For 34 years, Becky Markley has worked to improve the lives of people facing barriers – disabilities, lack of education, no work experience – in her role at Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana. Markley has devoted her entire career to helping people live their fullest life.
Every day is different for Markley, and even after 34 years, she says it doesn’t feel like work. “It’s never a drudge to get up and go to work,” Markley remarked. “I love what I do, I love the people I work with.”
Working with individuals having a variety of disabilities or challenges, Markley is relentless in finding ways to increase her employees’ efficiency, lessen pain and reduce barriers. One of her most memorable moments involved a deaf and visually impaired woman, who didn’t use sign language, who was able to finally communicate two small but personal words after years of practice.
“It was the first real communication we’d had with her,” said Markley. “Sometimes it seems so small, but it was a huge step for her. Those things I find really heartwarming – to see someone reach such a milestone.” Markley added that moments like this give her a lot of both personal enjoyment and job satisfaction.
Markley’s devotion to her employees, especially people with disabilities, is evident. Her teammates refer to her as the honorary engineer for her innovative and creative adaptations and inventions that make tasks faster, safer and easier. She’s used everything from shelf liners to stop things from sliding, to her personal crochet hooks to help pull wires. Markley also initiated a partnership with IU School of Physical Therapy to give her employees personalized stretches and exercises to increase their safety and reduce pain.
“It’s a good feeling. It’s always a good feeling,” said Markley. “Sometimes you struggle through the day and the challenges seem overwhelming. But when you take stock of the things you have accomplished to help someone, you can feel proud and satisfied.”
Markley would love to see Central Indiana full of peace and harmony and a place, “where we can celebrate our commonness and embrace our diversities.” It’s a goal Markley works towards each and every day.