Phillip’s Flowers & Gifts in Westmont Joins the Inclusion Revolution

In of Support Co-Worker, Friend, and Special Olympics Illinois Athlete, Michele Forzley

Michele Forzley began her journey with Special Olympics Illinois when she was in junior high, 20 years ago. She began competing with Special Olympics Illinois through SEASPAR. She competes in softball, volleyball, basketball, golf, bowling, and equestrian with the Ray Gram Association.

Michele is not only a multiple sports athlete; she is driven in her work ethic. No task is too small for Michele; she puts her whole heart and soul into a project and will not stop until it is just right.

Not too long after she began competing with Special Olympics Illinois, Michele began working at Phillip’s Flowers in Westmont.

“Michele Forzley is truly one of kind. She has worked at Phillip’s Flowers for 14 years and plans to continue working there for years to come,” said co-worker and job coach, Kathy Wissmiller.

Michele works at Phillip’s three days a week. Her typical day at the flower shop begins when she punches in. As Michele says, “I say hello to everyone when I walk in.” After saying hello, she receives her assignments for that day.

When Michele first began working at Philips she started out in the payroll division, from there on, she worked her way to many other positions until she found a match. Michele is currently on the production team, here she completes various jobs that help make the finished flower arrangement an amazing final product.

Unified, Michele and Phillip’s Flowers took part in the 50th Anniversary Celebration for Special Olympics. Their role was none other than to provide the flower arrangements for a VIP reception during the celebration.

They created 24 centerpieces, one more beautiful than the next. Michele and Phillip’s Flowers handcrafted each vase with decorations and garnishes. Each arrangement had a special note with a little information about Michele and her many years of employment at Phillip’s Flowers.

This process was extremely meaningful for Michele; it allowed her to display her creativity in the workplace. For Phillip’s, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the company could not pass that up.

Michele could not have done this without the help of her job coach, Kathy Wissmiller. Kathy has been Michele’s job coach for 4 years and is production team with Michele. As a job coach, Kathy has worked with Michele on developing different skills (i.e. learning how to design arrangements and prepping the arrangement bags).

Kathy and Michele are quite the pair. They work off each other’s strengths to help enhance their work. “Everything Michele does she does 100%. Her personality lights up the room when she walks in and wants to keep learning and learning. We are so grateful to have her as not only a co-worker but also a friend,” Kathy stated with excitement.

Phillip’s Flowers has worked to generate a unified environment for their employees on all fronts. The company takes pride in their employees as they do their work.

“I have a family with Special Olympics, and I have a family with Phillip’s Flowers,” said Michele Forzley.