By MICHELLE AINSWORTH, Community Living Huntsville
“We are a powerful community when all of us work together, not just the few.”
Meet Scott Doughty: General Manager at Hidden Valley Resort. Community leader. Employer. Coach. Volunteer. Ambassador for Inclusion.
It only takes a moment of meeting Scott to realize that his energy, enthusiasm and genuine kindness brightens the lives of so many around him.
In respect to his career, he shares: “People are my business. I enjoy socializing and making people feel wanted and accepted. Going above and beyond to make guests and clients want to come back because they’ve had a great experience. That is sheer joy.”
When he shares statements like that it is not just PR talk – it is who he is. He loves connecting with others and he has provided so many with opportunities to grow professionally. He is one of Community Living Huntsville’s (CLH) Ambassadors.
Meaning, he promotes inclusion and inclusive employment and has taken action. He has hosted Community Living Huntsville’s “Celebrating Inclusion Tours,” and will be co- hosting more tours in 2017, he employs people who receive support from CLH’s Supported Employment Program and he advocates for inclusive employment by reaching out to his colleagues and contacts.
“You take strengths and put someone who is a little weaker in that area so they feel confident working with their coworker and learning from them,” he says. “It is a matter of placing people together that the feed off each others’ strengths. Inclusion is a huge thing that you have to have within the workforce- it is the glue for a successful business or workforce.”
Scott has worked in the hospitality industry for over twenty years. Huntsville is his home, but he also spent time working in Bermuda.
He has been a manager at many resorts and throughout the years of work he has leaned that in order to be a successful business it takes a team of people, a team of people of all abilities. It’s important to note Scott’s experiences as he started out as a dishwasher and over the years worked his way up to general management.
He has expressed that he understands from his own experiences that if given a chance and the right supports, people can thrive. Scott recognizes that not all people with developmental disabilities have been given equal opportunities to be gainfully employed and he strives to break down barriers.
“I think hiring people with disabilities is a great thing. It opens the door to people who feel it has been shut to them because of disability,” he says. “You don’t know how well someone can do until you provide that opportunity!”
When asked about the people who have been connected with Hidden Valley Resort through the Community Living Huntsville’s Supported Employment Program, Scott enthusiastically states: “It has been an amazing experience for us to have Blake work here. He is always on time for work, excited to meet new people and be part of the team. We focus on strengths. Disability doesn’t deter him from being able to go out and do the job.”
Community Living Huntsville’s Supported Employment Program works collaboratively with the person who receives support and the employer to ensure success. Scott’s experience with working alongside direct support professionals at CLH has been a positive experience. “It allows people to be included at work,” says Doughty. “Working alongside CLH allows people to feel included in the community and the workforce and the town. It is something that every business needs to be a part of. Our community is not a large community but it does need so support people with disabilities and offer opportunities. We are a powerful community when all of us work together, not just the few.”
We are all human and all deserve to be part of the community – large or small
“At the end of the day we are all human and we need to factor in that people with disabilities are equally important to have within the community, working and volunteering and feeling that they are a part of something,” he says. “We are a small community but a strong community. For me every property within resorts or hotels and every business alongside of us should build this with jobs. It is very important for us to include because it just creates a stronger work atmosphere, bonds and relationships and increases work ethics.”
Scott reflected on some employer’s hesitation to hire people who live with the label of a disability – some employers still feel that people with disabilities cannot do the entire job or cannot be successful at work.
“This is a perception that the employer has to push to the side,” he says. “At the end of the day my employees with disabilities actually resulted in an increase in productivity of all the staff. It has also increased the level of service the staff provide – because they feed off the positive vibe and feeling from each other. The interaction that they get with the staff and with their guests is amazing. You also see progress. People who used to be able to only clean 3 rooms are now able to do 8 in a short time. The facts and figures speak for itself. You don’t hear negative talk back or feedback from people who I have hired- It is unbelievable to see how well they work. Increases business profits, and morale and attitudes. The guests at my resort enjoy their holiday alongside my staff and the first impressions mean everything.”
Scott also recognizes that hiring people who live with the label of a developmental disability is also not an act of charity. Far from it.
“This is never an act of charity or doing a favor,” he says. “I go into this (hiring people with disabilities) knowing that people can do the job. If employers hire because they think they are doing someone a favor they are actually trying to get out of not having to fully accept people within the community. You have to open the door first and let people in. They will succeed.”
Speaking of success, Scott stresses that he could not be as successful as he is in all his endeavors and could not do the work he does as an Ambassador for Inclusion if it were not for the people he works with and the owners of Hidden Valley.
“I could not do the work I do without the support and guidance of the three owners,” says Doughty. “I am so happy to be working with Paul Evans, Paul Rice and John Burnside, who are locals. I have learned a lot from them who give back to the community over and over and over again. We open the doors to the community through the contributions we make – we sponsor families for churches for example, we purchase items for families at Christmas to help families in need, we have hosted the Salvation Army Toy Drive, we sponsor sports teams, we support the Table Soup Kitchen and the Table Food Bank and more. The resort gives a lot back to the community.”
In addition to being a General Manager of a well sought after resort, Scott has spent hundreds of hours volunteering his time to coach children in hockey, baseball and soccer. Inclusion and teamwork are strong messages and lessons that he teaches the children he coaches. “For myself I am sports oriented kind of person,” he says. “I have been coaching hockey for about 7-8 years. I was assisting with baseball, I coach soccer. Coaching has always come natural for me because I always want to see people succeed in life whether it is at work, in sports and in their personal life. Encouraging teamwork is important, and to focus on strengths.”
Andrea Cushman, parent of a child who was coached by Scott, shared: “I think Scott is a phenomenal person, we met him 2 years ago and he was my son’s hockey coach. Scott makes it fun; he enjoys the kids as much as they enjoy him. He wants them to find the passion in what they’re doing and makes it fun for them. He gets to know each person and figures out what the right way to teach them and play on their strengths not their weaknesses. My son has an auditory processing disorder and sometimes needs people around him to slow down and if there is too much commotion he needs someone to come over and give him a little more direction and take the pace back and Scott is always willing to work on that and with the other kids and promotes teamwork. The kids always go away feeling happy like they did their best. He is a kind, caring person and he goes above and beyond- and he is just a volunteer, it’s not like he gets paid to coach and he does so much. Also, I have seen Scott at work at Hidden Valley and he is always taking care of his guests and I don’t know how he does it honestly, he does so much.”
Whether it be promoting teamwork through the work he does as a General Manager at Hidden Valley, hosting and promoting Celebrating Inclusion Tours at Community Living Huntsville, volunteering his time to coach kids in various sports teams, or giving back to the community, Scott enthusiastically creates positive change for so many.
Teamwork. Passion. Enthusiasm. Positive Energy. Ambassador for Inclusion.Valuable Asset to the Huntsville community. Scott Doughty encompasses all of this.
We thank Scott for being a strong leader in our community. Together, we are better.