to accept change. In the past, I was always good with the status quo. I was always good at just doing my thing of coming in, doing my job, and then going home but you’ve got to expect the unexpected and be okay with things changing because nothing ever stays the same, especially in this position. You’re never going to have the same day twice.


3. Can you tell us what you enjoy most about interacting with Members?

 What I enjoy most about interacting with Members is their smiles, their laughter, and knowing that you’re fulfilling with them something that makes them happy. It can be as simple as going to the store or pulling up into the driveway. For example, I was at Desert Cove this morning and a Member was looking outside at my car and got so excited to see my car.


4. What skills or qualities do you think are most important for success in your position?

 I tell all my staff that there are only two things you cannot teach: You cannot teach someone to care and you cannot teach common sense. This field is not meant for those who don’t care. You can learn how to be a good caregiver, and you can learn any part of this job but if you don’t care, it doesn’t work.


5. Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish or learn in your future at VALLEYLIFE?

 My goal for my future at VALLEYLIFE is to keep the Members in their homes with nursing-supported group homes. My other thing is that I want to show the world that just because someone has a disability or can’t do certain things that they used to do doesn’t mean they don’t have a good quality of life. I want to give the Member the best quality of life possible and nursing-supported group homes will help us get there.

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