2021 DSAIA Presenters

You've seen the amazing content in the online program but now, check out the presenters who have agreed to share their wisdom with you:

(listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Sheryl Arno Sheryl Arno has been in the field of developmental disabilities for 29 years. While she started working in the field with children, she has spent most of her career focusing on the transition to adulthood and adult life. Sheryl was the creator of the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education movement in Georgia. She started with Kennesaw State University and now there are 8 programs around the state. Currently Sheryl is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. She has been in this role for 4 years and under her guidance, DSAA now supports individuals with Down syndrome throughout their lifespan. While Sheryl is very busy with her work, one of her most special jobs, she she oversees the supports for her best friend/mentor's daughter. Lori is 49 years old, has been married for 17 years, and works at Children’s Healthcare. Lori has Down syndrome!
Jessica Avila Jessica Avila, MSW, LICSW, is the Diversity Outreach Coordinator with the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. Jessica ensures that MDSC is welcoming, engaging, and accessible to all families of diverse backgrounds. As a woman of color, she engages with families and community partners, to ensure their voices are heard and that their needs are being met. Jessica has worked with a variety of individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds in multiple settings. She is a mom to two wonderful boys, her oldest son Gabriel and her youngest son Jacob, who has Down syndrome.
Heather Barnes Heather Barnes has a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and originally began her career as a practicing clinician. For the last 16 years, Heather has held various management roles within nonprofits and has worked with the disability community for the last 14 years. Prior to joining the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida as its executive director in 2020, Heather spent the last 13 years working for Best Buddies, another nonprofit that provides various programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Nicole Baumer Dr. Nicole Baumer is a neurodevelopmental disabilities pediatrician/ child neurologist at Boston Children's Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Baumer completed her undergraduate studies in biology and psychology at Skidmore College. She received her Medical Degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School. She trained in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed a fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Baumer also has a Master's in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. In January 2015, Dr. Baumer became Co-Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children's, where she has been seeing patients since 2011.
Brian Chicoine Brian Chicoine is Medical Director and co-founder of the Adult Down Syndrome Center in Park Ridge, IL, serving the health and psychosocial needs of more than 6,000 adolescents and adults with Down syndrome since its inception in 1992. He graduated from Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and completed his Family Medicine residency at Lutheran General Hospital. He co-authored two books, Mental Wellness of Adults with Down Syndrome, and The Guide to Good Health for Teens and Adults with Down Syndrome. Dr. Chicoine has provided care for adults with intellectual disabilities for over 30 years and has presented/written extensively on caring for adults with Down syndrome. He is a board member of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group, and an author on the GLOBAL Guidelines.
Melissa Crum Dr. Melissa Crum is an artist, author, researcher, and founder of Mosaic Education Network, LLC. She leads a consulting company that infuses the arts, research, storytelling and critical thinking into professional development, community building and curriculum development. Dr. Crum works with her team of experts to be engaging and collaborative resources to schools, nonprofits, museums and companies helping them gauge the collective impact of our conscious and unconscious biases to reach diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals. Her workshops focus on workplace culture development so that your educators, leadership, staff, and board members gain the skills to implement inclusive and equitable practices. She helps you investigate the policies you create and enforce, the workplace and learning culture you support, and the types of relationships you choose to form. You are then able to make direct connections to large systemic patterns in and outside of your industry. She has facilitated training for hundreds of participants across the United States that creates a non-judgmental refreshingly honest look at our privileges. She has also published various academic articles that detail strategies to help you become informed of and feel secure about using everyday practical applications of DEI strategies to positively impact your work and learning environment. To make this happen she creates a "brave space" where you can ask the tough questions, admit faults and celebrate successes. Her national and international experiences have allowed her to help you make social change from your desk, to your living room and beyond.
Sarah Cullen Sarah Cullen has served as the Family Support Director for the MA Down Syndrome Congress for 15 years. She leads an amazing team of professionally trained volunteers in the nationally recognized MDSC Parents First Call program, supporting over 170 new and expectant families each year. Sarah and her husband have three beautiful children, including Matthew, who is 24 and has Down syndrome.
Adrian Forsythe Adrian Forsythe is founder of Empathy321 which supports development of self-advocacy skills & empowerment, & promotes full community inclusion for people with Down syndrome.
