For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

2021 Presenter List Table

Kaellen Hessel

Advocacy/Outreach Manager
Oregon ABLE Savings Plan

Kaellen Hessel educates the public about the benefits of the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan as the Advocacy/Outreach Manager for the Oregon Treasury Savings Network. She also looks for partnerships to expand the program’s reach and hunts for ways to improve how the plan serves Oregonians. She previously worked as an award-winning reporter and online producer at the (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Indianapolis Star and Milwaukee Business Journal. Kaellen also served on the Statesman’s editorial board. She graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Cici Gaynor

OSNT Program Director
The Arc Oregon

Cici joined The Arc Oregon in 2012 and began her current position as Program Director for the Oregon Special Needs Trust (OSNT) Program in 2020. As a family member to a person experiencing a disability, Cici was introduced to The Arc at a young age. Prior to joining The Arc Oregon, Cici worked at her local school district in the ELS, Title I, and Special Education Programs. She is passionate about working in a field that advocates for all people and enjoys serving in her position to enhance the qulaity of life for people who experience disabilities and their families.

Nick Kaasa

Trainer
The Arc Oregon

Nicholas Kaasa has called Oregon home his entire life and has worked in the field of Developmental Disability Services for more than six years. He has received many awards for his Advocacy work in and around his community and in 2012 he received the Self Determination Award and the OVASNP Outstanding Student of the Year in 2015. Nick has worked for The Arc Lane County, Full Access Brokerage and as a consultant for the Oregon Council of Developmental Disabilities; sharing the importance of the LifeCourse ™ framework statewide, as a LifeCourse™ Ambassador. Nick joins the OTAC team as a trainer and an Oregon ISP project consultant.

Jennifer DiBello

Co-Trainer, Administrative Assistant
The Arc Oregon

Jen DiBello has worked for OTAC for over 20 years as an administrative assistant and project support specialist. Jen has participated in all major programs and projects to provide her perspective as a person who experiences I/DD and a self-advocate. Jen is a People Planning Together trainer, which offers her the opportunity to pursue her passion of coaching other people who experience I/DD to advocate for themselves. As a member of the project team, Jen offers essential viewpoints for consideration around how the new curriculum related to the redesigned ISP process might be received by self-advocates.

Kaaren Londahl

Board Member
The Arc of Oregon

I am a strong advocate for employment, because everyone deserves to have jobs. People can work, and I am familiar with creating Fact Sheets (need support writing it out) and recruiting new members and talking about what we do as a group. We need people to be strong leaders for The Arc. I have been an advocate my whole life and I am on the board for OCDD, Independence Northwest and OSAC, so I know to advocate for myself and other people. I also attend PHAME, and support people to advocate for themselves.

Kimberly Taylor

Board Member
The Arc of Oregon

Kimberly is a student and has served as a member-at-large on The Arc Oregon Board of Directors since 2018.

Nicholas Kaasa

ISP Trainer/Consultant
The Arc Oregon

Nicholas Kaasa has called Oregon home his entire life and has worked in the field of Developmental Disability Services for more than six years. He has received many awards for his Advocacy work in and around his community and in 2012 he received the Self Determination Award and the OVASNP Outstanding Student of the Year in 2015. Nick has worked for The Arc Lane County, Full Access Brokerage and as a consultant for the Oregon Council of Developmental Disabilities; sharing the importance of the LifeCourse ™ framework statewide, as a LifeCourse™ Ambassador. Nick joins the OTAC team as a trainer and an Oregon ISP project consultant.

Aniko Adany

Person Centered Practices Coordinator/ISP Trainer
The Arc Oregon

I thrive in an environment where innovation and inclusion are top values. I am a graphic recorder and facilitator, and I love to use visual thinking to increase engagement, creativity, and inclusion in any situation. I am also passionate about youth voice, social justice, and doing whatever I can to help people raise their own voice rather than speaking for them.

I am passionate and knowledgeable about personalizing supports, wherever people meet systems. I have a lead role to support the infusion of person-centered approaches into all of our work at The Arc Oregon. I specialize in using and continuing my learning in person-centered thinking, planning, and organizational practices.

I am a Person Centered Thinking trainer (credentialed by the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices), Person Centered Plan Facilitator and trainer, support/mentor People Planning Together, a Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador and Community of Practice member, and a trained Graphic Facilitator and Recorder.

