Natalia Eckerson: Hamilton County

Natalia Eckerson, M.Ed has worked in education for over 15 years and in the field of developmental disabilities for the past 3 years. She is an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC), and is a Bilingual Services and Supports Administrator (SSA) for Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (HCDDS). Her role as SSA has influenced her passion for supporting and empowering people with disabilities, and their families. Natalia wants to create a Spanish-speaking community of practice that supports not only people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but their families as well.

Natalia Eckerson, M.Ed ha trabajado en educación durante más de 15 años y en el campo de las discapacidades del desarrollo durante los últimos 3 años. Es embajadora de Ohio para Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) y administradora de servicios y apoyos bilingüe (SSA) de los servicios para discapacidades del desarrollo del condado de Hamilton (HCDDS). Su papel como SSA ha influido en su pasión por apoyar y empoderar a las personas con discapacidades y sus familias. Natalia quiere crear una comunidad de práctica de habla hispana que apoye no solo a las personas con discapacidades intelectuales y del desarrollo, sino también a sus familias.

Corey Ferguson, MHA: Columbus

Corey is the Program Administrator for Family Outreach & Education at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. He is an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse program and the parent of three children who each receive additional educational services via an IEP. In addition, his oldest is medically complex and receives services and supports from the local County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  Through his own experience, Corey has great interest in supporting and empowering people with disabilities, and families, in pursuing and achieving their best lives.

Keith Banner: Cincinnati

Keith Banner is a Community Life Engagement Project Manager in the Policy and Strategic Direction division at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.  He has worked in the developmental disabilities field in Ohio for over 28 years, including positions as an SSA, A Work Incentives Practitioner, and Employment Services Coordinator.  Keith sometimes teaches disabilities studies and other courses at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He helped co-found Visionaries + Voices and Thunder-Sky, Inc., two community-based arts organizations in Cincinnati.

Tracey Manz: Columbus

Tracey is the Program Coordinator for the Family Resource Network of Ohio, Peer to Peer Mentor programs through the Ohio DODD as well as the Program Coordinator and Lead Parent Facilitator for the Nisonger Aspirations program. She is an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse program and the parent of an adult on the autism spectrum,

Tracey has developed a passion for helping people with disabilities self-advocate, work toward interdependence, and assist in maximizing their full potential.

Erin Harris: Columbus

Erin Harris is an independently licensed social worker at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center serving as the Program Manager of Aspirations, a social skills and support group for teens and adults with autism. Erin became a Charting the Life Course Ambassador in April 2021. She serves as the social work faculty for LEND, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, an advanced graduate interdisciplinary training program. Erin also teaches as a community lecturer for the College of Social Work. Prior to her time at the Nisonger Center, Erin was a behavioral health therapist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Barbara Sapharas, MA: Cleveland

Barb has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over 45 years. She is a National (Nexus) Team Member of Charting the LifeCourse and Mentor Trainer in the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLC-PCP). Her roles as a sibling has impacted her passion for supporting and empowering people with lived experience, families and the professionals who help. Barb is a founding member and former Chair of Ohio SIBS and the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN). She is currently a Board Member of the Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA).

Lynne Fogel: Blacklick

Lynne is the Central Ohio Family Support Specialist for Ohio Family to Family Health Information Center.  She has been involved with the Ohio Charting the LifeCourse Community of Practice since 2016 and became an ambassador in 2019.  Lynne incorporates CtLC principles and tools into her work with families of transition-age youth, through trainings and one-on-one interactions.  She is currently working on a project to introduce the framework to early childhood families and professionals in Franklin County.  Lynne is the proud mom of two daughters, one of which is a young adult living with Cerebral Palsy.

Kate Green: Medina

Kate Green is an SSA in Medina County. She is also an advisory board member of Project Open House – an initiative to increase inclusive childcare options for children with disabilities.  Kate is an Ohio Ambassador of Charting The LifeCourse program and is the parent of two young daughters; her youngest has Down syndrome and complex medical issues. Kate’s passion is for ensuring true inclusion and equity for her daughter and for all people with disabilities.  Kate is using CtLC to help plan and advocate for her daughter and other family members. She is also using it when working with new families, when families are in crisis or trying to identify needs and solutions. She is excited to implement CtLC when working with schools.

Celia Schloemer: Cincinnati

Celia Schloemer, MA is a Senior Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCCEDD), at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  She comes to this position with more than 16 years’ experience working directly with families of children with disabilities as an educational advocate.  In her present position, Celia supports individuals with disability and their families across the life span by connecting them to resources, assisting them in accessing information and offering trainings that improve outcomes.  Celia is a Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador, A Charting the LifeCourse Coach in training and a member of the National Community of Practice Supporting Individuals with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.  She proudly brings to her work the perspective of being a a sibling, sister-in-law, an aunt, and a mom to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Kim McKinney: Liberty Township

Kim Mckinney is the President of Good Life Networks, a family driven association committed to building relationships and creating belonging with a concentrated focus on individuals who live with disability and their families.   Kim lives in Liberty Township Ohio a suburb outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.   As a CtLC Ohio Ambassador Kim is passionate about networks, Community Building, and helping individuals connect with resources and others to live a “good life”.  She actively volunteers in many agencies in Butler County.  She has been married for 34 years, has a son, daughter-in-law and daughter who are busy creating their “good lives”.  Kim thoroughly enjoys reading, connecting with others, self-discovery and as mentioned has a strong passion for supporting and maintaining healthy Communities.   She believes CtLC process has built into the DNA of its construction inclusion and flexibility to accommodate “All” in the pursuit of contribution to community and  living a rich and purposeful life.