Mary-Frances Garber Mary-Frances Garber, is a board certified, licensed genetic counselor, with a private practice, Listening, Reflecting, Healing, where she provides supportive genetic counseling and bereavement services. Her belief is that individuals and families need a place to process their emotions associated with their genetic issues. In addition to this, Ms. Garber works as a per diem prenatal genetic counselor in the Maternal Fetal Medicine department at Newton Wellesley Hospital and as a consultant with Genome Medical. She has also consulted with MDSC for ten years providing training for First Call parents and facilitating a variety of support groups.
Bryn Gelaro Bryn Gelaro joined the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in 2015 and serves as the Director of Adult Initiatives and Special Projects. She is a Licensed Social Worker with a background in behavioral health for adults with Down syndrome. Her work includes furthering Global’s adult care initiatives, serving as an executive committee member and co-author of Global Guidelines, and managing the development and operations of Global’s efforts to open a World Class Medical Clinic for adults with Down syndrome. Her role oversees many of Global's exciting international projects, including Uganda, Iceland and Albania.
Sara Goldberg Sara Goldberg is the Senior Director of Development for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) where she leads the organization’s fundraising and community relations activities. Utilizing two decades of experience in non-profit fundraising, Sara collaborates with internal and external stakeholders in developing rewarding and impactful engagement opportunities and giving experiences. She also offers strategic guidance for initiatives that raise awareness, provide support, build community, and promote the work of NDSS and our partners. Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in history and women’s studies from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago.
James Hendrix Dr. James Hendrix is the Chief Scientific Officer of LuMind IDSC and oversees the research strategy and work supported by the Foundation. Prior to joining LuMind, Dr. Hendrix was Director of Global Science Initiatives, at the Alzheimer’s Association where he managed several industry consortia including the $100 million dollar IDEAS study on dementia imaging. Dr. Hendrix spent 18 years working at Sanofi-Aventis, including as U.S. site head for neuroscience research. He also spent two years working in the biotech industry, including companies focused on the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Hendrix has a PhD. In chemistry from Colorado State University.
Hampus Hillerstrom Hampus Hillerstrom became President and CEO of LuMind IDSC Foundation in 2017 after serving on the board of directors for three years. Previously, he co‐founded Proclara Biosciences in 2007, a company developing a novel approach for treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other protein misfolding diseases, and, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer prior to joining LuMind IDSC as CEO. Hillerstrom’s experience includes time with a leading European biotech venture capital firm HealthCap where he participated in a large number of investment transactions including several IPOs.  Hampus also spearheaded a project on clinical trials conduct at AstraZeneca and worked on the pharmaceutical industry at investment bank Lazard. Hampus holds a Masters in Economics and Finance from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MSc in Health Sciences and Technology from MIT/Harvard Medical School (HST). Hampus’ oldest son Oskar has Down Syndrome.
Roxanne Hoke-Chandler Roxanne Hoke-Chandler, a Boston native, was educated in the Boston public school system, then continued her education at Lesley University and earned an MS in Management. In 1998, Roxanne's career in Human Resources shifted when she welcomed her child with special needs into her life. Roxanne is currently the Statewide Family Engagement and Collaboration Coordinator for the Early Intervention Parent Leadership Project for the Department of Public Health. Roxanne has a strong interest in hard to reach and underserved populations. Roxanne’s greatest passion, however, is being a mother to her two daughters Faith and Ebony Joy.
Jim Hudson Jim Hudson has been the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (www.dsagc.com) for the past eight years. The DSAGC is one of the larger Ds affiliates in the country with a staff team of 19, a 20-member Board of Directors and a $1.2M annual budget. Jim is a proven nonprofit leader with 30+ years of experience in various roles around the country. He has a wealth of leadership and fund development experience with a track record of being a mission-focused leader who gets things done while caring for people along the way. In addition, Jim has a long history of being connected with individuals and organizations that work with people with disabilities and their families. He has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Miami University and a Master’s in Leadership from Fuller Seminary. In addition, in 2018 Jim was the Chapter President for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals with 400+ members.