I also have training and skills in trauma-informed care and approaches, Positive and Productive Meetings, Supported Decision Making, Collaborative Problem Solving, positive behavior supports focusing on communication, Popular Education model, sexual health and equity, adult learning theory, and Gentle Teaching.

Emily Cooper


Disability Rights Oregon

Emily leads a team of attorneys and advocates who work to uphold the rights of Oregonians with disabilities. She spearheads DRO’s class-action litigation, including the Wyatt v. Brown lawsuit seeking a safer foster care system that provides children the services they need to thrive, as well as our ongoing monitoring of the Lane v. Brown case aimed at closing sheltered workshops so that individuals with developmental disabilities get competitive jobs in their communities.
Emily has also testified before the Oregon legislature multiple on issues involving the rights of jail inmates with mental health conditions and successfully banning the use of canines for cell extractions.
Previously, she served as a Senior Attorney at Disability Rights Washington since 2006. She was the lead attorney in the Trueblood v. DSHS class action lawsuit that resulted in $85 million dollars in contempt fines aimed at diverting individuals with disabilities from jail. In addition to working on class-action litigation, Emily monitored facilities that serve people with disabilities, investigated abuse and neglect, and testified in front of the legislature.
Emily was also an Adjunct Law Professor at Seattle University School of Law from 2014 to 2017, served on the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) of Washington’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017, and served as the Director of Advocacy for the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association (“WADA”) from 2013 to 2016. Emily graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2003.

Tamara Bakewell


Oregon Family to Family Health Information Center

Tamara Bakewell has worked in the field of family support for more than 25 years. She is presently the Family Involvement Manager for the Oregon Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs and the Oregon Family to Family Health Information Center.

Nicole Jorwic


The Arc of the United States

Nicole Jorwic is the Senior Director of Public Policy at The Arc, a national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Prior to joining The Arc policy team Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor for the state of Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices in serving individuals with disabilities.
Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities, with a focus on transition-aged youth. Nicole received her JD and Child and Family Law Certificate, from Loyola University Chicago. She received her BS from the University of Illinois. Nicole is also a sibling, her brother Chris is 31 and has autism.

Toni Larson

Residential Facilities Ombudsman, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health
Residential Facilities Ombudsman Program

Toni Larson is the Residential Facilities Ombudsman for Oregon. The RFO program offers advocacy services for individuals living in any of the 2,600 homes and facilities licensed or certified for I/DD or mental health across the state. Toni has worked with individuals and families for more than 25 years to access services and remove barriers in the complex network of I/DD, mental health and healthcare systems. She is passionate about the rights of individuals, self-directed choice and quality of care. When she is not working you can find Toni working on a home improvement project better left to a professional or knitting hats and watching Netflix.

Toni Larson

Residential Facilities Ombudsman, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health
Residential Facilities Ombudsman Program

Toni Larson is the Residential Facilities Ombudsman for Oregon. The RFO program offers advocacy services for individuals living in any of the 2,600 homes and facilities licensed or certified for I/DD or mental health across the state. Toni has worked with individuals and families for more than 25 years to access services and remove barriers in the complex network of I/DD, mental health and healthcare systems. She is passionate about the rights of individuals, self-directed choice and quality of care. When she is not working you can find Toni working on a home improvement project better left to a professional or knitting hats and watching Netflix.

Alice Massey

ERC Project Manager
The Arc Oregon

Alice Massey, ERC Manager with The Arc Oregon has over 30 years of experience in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities. With a degree in music education, Alice’s early career focused on teaching in public and private schools. She then spent 14 years working with a Pendleton provider agency in varying capacities, including as the Executive Director. Alice served at the Eastern Oregon Regional DD Program from 2001-2019, providing crisis services, training, and behavior consultation throughout 14 counties of Eastern Oregon. She is a Master level instructor in the Oregon Intervention System and serves on the statewide O.I.S. Steering Committee. As the sister of a person experiencing disability, Alice believes relationships are the key to living one’s best life.

Jennie Heidrick

OTAC Program Director
The Arc Oregon

Jennie Heidrick has over 20 years of experience working with people of all ages who experience disabilities. She has worked as a direct support professional, educational assistant in the public school setting and joined the OTAC team in 2009 as a trainer, consultant and mentor. Here at The Arc Oregon, Jennie manages the Oregon Training and Consultation program of The Arc Oregon and also works as a consultant for the Employer Resource Connection Program. Jennie has a passion for supporting families and ensuring that people in a support role have the information and tools necessary to support people with living a dignified life that is meaningful to them. As a LifeCourse Ambassador, Jennie is skilled in planning with people to have a good life. She has a degree in Social Science and is Certified in Early Childhood Education and Rural Social Work.

