Suzanne Romaine is director of development at One Step Beyond

Suzanne Romaine is One Step Beyond’s director of development. She is passionate about the work the nonprofit organization does for the community. (Submitted)

One Step Beyond, a leading provider of comprehensive programming and services for adults who have intellectual disabilities in the Valley, has hired Suzanne Romaine to serve as its director of development.

Arizona locations are in Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale and Surprise, and a California location is in San Carlos.

“It’s an organization that does work that I really care about, and it’s doing a really good job with its mission,” Romaine said.

Romaine is brand new to One Step Beyond but has nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit industry.

“Suzanne’s expertise in fundraising combined with her track record of success will be a tremendous asset to our organization,” One Step Beyond CEO Madison Blanton said. “Her skills will be critical in developing One Step Beyond fundraising efforts as we look towards a future filled with new challenges and opportunities.”

Romaine was actually working for San Francisco-based Development for Access Institute for Psychological Services as the company’s director. She had no idea One Step Beyond existed prior to being reached out to through a consultant.

When she did research to see what the nonprofit was about, she knew she had a really meaningful opportunity on her hands.

“I was not actively looking for a position,” Romaine said. “Then, I looked at the company and looked at what they were doing and had a few conversations with people there. And that’s really what made me want to work with them.

“It’s just a really amazing group of people that are really dedicated to the work they’re doing. The more I spent time with them, the more that I wanted to be part of that group.”

Romaine, who officially took over as director of development in August 2022, is responsible for planning and implementing diverse fundraising programs to ensure One Step Beyond’s success and sustainability. She leads the fundraising and communications teams to raise funds for private revenue sources.

“There’s a part of our organization that comes from various government sources, but we do a lot more than what you can do when you have funding from the government,” Romaine said. “That is what makes us better than others that are in the same space that are providing services to adults with intellectual disabilities. So, by these fundraising activities, we are going way above and beyond in our programming so the people that we serve are having an experience here that is really focused on their own needs so they can feel fulfilled as a human being.”

“It’s really a great job. Honestly, fundraising in general is a great job. But it’s really great when you can apply your work in a way that makes a real difference.”

Another big attraction to the job for Romaine was the ability to operate out of both Arizona and California.

“I think there’s a lot of potential for growth at the location out here (in California),” she said. “But Arizona is really a much larger part of our program. We serve about 600 people in total, and approximately 500 of those are in Arizona.”

Romaine maintains that One Step Beyond will always have the potential for growth. For her, a need for the organization’s services “exists everywhere.”

“I want One Step Beyond to exist in everyone’s community,” Romaine said. “Every time the organization has expanded has been because the community is actively asking us to.”

One Step Beyond has 24 different programs benefiting the people it serves, but the employment program is the one Romaine is the most excited to work with. She loves to see the joy on the faces of someone getting a paycheck, as well as a company being presently surprised with the work ethic of the employees One Step Beyond connects them with.

Providing an avenue to those who wouldn’t otherwise have it due to their own individual limitations is worthwhile work for Romaine.

“Then they learn about (working) out there in a world with a job making the same as everyone else makes in that business,” Romaine said. “And helping to make that business successful is what every human being wants, and it’s what every human being should have. And it just makes my heart explode with happiness when I see that.”

A huge event that Romaine will be working on for the next six to eight months is an event the organization is putting together for Saturday, Oct. 7, at The Duce in Phoenix.

With this year being One Step Beyond’s 20th anniversary, Romaine said the event is going to be a big deal.

“This event will be larger than any we’ve done in the past because there’s a big community aspect to it,” she said. “We’ll be inviting everybody from our program. … We really also just want the community to get to know us and come see the work that we’re doing, and hopefully invite us and support us and be there for us, because we really can do much more.”