Resident finds right career fit at school for autistic kids - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Resident finds right career fit at school for autistic kids

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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:15 am

Throughout her life, Ahwatukee resident Robin Rollando knew she wanted a career that would be impactful to the people she came across.

She believes she’s found the perfect career path as the chief operating officer for Pieceful Solutions in Chandler, a K-12 school that focuses on children with autism.

The position fits well with Rollando because of her own experience with autism; her son, Anthony, is autistic.

“It was difficult for me at times raising him; I was a single parent and trying to figure things out along the way,” she said.

Her duties as chief operating officer will consist of working on the development practices for Pieceful Solutions, and also being a support system for families.

“I’ll be sharing my knowledge with parents, sharing my experience, sharing Anthony’s success and giving parents hope,” Rollando said.

Throughout Rollando’s career, she has helped businesses such as AmBath/ReBath and Patterson Sports Ventures with their revenue growth.

She was vice president of AmBath/ReBath, where she said the workload was constant.

“The job was 24/7,” she said. “I knew that I was on this journey to figure out that I wanted to do something that mattered.”

Three years ago, Rollando went on to find different pastures from her vice president role and took time off for herself and her family.

She traveled with her children for nearly six months, and later decided to take a life-coaching certification class.

“My goal with that was to be a better me and a better person no matter what I ended up doing with it,” she said.

She began working with high school students, helping them with their college review process.

She said she enjoyed helping each student find their right place in life.

“I did that for about a year with coaching the kids and helping them put the next steps into their future,” Rollando said. “I did a lot of career building and career exploration with them, and working one-on-one with the individuals finding what their plan was and how we were going to go to achieve it.”

Although Rollando helped each student she came across, she said she wanted to do more.

However, she was stuck at a bit of a standstill when she suffered a stroke two years ago.

It was something that came “out of the blue,” but instead of being a crippling experience, Rollando said it put things in perspective.

She always knew that she wanted to do something that mattered, and she knew she wasn’t doing something that mattered yet, Rollando said.

She spoke with Pieceful Solutions’ owner Kami Cothrun, and told her she wanted a career that would have an impact on others.

Rollando and Cothrun have had a special bond throughout the years starting when Cothrun was Anthony’s habilitation and respite provider when he was 4 years old.

“I worked with them for several years. I took her family to San Diego, took them on a plane and was a part of their family,” Cothrun said.

Cothrun created Pieceful Solutions in 2008 with six students enrolled, and over the years, she has had nearly 200 students and campuses located in Chandler and Mesa.

Cothrun said Rollando has a lot to offer to the school with her expertise in business and having a child with autism.

“It’s a good partnership for the schools and for everybody,” Cothrun said. “She has the parent perspective; she knows what parents go through, she knows the struggles, the heartbreaks and the triumphs.

Having her insight and her vested interest in what we have to provide for students is huge. … she’s much more than operations.”

Rollando said she’s eager to help out at Pieceful Solutions.

“I’m looking forward to making a difference to the parents and the kids,” she said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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