Matthew Janicki Mathew P. Janicki, Ph.D. a psychologist, is the co-chair of the US National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices and is a member of the US Federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. He also holds an appointment as an associate research professor at the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was director for aging and special populations for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Currently, he is leading a study of specialized group homes designed for dementia related care of adult with intellectual disabilities.
Seth Keller Seth M. Keller, MD, a board-certified neurologist in private practice with Neurology Associates of South Jersey. Dr Keller is on the Executive Board of the Arc of Burlington County as well as on the board for The Arc of New Jersey Mainstreaming Medical Care Board. Dr Keller is the Past President of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD). Dr Keller is the co-chair of the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (NTG). Dr. Keller is also the chair of the Adult IDD Section with the American Academy of Neurology.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University, earned his medical degree from The George Washington University School of Medicine in 1989, and completed his neurology internship and residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital. 
Elizabeth Lewis Elizabeth began her career in Early Intervention and has over 17 years’ experience providing 1:1/small-group early intervention support and educational consult across various environments for children with intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, and behavioral challenges. Elizabeth joined DSCBA in 2016 and serves as the Director of Education. Her primary role is to educate families and schools about effective strategies and evidence-based approaches that foster success for learners with Down syndrome. In addition to hosting various educational workshops, providing consults and hands-on training to families and education teams, Elizabeth gives Ability Awareness presentations at schools all over the Bay Area to educate students about Down syndrome and inclusion.
Stephanie Smith Lee Stephanie Smith Lee is Senior Policy Advisor for NDSC with over thirty years of public policy expertise, including senior Congressional staff positions, serving as Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the US Department of Education. Since her daughter, Laura, was born with Down syndrome in 1982, she has led successful bipartisan disability advocacy efforts at all levels. Stephanie co-chairs the Inclusive Higher Education Committee and led the successful effort to obtain federal financial aid and model programs for postsecondary students with ID. She also chairs the Think College Accreditation Workgroup that is developing model program standards.
Brooke Levey Brooke Levey comes to the DSNMC with an incredible amount of enthusiasm. She is committed to helping individuals with Down syndrome achieve their full potential and to live in communities where they are fully included, valued and welcomed. An educator by training, Brooke has over 25 years of experience teaching and leading environmental education programs. During her tenure at the University of Nebraska, she was responsible for planning, growing and implementing all aspects of two statewide affiliates for two international education programs focusing on science and the environment. Brooke’s greatest strength is bringing people together to set and accomplish goals. She has extensive experience working with diverse groups of people and institutions and building partnerships. She has a B.A in Sociology/Anthropology from Earlham College and an M.S. in Environmental Education from Lesley University. She and her husband, Mark Humpert, have three children; Noah (18), Sam (15) and Helen (12).
Matteo Lieb Matteo Lieb is the Employment Policy and Program Manager at the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) where he works with companies, local organizations, and individuals to expand employment opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. In his role, Matteo facilitates the CEO Commission for Disability Employment, develops training resources for individuals and companies, manages data collection and works on employment policy issues. Since joining the NDSS team in 2019, Matteo has created partnerships with companies to increase access to employment opportunities and has led interview and resume workshops to prepare hundreds of individuals with Down syndrome for the workforce. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from American University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Megan Lindstrom Megan Lindstrom is the Project Manager at the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and has been directly involved in organizing many GLOBAL events, including the first virtual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show in 2020. She earned a Master of Arts degree in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School for International Studies at the University of Denver in 2014 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN in 2009. Prior to joining the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Megan served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria.
Linda Lysakowski Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE Linda is one of slightly more one hundred professionals worldwide to hold the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive designation. In her thirty-plus years in the development field, she has managed capital campaigns; helped dozens of nonprofit organizations achieve their development goals, and has trained more than 40,000 professionals in Mexico, Canada, Egypt, Bermuda, and most of the fifty United States. Linda is a graduate of Alvernia College in Reading, PA with majors in Banking and Finance; Communications; and Theology/Philosophy. She is a graduate of AFP’s Faculty Training Academy and has received two AFP research grants. She is also a prolific writer, having written or contributed to more than two dozen books. Linda has received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive award from the Eastern PA, Las Vegas, and Sierra (NV) chapters of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) was recognized internationally with the Barbara Marion Award for Outstanding Service.
