Mike Godwin discovered early in life that he had a knack for connecting with people.
VersAbility Resources’ new Chief Human Resource Officer enjoyed recruiting others to join organizations in high school, a talent that continued in college when the psychology major persuaded students to join his fraternity, Delta Upsilon, and Key Club.
“I became a recruiter right out of college,” said Godwin, a graduate of the University of Florida who later earned his MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business in Dublin, Ireland. Early on, he recruited nurses before going on to become an operations manager of a small company.
Over the years, he worked in sales, human resources for a major hospital system and even started his own behavioral health company in New Orleans. His resume includes six years as Vice President of Human Resources at Eggleston Services, a Norfolk-based organization that provides education, training and employment for people with disabilities. He left in 2017 to become Owner and CEO of two consulting companies, but the experience at Eggleston inspired him to do more to help people with disabilities gain employment and live full lives.
That passion is what drives him in his new position at VersAbility.
“Helping people with disabilities has been the most rewarding, fulfilling part of my career,” he said.
Godwin manages a team of eight at the Hampton nonprofit with a focus on hiring those who excel at providing rehabilitative services and support to adults with disabilities.
“I knew if I was going to go back to working for someone else, it had to be with a great company,” Godwin said. “I really have pride in VersAbility. It’s a phenomenal company and mission.”
Both of Godwin’s parents were social workers and a cousin of his has Down syndrome. Godwin often accompanied his father to work as a youngster, where he was exposed to patients in a large psychiatric treatment center.
“At one point, my goal was to be a psychiatrist, but I decided to go the business route,” he said. “That led to recruiting and HR. I was able to see the impact different hospitals had on the community. It’s a fantastic feeling to see that what you do actually means something.”
Godwin has a long list of what he wants to accomplish at VersAbility. Included are:
- A focus on diversity, inclusion and procedural justice. “VersAbility is a big proponent of diversity and inclusion so it’s important to ensure we’re offering opportunities to everybody regardless of race, creed, religion, gender and especially, disability status,” he said.
- Expanding opportunities for veterans “I think it would be awesome to increase opportunities for veterans, especially disabled veterans,” he said.
- Encouraging more people to make a career as a Direct Support Professional (DSP). Those who work as DSPs work one-on-one with people with disabilities to help them become successful at whatever they are doing. “So many people need help in the community and so many people want to help,” Godwin said. “It’s a really rewarding job.”
- Increasing national and international employment opportunities for people with disabilities. “We’d love to see our growth continue in that area because this company does the right thing,” he said. “That means more people with disabilities have the opportunity to get a fair wage and to receive good treatment under fair management.”
Outside of work, Godwin and his wife, Holli, are parents to one son, Desmond, 18 months. Holli’s passion for animal rescue means the family is often fostering multiple dogs at once at their Newport News home. They are also regular SPCA volunteers.