Executive Director – Jim has served as the Executive Director of Disability Network 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.
Associate Director – 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 and family.
Independent Living 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, her cat, writing, reading books and playing games. She lives in the Interlochen area with her family.
Employment Specialist–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 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.
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 the court system, Community Mental Health, private agencies, schools, adult foster facility, foster care and adoption agencies. Sherrie was hired in December 2014. She serves as Outreach Coordinator to seven 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 seven years. George lives in Kalkaska with his wife and three daughters. Besides working with the LIFE 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 Grand Traverse Industries 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 Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District 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 Grand Traverse Industries LIS'N program 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 Disability Network, 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.
Independent Living Program Specialist –David is a retired Special Education teacher who worked with a diverse population and a variety of disabilities. He received his Master’s in teaching from Calvin University. He served as a teacher at Rolling Green Elementary School, Traverse City West Junior High and Life Skills Center. He also served as a job coach with Transition Central, LSC and Michigan Rehabilitation Services. David volunteered and coached Bocce, basketball, Polly Hockey and biking with the Area 2 Special Olympics. David is devoted to advocating, teaching and coaching individuals to achieve their potential results for transition goals.
Independent Living Specialist - Options Counseling – 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.
Family Support Services Specialist – 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.
Independent Living Program Specialist –Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology from Michigan State University and studied International Health Care at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Since relocating to northeast Michigan, Jeff has worked in the mental health field. He is dedicated to the motto of “service above self “and living life to the fullest. He enjoys time with his family, mountain biking and hanging out with his two dogs.
Lacey received a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Central Michigan University. Lacey is a Certified Recreational Therapy Specialist and has previously served the as a Life Enrichment Director in a skilled nursing facility. Lacey recently moved to northern Michigan from the Lansing area and is excited to be working with the LIFE program and being a part of the Disability Network team. In her spare time, Lacey enjoys reading, hiking and various outdoor activities.
Independent Living Resource Manager, Quality Assurance Manager – 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.
Communications Manager – Kristin studied at Northwestern Michigan College and Lake Superior State University. She is a Traverse City native that brings over 20 years of community engagement, creative insight, volunteer experience and gleaned compassion to the Disability Network team. She thrives with a wellness lifestyle and life skills that promote personal empowerment and is passionate about living intentionally through art, nature and mindfulness while savoring life’s simple joys. Kristin operates a volunteer peer to peer resource that donates art programming to families of and organizations that work with our most vulnerable community members so they may experience growth and healing through the arts.
Independent Living Resource Specialist – A Bachelor of Science in Nursing led to working fifteen years in hospital-based care, as well as nursing homes and home health agencies. A Juris Doctor degree led to working as an Independent Living Guide and Employment Specialist, helping employees ask for and attain accommodations in their workplaces with Disability Advocates of Kent County. Lorna is ready to listen and identify barriers, give encouragement and assist you with achieving your goals. Lorna is here to help you figure out the next steps you can take to maximize your potential and provide guidance to life supports.
Recreation Coordinator – Chris is a Traverse City native who enjoys outdoor recreation, cooking, reading and listening to music in his spare time. He has a passion for advocacy and working to better the lives of those living with disabilities. Chris is the Recreation Coordinator for Disability Network's partnership with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Track Chair Program.
LIS’N Interpreting Services Scheduler – 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 and 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.