Kathleen McCormick  Kathleen McCormick graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and minors in Sociology and Disabilities Studies. Kathleen first became involved with the DSA of Delaware in 2016 as a volunteer for the Days of Summer Camp. In 2019, she began serving on the Delaware Down Syndrome Walk committee as a volunteer, helping with logo design and social media. In 2020, Kathleen began working for the DSA of DE as Communications Director. In this role, Kathleen helps to plan the DSA of DE’s events, run social media pages, send weekly emails, and maintain the website.
Stephanie Meredith Stephanie Meredith is the Director of the Lettercase National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Resources at the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute. She created the Down Syndrome Prenatal Outreach Program in 2008, and she's provided medical outreach training to about 80 Down syndrome organizations nationwide. She's also the author of "Understanding a Down syndrome Diagnosis" and the co-author of "Diagnosis to Delivery: A Pregnant Mother's Guide to Down syndrome" and "Welcoming a Newborn with Down syndrome."
Sarah Mulligan Before becoming the Executive Director of DSAIA, Sarah has worked with nonprofit organizations ranging from a smalll group to an international membership organization. Her background is in early childhood special education and she received her M.Ed. from the Univeristy of Washington. But for the past twenty years or so, her passion has been in management and administration. Sarah loves every aspect of leading an organization. She is also the parent of four children, two of whom have Down syndrome and they are a constant reminder of how important it is that our leaders be kind, knowledgable, and dedicated people.
Shauntel Neal-Howe Shauntel Neal-Howe is the NDSC Board of Directors President, Chair of the NDSC Diversity Committee, and active member of the African American/Black people who have Children with Down syndrome Facebook group. She grew up in Indianapolis, IN, and learned early on the importance of supporting organizations and efforts that charter themselves to serve the "underserved." Along with a passion for stepping up in the Down Syndrome and broader disability communities, Shauntel has attributed her time to many other worthy causes, including efforts steered by the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and Cobb County, GA Parent Engagement Committee. Shauntel has also sat on sharing panels engaging families, educators, and church ministries in establishing disability inclusion programs. Professionally, Shauntel Neal-Howe is a Financial Planning & Analysis Consultant, focusing on corporate finance, planning, and process improvement. She currently resides in Spring, TX, with her husband Zachary and daughter Zoe, who has Down syndrome.
Andrew Nowalk Dr. Andrew Nowalk is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Director in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. A 1999 graduate of the MD PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he completed Pediatric residency and Infectious Disease fellowship training at UPMC Children’s Hospital before joining the faculty in 2005. He maintains clinical practice and an active research program in Lyme disease and infections in compromised hosts, as well as a longstanding interest in infections in people with Down syndrome. He provides consultative services to the Down Syndrome Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, has served on the Board of the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh, and has recently joined the T21RS Clinical Committee’s COVID-19 DS Task Group.
Jane Page-Steiner Jane Page-Steiner Jane Page-Steiner has been a part of the not-for-profit community for more than 30 years. Jane founded JPS Nonprofit Strategies, in 2007 because of her passion and ongoing commitment to helping nonprofits build their capacity and improve their performance. Jane is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. Jane partners with BoardSource to provide trainings and workshops that enables board members and staff to work more efficiently and effectively. Jane is a respected speaker, she regularly presents at national, regional and local nonprofit conferences. Before establishing JPS Nonprofit Strategies, Jane served as the Vice President of Affiliate Relations for the National Down Syndrome Society. Jane provided regular counsel on leadership development, capacity building and resource development for affiliates across the country. Prior to that Jane served as the executive director for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati for more than ten years.
Kandi Pickard Kandi Pickard is President & CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) where she provides vision and leadership, working collaboratively with individuals and organizations to support the entire Down syndrome community. Kandi’s involvement in the Down syndrome community first began as a local volunteer and advocate after her youngest son, Mason was born with Down syndrome. Eight years later, she leads NDSS with a focus on building community and keeping people with Down syndrome at the center of everything the organization does.
Moya Peterson Moya Peterson has been involved in the care of people with Down syndrome for most of her professional career, starting with children with Down syndrome at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, as a staff nurse. Her work with adults with Down syndrome eventually progressed to start a clinic. In 2011, Peterson started a clinic for adults with Down syndrome at the University of Kansas. It is a unique model in that it has a nurse practitioner as the sole provider. She is a member of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group, and an author on the GLOBAL Guidelines.
