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MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Theresa Squires proudly identifies as a woman with multiple invisible disabilities. Theresa is an expert in disability pride and has more than a decade of experience in collaborating with groups and individuals for positive change. As a dynamic speaker and facilitator, she uses her personal experience to engage audiences in conversations about disability identity, ableism, and justice.  With over a decade of experience, she has facilitated workshops, weekend retreats and trainings. Theresa is the founder of Her Power! Her Pride! Her Voice! a four-day event where girls across Michigan challenge media stereotypes and to shatter myths about what it means to be a teen girl with a disability. For her work in disability and gender justice she was featured in YES! Magazine and has received awards from both Michigan State University’s Center for Gender in Global Context and Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Theresa can be reached at extension 326.

Financial Director

Wade Handrich

Wade began his career with MDRC in 2006 in the position of Administrative Accountant & Program Assistant, and as such came to assist the Administrative Director in the financial responsibilities for the organization. He is now responsible for the majority of the financial tasks. Wade has a B.A. in accounting from Goshen College.

Prior to joining MDRC's staff, Wade had 15yrs experience managing finances with 2 different non-profit organizations. As part of his previous employment, he spent considerable time in Africa. As a result of this he acquired a passion for travel and continues to have travel as a goal to experience.

Wade can be reached at extension 332.

Office Manager/Administrative Assistant

Ajaunè Thomas is new to the disability community, but is excited to get involved and assist in any way. She is the face of the front office. Her responsibilities include: maintaining the office, answering/referring calls, purchasing, and coordinating administrative activities. She has past experiences as an Administrative Assistant, working in various call centers, and data entry positions. All which helped mold her administrative skills. Ajaunè is currently studying Kinesiology, a career path she chose due to her passion for motivating others to recover and push themselves beyond limitations. She enjoys being of great service to others. She is ready and willing to be a team player and become an asset in our community projects. Ajaunè can be reached at extension 315

Disability and Racial Justice Community Organizer

Breannah smiling

Breannah Alexander is an experienced racial equity educator and advocate. Breannah is excited to be working on the LEAD Project to create more inclusive and justice-oriented spaces that serve and empower people with disabilities. She has spent the last four years working on racial equity specific work within for-profit organizations, faith-based institutions and non-profit organizations in various capacities. When she is not educating on systemic inequity, she is a passionate voice for the empowerment of women and girls. Breannah’s previous experience includes serving as the Director of Strategic Programs at Partners for a Racism-Free Community in Grand Rapids, Program Manager of Michigan’s Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps Program, an AmeriCorps State member at Grand Rapids Community Foundation and six years working in various capacities with youth grant-makers in Michigan and across the nation.She is the Co-Chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids board. Breannah was previously a Commissioner on the Michigan Community Service Commission.

Policy and Project Consultant

RoAnne Chaney

RoAnne Chaney is the immediate past Executive Director of MDRC. She continues to work part-time with a focus on Long-Term Supports and Services and Health Care. Her areas of expertise are Long-Term Supports and Services, health care, community integration, and meaningful consumer involvement. RoAnne has experience in disability and health care issues here in Michigan. RoAnne served as Associate Director of MDRC prior to her current position. Previously, she was a Senior Program Officer with the Center for Health Care Strategies in Princeton, New Jersey where she worked on Medicaid managed care issues. RoAnne was the Associate Director of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living for ten years where she and a team developed a collaborative interagency process to assist individuals with a variety of significant disabilities leave nursing home settings to live in the community.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University.

Program Manager

Kathleen is an advocate for affordable, accessible, quality health care for all. She has a MA and an MPA from Western Michigan University.  Her background is in senior residential administration, community organizing, and fundraising.   She has worked as a policy analyst on health care for the Michigan State Senate and as a Government Affairs Director for a non-profit Medicaid health plan.  Kathleen started working at MDRC in 2010.

Kathleen can be reached at extension 313.

