Remembering Don Winkler

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Volume 9, Issue 1
February 2020

By Nancy Hennessy

Don Winkler passed away on October 12, 2019.  Don had a distinguished career as an electronics design engineer, bank CEO, financial Services CEO, global manufacturing executive, author, and lecturer. He was a natural leader and a man of many accomplishments. Don learned that he had dyslexia while in college; subsequently, he became a national spokesperson for individuals with learning differences. He was committed to serving others and held positions on multiple professional and civic organizations’ boards, including The International Dyslexia Association (1999-2003).

Don’s expertise as a member of IDA’s Finance and Marketing Committees was invaluable. However, his greatest contribution was his knowledge of strategic planning. Don is the author of Breakthrough Leadership, published in 2003, and the book became a blueprint for determining IDA’s future.  Over four years, he shepherded IDA through visioning and planning sessions providing direction and resources. These strategic planning opportunities resulted in the development of IDA’s mission statement, core values, and ultimately, an increase in quality services for IDA’s members.

My IDA colleagues and I, who served with Don on the IDA Board of Directors, were inspired by his leadership and remain grateful for his friendship and all he taught us.


Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed., LDT-C, educational consultant and Past President of the International Dyslexia Association, is an experienced teacher and administrator. She has designed and delivered keynote addresses, virtual and live workshops and training courses for educators. Nancy co-authored Module 6 of LETRS, Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension (2ndedition) and authored the chapter, Working with Word Meaning: Vocabulary Instruction, in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Skills (4th edition).  She was the recipient of IDA’s Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.


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