Tamara Pursley Tamara joined the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) team in 2013 and has served in several roles for the organization. Overseeing Programs & Partnerships gives her the opportunity to build on the relationships she has made over the years. Prior to joining the team, she served as the Board President of the DSA of Atlanta and worked as the Operations Director for The Civic League for Regional Atlanta. Tamara earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, holds a Certificate of Non-Profit Management, and is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking Georgia.
Debbie Revels Debbie is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.  As a native to Jacksonville, Florida, she is one of the founding members of DSAJ and has been actively involved since its establishment in 1989. Debbie has served on numerous boards and committees representing the Down syndrome community both locally and nationally. She is passionate and enthusiastic about serving individuals with Down syndrome. Debbie has always received inspiration and hope from her family and her son Nick, who has Down syndrome. Debbie looks forward to the continued progress and achievements for all individuals with Down syndrome and to growing the acceptance and inclusion of these individuals within the community.
Carly Riggs Carly Riggs, Engagement Director at Down Syndrome of Louisville, began her career as an actress with a passion for inclusive theatre. Her life came into focus when she was hired at Down Syndrome of Louisville to plan and execute social events for their advocates in 2013. Over the past seven years, she has worked tirelessly to bridge the gap in the disability and arts community with workshops, audition bootcamps, and disability trainings throughout the country. She is passionate about making community partnerships and is the coach of the Boogie Down Crew, a dance team made up of 50+ performers with Down syndrome. She has also been her organization's guide in the "2020 Virtual Transition". Additionally, Carly hosts and produces Down Syndrome of Louisville's podcast The Kindness Warrior Podcast.
Howie Rosenberg Howie currently serves as Executive Director of GiGi’s Playhouse of Atlanta. Howie is a seasoned professional in the non-profit community as he served 20 years at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in leadership, management, and program development. Howie has a passion for working with children and adults with special needs. While working at the MJCCA, he created the Transitions Program for Young Adults with Special Needs to provide an opportunity for them to learn life skills including fitness, cooking, communication, and social activities. He also started a Free special needs acting program called “Spotlight“.
Heather Sachs Heather Sachs is the Policy & Advocacy Director for the National Down Syndrome Congress and oversees NDSC’s policy agenda as well as NDSC’s nationwide grassroots advocacy program, the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (NDAC). On behalf of NDSC, Heather serves as President of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination and is a Co-Chair of the Financial Security Task Force for the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. Prior to joining NDSC, Heather worked as Senior ABLE Advisor for ABLE National Resource Center and as VP of Advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society. Heather has over a decade of advocacy experience on the national, state and local levels. Heather received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and is a member of the DC Bar. She lives in the DC area with her husband and 3 children, one of whom has Down syndrome.
Stephanie Sherman Stephanie L. Sherman is currently a Professor Emerita in the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University. Her training is in genetic epidemiology and has been involved in research to understand the causes and consequences of trisomy 21, or Down syndrome, for over 30 years. She is a member of the T21RS COVID-19 Initiative and has been involved in study design and implementation of the international on-line survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people with Down syndrome.
Maria Silvertson Maria Sivertson, Development Coordinator at The Up Side of Downs.  She plans and directs all operational functions for the two annual major fundraising events, The Northeast Ohio Buddy Walk (5000+) and The Sunburst Gala (800+) which raise significant funds for programs and services for the organization. Mari secures sponsorships and donations, enhances community engagement, maintains donor relations and stewardship, assists with marketing strategies, and leads the planning committees in all pre-event and day-of logistics. She has been married to her husband, Dan, for 21 years. They have 3 children, Hannah, Amy, and Eve, who just happens to be blessed with Down syndrome. 
Michelle Slape Michelle is the Director of Family Programming for LuMind IDSC Foundation. She was the Executive Director of the International Down Syndrome Community (IDSC) before the organization merged with LuMind RDS in 2019.  Michelle lives in northern California with her husband and 2 sons. Her younger son, Cody, has Down syndrome and was her inspiration for her journey into the Down syndrome non-profit community. Her background is computer programming and software training. In addition to her role at LuMind IDSC Foundation, she is also a professional photographer specializing in photographing children with special needs.