Alan Lytle

Operations Support Director
The Arc of Oregon

Alan is the Operations Support Director at The Arc Oregon, providing support to each of our programs and team. Alan was with OTAC as a trainer and consultant since 2006 and then joined The Arc Oregon when the two organizations merged in 2018. Alan is passionate about technology that supports learning and independence, including assistive technology and online learning. When he’s not at work, he can be found conducting musical theatre performances around the Portland metro area.

Emily Braman

GAPS Program Director
The Arc Oregon

Emily Braman has worked professionally supporting individuals with developmental disabilities for almost 20 years. She has been a county Services Coordinator, Child and Adult DD Foster Care Provider, Family Network Program Director, and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Her current role is as the Program Director for the Guardianship, Advocacy and Planning Services Program at The Arc Oregon. Through her varied experiences, as well as being a parent to a pre-teen experiencing I/DD, she has become passionate about helping individuals create and live the life they desire.

Kristen McSorley

Music Therapy Director
Earthtones Northwest

Kristen McSorley, MMT, MT-BC (she/her) strives to work collaboratively with clients to access essential human experiences, such as play, creativity, joy, and belonging, through shared music experiences. In her practice, she considers each person’s resources, past traumas and cultural context, in addition to systemic barriers that may impact their wellbeing. Kristen received her master’s degree in music therapy from Slippery Rock University and has seven years of experience working people of all ages, from infants in the NICU to elders at the end of life. She also directs Earthtones Northwest’s communications department and music therapy internship program. 

Maggie Johnson

Music Therapy Director
Earthtones Northwest

Maggie Johnson, MT-BC, is the Music Therapy Director for Earthtones Northwest. Promoting the universal benefits of the art of music, her clinical focus is music therapy for groups and individuals experiencing isolation and marginalization due to health and societal barriers. She has served as a lead music therapist for many of Earthtones Northwest’s community arts projects in partnership with organizations such as The Oregon Symphony, The Alzheimer’s Association: Oregon Chapter, and Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon.

Paula Markovitz Boga

Executive Director
The Arc of Oregon

Paula Boga is the Executive Director of The Arc Oregon and a Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant. Her experience includes more than 8 years of nonprofit management, 10 years of nonprofit volunteer and board service, 12 years of statutory compliance and training in the insurance claims industry, and 8 years of for-profit small business management experience.

After working in the for-profit corporate world for more than 20 years Paula Boga was compelled to find a way to use her skills and experience for the greater good. Her personal experience growing up with an aunt who experiences an intellectual/developmental disability, made the mission and vision of The Arc a natural fit. Paula’s grandmother was a trailblazer, advocating for full civil rights and community inclusion for people with I/DD back in the 1960’s, and she strives to continue that legacy through her work at The Arc Oregon.

Cheryl Cisneros

Executive Director
Creating Opportunities

Cheryl is a strong advocate with more than 20 years of leadership experience and expertise dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities, and their families. Cheryl established Creating Opportunities in March 2014. Creating Opportunities is the Regional Family Network for Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties offering family advocacy, training, support, family events and community building. Cheryl enjoys participation in several projects, including:
• Oregon DD Coalition Grassroots Oregon (GO!) Project Coordinator
• Alliance for Early Intervention Project Coordinator
• Oregon’s ISP Redesign Team
• Oregon DD Services Leadership Vision Advisory Group
• Sustaining Families Work Group
• Marion Polk Coalition for Special Needs Children: Family Resources, Support & Training (FRST) Group
• Salem-Keizer Schools & Dallas School District – Special Education Advisory Committee Leadership
• Person-Centered Planning Facilitation
Of all the roles Cheryl has had in the past two decades, she is most proud of her role as a mother to a remarkable young man who experiences developmental disabilities.

Alicia DeLashmutt

Founder and President
Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative

Alicia is the Founder and President of Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative, a non-profit whose mission is to promote, support and develop inclusive, diverse communities. She is currently working with her team to develop a mutually supportive, inclusive cohousing inspired community in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland, OR. She is the proud mother of an awesome young adult daughter whose diverse interests include baseball, Fritos and opera. Her daughter experiences Mowat-Wilson, a rare genetic syndrome whose effects are widespread and significant. Alicia is an active advocate and parent mentor who believes that the inclusion of ALL, regardless of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or gender identity is necessary for a vibrant and healthy community.

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