Jim has served as the Executive Director of Disability Network Northern Michigan since July 2003. Prior to his current position, Jim was the Interim CEO of the American Lung Association and Director of Governmental Affairs and Programs. He has worked in nonprofit leadership for over 25 years. Jim is passionate about social justice, and the idea that the human experience should be full and rich for everyone. He loves being outdoors, music, and the arts.
Community Resource Coordinator- A Traverse City native, Courtney received her Degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University. She strives to utilize the “people first” philosophy she learned in school with everyone she meets. She is very happy to be back home, as she returned to the area in 2020. Her passion is advocating for others. Outside of work, she enjoys training and spending time with her service dog, Rolo, along with her cat, Rascal; writing, reading books and playing games. She lives in the Interlochen area with her family.
John is our new Employment Specialist and is very excited to be part of the Disability Network team. John graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA in Sociology. He has a passion for working with people with disabilities and has many years of experience providing them support in different ways. John is committed to the person-centered approach for program planning, support and services provided to people with disabilities. Prior to joining the Disability Network, John was a director for an Independent Living Services program for people with developmental disabilities in Sacramento, CA. John and his family recently relocated back to Michigan from Auburn, CA to be close to family. He is very excited to be back in Michigan and happy to call Traverse City his home. John enjoys spending his free time with his wife and two kids.
Cassandra received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ferris State University. She has worked in the Human Services Field for ten years. Cassandra completed her Ferris internship with Disability Network in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, kayaking, camping and many other summer outdoor activities.
Judy Ewald has a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Western Michigan University. She previously served on the Board and performed accounting work for a private foundation in Metro Detroit. She began her career after college working in accounting for the comptroller of a division of General Motors. Judy later became more focused on income tax work and has worked for several Certified Public Accountant firms serving accounting and tax clients. Judy has three adult sons that reside in Colorado and Washington D.C. She has recently relocated to Northern Michigan from the Metro Detroit area, and enjoys biking and swimming in her free time.
Katy is a graduate from Grand Valley State University with a BS in Therapeutic Recreation. She has been working with people with disabilities and mental health disorders for nearly ten years within the community, hospital settings, homes, and school districts. Katy recently moved to Northern Michigan from Grand Rapids and is enjoying living outside of the city, and the many outdoor recreational opportunities available up here. She now works at Disability Network to coordinate and teach the LIFE program and is excited to continue advocating for people with disabilities and to work with youth.
Cody received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Spring Arbor University in 2001. He has worked in various educational, religious and human services areas for the last 18 years. Cody makes his home in Gaylord with his wife and children. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, hunting and driving all over the state to watch his children in their activities. Cody is looking forward to facilitating the LIFE program and being a part of the DNNM team.
Sherrie graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She has resided in Northern Michigan her entire life and has worked in a variety of fields including; court system, Community Mental Health, private agencies, schools, adult foster facility, and foster care and adoption agencies. Sherrie was hired in December 2014. She serves as Outreach Coordinator to 7 counties in Northeast Michigan and also serves as an Independent Living Specialist on the east side of the state. Sherrie is happily married and enjoys her large family. She loves assisting the most vulnerable clients and enjoys learning from them too.
George studied at Northwestern Michigan College. He has worked in the Human Services Field for 20 years. He started out working in a crisis center with people in a mental health crisis then worked assisting developing programs that provided recreational activities and employment opportunities for developmentally disabled adults. Then most recently was a Program Coordinator for Alternative Services Inc. and managed multiple adult foster care homes and programs for the past 7 years. George lives in Kalkaska with his wife and 3 daughters. Besides working with the L.I.F.E. program he also works part-time with children with Autism as a Behavioral Technician. George also does Reiki and enjoys hiking, kayaking and spending time with his family.
Thomas is the Coordinator for GTI's LIS'N program and holds both state and national certification with medical and mental health endorsements, as well as certification in educational interpreting. Thomas worked with TBAISD for 12 years as an educational interpreter and worked as a contract interpreter with the LIS'N program during those years. He has been with the GTI-LIS'N since 2012. Being raised by the Deaf community, Thomas takes pride in serving this community with the ultimate goal of access for everyone.
Demarie received her Master’s in Social Work from Grand Valley University. Demarie has been advocating for people in the mental health systems for years. She is also involved with poverty issues in Leelanau County. Demarie enjoys her work at DNNM, working with people to help them remove barriers and live full lives in their communities. In her spare time, she teaches fiber arts and tends to her animals on her fiber farm.
Alanna graduated from Tulane University with a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a JD from Syracuse University. As a Traverse City native, Alanna was eager to return home to scenic Northern Michigan and the amazing community after tackling life in the deep south and the northeast. Those life journeys inspired an immense passion for civil rights and social justice: working to remove barriers, facilitating equality and empowering others in self-advocacy. She enjoys exploring new places and meeting new people while traveling, taking time for self-reflection in the great outdoors and most importantly, appreciating moments shared with her friends, family and rescue pooch, Alfie. .
– Kevin is part of the No Wrong Door - Options Counselor Program, specializing in long term care outreach services to community facilities and hospitals. Kevin has been advocating for people with disabilities since 2008. He has worked with Centers for Independent Living in and out of Michigan. Kevin continues to be an active member of Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) working with local leaders to address food insecurities in communities. In his spare time, he enjoys most outdoor activities in all four seasons and travels.
Nicole, a committed disability awareness partner and lifelong community advocate, began working at DNNM in 2015. Nicole is dedicated to family supports and assisting individuals, families, caregivers, and providers to create opportunities allowing individuals to live their best life. She enjoys all that northern Michigan offers with family and friends.–
Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ferris State University and joined the Disability Network team full time while completing her Ferris internship. Prior to her Social Work degree, Jennifer spent nearly 20 years in hospitality, customer service, team management and assisted with operational training. She moved from the northeast side of Michigan in 1999 and has made Traverse City her home after a few years of traveling abroad while working on a cruise line. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, engaging in life’s adventures and places much value on learning from the “greatest generation.” She is passionate about social justice, and empowering individuals.
Wendy received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ferris State University. Currently, she works as an Interpreter Service Scheduler and an advocate for Deaf & Hard of Hearing individuals. Wendy is Deaf herself and uses American Sign language as her primary language. In her spare time, she teaches Beginning American Sign Language at Northwestern Michigan Community College. She enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking and spending quality time with three grandchildren.