MIAMI (July 24, 2015) – Holland & Knight employee Barbara Torres was honored with the prestigious "Best Buddies Jobs Employee of the Year Award" last weekend at the 26th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference. The annual conference brought together more than 2,100 student leaders, volunteers and staff from Best Buddies’ worldwide programs at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Ms. Torres, who has worked in the office services department of Holland & Knight’s Miami office for 21 years, was honored for her dedication and exemplary work ethic. She is the longest-term Best Buddies employee in the world.
During her acceptance speech Ms. Torres commented, "Having a great job is an award itself."
Holland & Knight partner Bob Friedman is a member of the board of directors of Best Buddies International and oversees the firm’s overall participation in the Best Buddies Jobs Program. The firm currently employs eight Best Buddies Jobs Program participants in various offices throughout the U.S. Additionally, several Holland & Knight attorneys and staff members hold local board positions in Best Buddies chapters.
"The impact Barbara has had on our workplace is remarkable," said Mr. Friedman. "First, she has changed the attitudes of our nondisabled employees toward people with disabilities generally. Many people believe that a person with an intellectual disability is unable to work, let alone be able to work unsupervised, in a large office. Barbara has helped smash that notion."
"We are so proud of Barbara and all of her hard work at Holland & Knight over the past 20 years. She has proven that people with IDD are incredibly talented, loyal, hard-working and driven individuals who have the ability to contribute to the workplace," said Anthony K. Shriver, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International. "Additionally, we are incredibly grateful for Holland & Knight's outstanding generosity and visionary leadership in employing individuals with intellectual disabilities and contributing to a more inclusive work force."
Pictured: Barbie Torres, Bob Friedman, Otis Brown and Cristen Maxwell at the 2015 Best Buddies Leadership Conference
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