A Board Member Story: Brian Burgoyne
Brian Burgoyne joined the Board
of Residence XII in 2003. An Area
Retail Sales Manager for Cingular (now AT&T), he has been in upper management for 20 years and has witnessed firsthand the effects of addiction in the workplace. He has also seen the power of recovery.
“I’ve had employees go through Residence XII and come back as truly outstanding employees,” says Brian. “When I was invited to tour the facility as a prospective Board Member, it was the Food Service Manager, Peggy Chow, who really solidified for me the amazing work that was being done at Residence XII. She told me that when the women first came into the dining room they looked so sad and scared. But by the time they were ready to leave they looked truly happy and healthy. That hit me hard. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Brian also supports the women’s-only facility because he believes that gender specific treatment makes sense. “If women are with men in treatment, I can only imagine how hard it would be to be open and honest. It’s the same with men. Both sexes need an environment where they can feel safe to open up.”
When it comes to addiction in the workplace, Brian has seen how it dramatically changes people. He’s noticed a drop in attendance, a rise in tardiness and a decline in not only personal morale but overall morale. He feels strongly that as a manager, it is his responsibility to make sure that all employees have a safe and healthy environment in which to work. Ignoring the problem of addiction at work, he believes, can only make it worse.
At AT&T, management understands that addiction is a disease, much like diabetes or other medical conditions, and that with help their employees can recover. As part of their benefits package they have included an EAP program (Employee Assistance Professional). The program provides assistance to employees in need of help. It also shows that AT&T cares about their employee’s health and welfare.
“We talk a lot about the program and let our employees know it is available,” says Brian. “Our EAPs don’t even inform the managers so it gives an opportunity for complete privacy. We also have a no retaliation policy. If any of our employees are in treatment, we provide short-term and long-term disability and hold their jobs until they can come back.”
When they do come back, Brian notes that employees who have completed treatment are often some of the best employees to manage. “They work very hard,” says Brian. “They have a high level of commitment and help morale because of their positive attitude. The way I look at it, it’s a win-win for the employee and the employer.”
Brian hopes that by sitting on the Board of Residence XII he can be an advocate for supporting addiction treatment and recovery in the workplace. He can help other managers understand that addiction is a disease and that if addressed the results can be powerful. “I believe everyone deserves a second chance,” says Brian. “I also believe that as a business professional it is my responsibility to provide it. For me, there’s professional and personal satisfaction in that.”