Beth Sullivan Beth Sullivan is the Senior Director of Community Engagement at Lumind IDSC Foundation since 2019. Beth is one of the original founders and former Chairman of the International Down Syndrome Community (IDSC). She brings 13 years of nonprofit leadership, several years as a freelance editor and writer, and a degree in Communications/Journalism. Beth has served on the board of directors for a number of Down syndrome organizations as well as served on other community boards and committees. Her son Oliver (now 16) has Down syndrome.
Mary Sweeney Mary Sweeny is the Down Syndrome Association for Families of Nebraska’s Marketing Director and 6-year member of "The Lucky Few," thanks to her oldest son, Henry. She manages and executes DSAF's strategic communication plan and oversees all other aspects of marketing and communications which help recruit, engage and retain donors and members while raising awareness about Down syndrome. Mary recently started her own marketing company, Mary Catherine Marketing, to help nonprofit organizations find their voices within the community and tell their story. Mary has over 16 years of nonprofit experience in program management, project development, volunteer engagement, marketing, and fundraising. When she's not working, Mary loves running, cooking, being outdoors, and family time with her husband and three sons.
David Tolleson Since 2003, David Tolleson has served as ED of the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC). During his tenure, NDSC’s Annual Convention has grown to be the world’s largest gathering of people with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. Additionally, the organization is the recognized leader in Federal Down syndrome policy and advocacy, as well as engagement of traditionally underserved communities. He and his wife have two adult children, one of whom has autism.
Krissy Vinson As the Communications Coordinator, Krissy is responsible for creating and editing all content on the DSAGC website, social media platforms, and Ds Press. She oversees the overall marketing objectives of the organization and strives to promote the DSAGC through various media outlets. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Northern Kentucky University.
Michelle Sie Whitten Michelle Whitten is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Global’s focus is research and medical care. In 10 short years, GLOBAL has succeeded in lobbying congress so that the National Institutes of Health increased funding Down syndrome research for the first time in two decades. Global provides excellent medical care to 2,000 patients and supports 200 scientists through its affiliates at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome and the Crnic Institute. Michelle has been the architect for Global’s work including the Global Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down syndrome. Prior to her career in non-profit, Michelle worked in the cable TV industry. She holds a Master of Arts degree in International Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, both from Harvard University. She is first generation Chinese-Italian, married to a Brit. They have two kids, Sophia and Patrick, and Sophia has Down syndrome.
Charlotte Woodward Charlotte Woodward is the Community Outreach Associate for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) where she supports public awareness and community outreach through public speaking, social media and writing a blog. She is also working to develop a magazine for and by individuals with Down syndrome. Charlotte was born with a heart condition and had four open-heart surgeries when she was young. She recently became one of the very few people born with Down syndrome to receive a life-saving heart transplant, and she regularly shares her story to educate and advocate for others.
Shelley Yoder

Shelley Yoder is the Executive Director for the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana (DSANI). She just started her seventh year with DSANI, and loves her job and the families she is so fortunate to work with. She considers it an immense honor to work with our friends with Down syndrome, and to help carry out DSANI’s mission statement. The 2021 DSANI Buddy Walk will be the 7th one that Shelley has spearheaded. Shelley is also a member of the Northeast Indiana Disability Advocacy Coalition (NEIDAC) and the Alliance for Human Services, both groups of area professionals who collaborate and work together to make living in our community a more inclusive experience for people with disabilities of all types. Both groups also seek to provide a stronger, united advocacy voice when needed. In her spare time Shelley loves to read, attend sporting events and concerts (come on COVID – go away), shop and spend time with family and friends. Shelley and her husband are very proud parents of two adult children; and are looking very forward to their son’s wedding on May 1st!

Katie Zurkuhlen Katie Zurkuhlen brings to DSL a background in social work, and teaching. Her position as the Programs and Operations Director started in January of 2020, after years of volunteering and then becoming employed as the facilities manager. Even with pandemic derailing our plans, Katie has supervised, implemented, and restructured programs for our Adult Development Academy, School Age, and ECE departments. On the Operations side of things, she has implemented processes and procedures relating to COVID-19, following the provided guidelines, in order to keep our members and staff safe. Our team is amazing and we can’t wait to be all together.