Britta Hough: NE Ohio

Britta Hough is the NE regional Community Life Engagement Project Manager with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Britta’s primary focus is to ensure that people eligible for services through Ohio’s developmental disability system will have increased opportunities to live, work, and thrive in their homes and communities through state-of-the-art planning, innovative technology, and supports that focus on their talents, interests, and skills. Britta has used the CtLC framework and tools in regional and county trainings. She is working with other ambassadors in NE Ohio for a regional virtual training geared towards families in the Fall. Britta is implementing CtLC into system transformation efforts. She is coordinating a training for the northeast regional transformation community of practice, and using the framework as a tool to develop regional resources that enhance service delivery. Britta plans to continue to explore ways in which she can incorporate CtLC into regional training and technical assistance.

Kim Matthews: Columbus

Kim is a Parent Consultant for the Ohio Department of Health. She is an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse program. She has been a caregiver for her loved one with disabilities for over 30 years. Kim understands the importance of connecting to services and support to help meet the needs of families and individuals. She enjoys opportunities to share the LifeCourse Tools, which empower families and individuals to self- advocate and live their best life.

Melissa James: Columbus

Melissa James is a Parent Consultant at the Ohio Department of Health in the Maternal, Child, and Family Health Bureau. Melissa enjoys bringing the family perspective and voice to the bureau’s 40+ programs and numerous executive teams. Additionally, Melissa has the honor of leading the state’s efforts in pediatric cancer. She finds great comfort in this work, as she is the mother of a little one with pediatric cancer and the founder of the 501c3 nonprofit, Feel Better Foundation. Feel Better Foundation serves all individuals, birth-25 years of age, with life-threatening diseases, conditions, and cancers, as well as their family’s emotional health. Melissa loves that she was given the opportunity to combine her background and passion in early childhood education, communication, and nonprofit outreach, as well as her lived experience, to support and amplify the voices of other families with the Charting the LifeCourse tools.

Laurie Kowalski:

Laurie Kowalski is a proud mom of 3- Kristen, Alex and Charlie. She is passionate about disability advocacy and inclusion. She is the Director of Family Support and Adult Engagement for the Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio and has worked there since 2009. She loves helping families and has worked with expectant and new parents all the way through adulthood. She currently oversees all of the family support and adult programming for the Up Side of Downs. She became a Charting the Life Course Ambassador in April of 2021 and really enjoys sharing the tools with the families that she works with.  Her passion is to help them achieve the good life that they want and deserve. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, crafting and watching HGTV.

Marion Cosgrove Rauch: Southern Ohio

Marion is the Coordinator for Ohio Family to Family as well as Parent to Parent programs.  She also acts as the Family Support Specialist for Southern Ohio. OHF2F is a part of the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCCEDD), which is housed inside Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

While her original background is in Art Education, Marion became increasingly interested in Disability Studies as she watched her son, who has multiple disabilities, grow. In 2016 she entered the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) program at the UC UCEDD in the Community Engagement discipline. In the autumn of 2018, she took the position with Ohio F2F and ultimately added on coordination of the fledgling P2P program. As the parent herself of a disabled young adult, Marion carries with her the knowledge and experience of navigating systems, advocating for her son, every type of educational setting there is, and the general ups and downs of parenting a disabled child.

In her work with F2F/P2P Marion provides one on one support, works on special events/conferences, and teaches a variety of workshops and courses, with a special interest in self-care for caregivers, supported decision making, and end of life decision making. She is also a Charting the Life Course Ambassador and finds its tools to be useful in numerous aspects of both her work and personal life.

Marion sits on the Midwest Genetic Network Advisory Council, Accessibility Advisory Councils for both the Cincinnati Art Museum and Contemporary Art Center and has been both board member and board chair of Visionaries and Voices, an art studio for adults with disabilities.

Debra (Deb) Petermann: Columbus

Debra (Deb) is the Transition Coordinator/Community Connector for The Center for Disability Empowerment -a non-residential Independent Living Center. She is an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse program and the sibling/guardian of a man who had DD, was non-verbal and on the autism spectrum. She will tell you that “Rodney was my best teacher!”

Debra has been connected with the disability community for 60 years. She was raised by a vigilant volunteer/advocate mother, Becky and is using what she learned and personal life experiences to continue with the advocacy and supports that are needed today. Deb has voluntarily led the Disability Ministry at The Vineyard Church of Columbus Ohio for 26 years. She worked 15 years for the International Disability Ministry Joniandfriends.org. as a Church Relations Manager assisting faith-based organizations to be more inclusive in OH, WV and PA.

Nichele Lyndes: Columbus

Nichele Lyndes is a Transition Specialist and Independently Licensed Social Worker at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD). Nichele became a Charting the Life Course Ambassador in April 2021. Nichele completed her master’s degree at The Ohio State University and was a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Trainee at The Nisonger Center. Prior to working at CASD, she spent time working at the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities (FCBDD) and with vocational rehabilitation.

Jenna Allen: Akron

Jenna is the Transition to Adulthood Consultant in the Lifespan Transitions Center at OCALI. She has extensive experience as a service provider for people with disabilities, with a focus on community inclusion and employment, and has also worked in the education and community health fields. She became a Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador in 2021 and is passionate about sharing the framework and tools to help individuals and families explore options, develop their visions for the future and advocate for themselves and their loved ones throughout life’s journey.