Assistive Technology (AT) Program Manager

Laura Hall

Laura Hall supports the program's advisory council and coordinates MATP's efforts with many other organizations including AT Leadership Team at Disability Network Michigan. She also manages and provides technical assistance to local organizations who provide device demonstrations and other services through the program. Laura provides training to the public through both webinars and in person sessions and is a regular contributor to MATP's blog.

Laura has over ten years experience working in the disability community..   In 2010, she received the "Unsung Advocate Award" from the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council for her work related to reducing barriers to employment for people with disabilities, and as state Organizer for ADAPT Michigan.  She has provided trainings and continuing education courses statewide on Social Security and Work Incentive programs.   Laura is passionate about assistive technology as a path toward independence and employment for people with disabilities.

Laura has a B.A. in Elementary Education, and a Masters of Social Work from Michigan State University.   She was also trained as a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator through Virginia Commonwealth University.  Laura can be reached at MDRC, extension 328.

Program Manager

Aimee wearing pink Feisty and non-compliant t-shirt

Aimee Sterk is a woman with invisible disabilities and has been working in the aging and disability community for almost 20 years. She has written successful grants totaling over $1 million dollars and has presented about and worked with governmental task forces and audiences around the state and nation on inclusion, grant writing, nursing facility transition, financial literacy, disability, voting rights, effective communication, community-based long-term care and assistive technology. As social policy chair for the League of Women Voters in Holland, Aimee coordinated a National Organization on Disability award-winning program to increase voter accessibility for older adults and people with disabilities in West Michigan. Aimee has a B.A. in Psychology from Hope College and an M.S.W. from Michigan State University.

Aimee can be reached at MDRC, extension 329.

Paul Miller standing outside

Inclusion Specialist

Paul was first hired 2009 for the Including Our Neighbors grant. He knows the importance of self-advocacy and disability pride which he enjoys talking about as part of the CCL team. His education includes art and humanities classes from Henry Ford Community College and Lansing Community College. He considers himself to be an artist and he has sold several paintings. He also believes that disability pride comes from a shared history, social interactions and personal experience. Paul has cerebral palsy and is glad to have a CP accent.

Paul can be reached at MDRC, extension 314

Assistive Technology Regional Manager

Jen has a passion for technology learning and access for everyone.  She believes that technology is a right and that everyone deserves the chance to learn about it and to use it.  Jen has been a trainer of various technologies with diverse groups of people around the state of Michigan for over 8 years.  Her presentations are interactive and include many hands-on experiential learning activities.  Jen’s module, "Using Social Media to Include Students who have Disabilities", is built into the Leaders in Policy Advocacy statewide leadership program (2013-2017) and has been highly rated by graduates of the program. She recently completed a national Technology Navigator Fellowship with the Arc of the United States where she worked with staff and other fellows from around the country on numerous topics surrounding technology use including accessibility, coaching, and recommendations.  Jen is also a part-time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University where she encourages her students to learn about disability justice issues and work towards making our community a place that’s authentically for everyone.

Jen can be reached at extension 333.

Project Consultant

Norman G. DeLisle, JR

Norman G. DeLisle, Jr. was the the Executive Director of Michigan Disability Rights Coalition from 1997 - 2015, and has worked in disability advocacy since 1970. Norm has been a part of, and has worked with, Michigan's disability community in a wide variety of settings from school systems to medical programs and legal services. His educational background is in psychology with graduate work in developmental learning and Montessori. His work has always focused on the broad community of people with disabilities, and their long quest for self-determination and community inclusion. Norm has learned from personal experience what it is like to be dis-empowered and cut off from the support of friends and family. He believes that the true role of professional knowledge is to effectively catalyze the deepest hopes and dreams of all people. Human services systems are at their best for both consumer and provider when they do not forget this basic goal.

Norm has driven MDRC's effort to make web technologies a tool of education and advocacy for Michigan's disability community. In particular, he has used standards-based web design as the core of truly accessible web sites.

Norm can be reached at extension 317