PNWEF 2020 Speakers



Barry Whaley

Barry Whaley works at the Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University College of Law.  He is the Project Director of the Southeast ADA Center, Principal Co-Collaborator with the University of Leeds (UK) Inclusive Public Spaces project, Co-Collaborator with the University of Queensland (AU) Gender, Equity, Disability, and Social Inclusion Mainstreaming Short Course, and Principal Investigator of the Mid-Atlantic Youth and Self-Advocacy project.  Previously, he was Project Director of the Supported Higher Education Project at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute. Barry was a Consultant for Atlas Research providing technical assistance and training for the Homeless Veterans Supported Employment Project.  For many years, he was Executive Director of Community Employment, Inc. a supported employment provider.  Barry has worked for the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. He began his career with the “New Neighbors” deinstitutionalization project, liberating people in state institutions to return to their home communities. 

Barry is an alumna of Indiana University and holds a Master of Science in Mediation, Arbitration, and Conflict Management from Sullivan University.



Debra McLean

Currently I am a self employed trainer. I have worked for a number of organizations on supported employment for people with disabilities and person centered planning since 1981 up to the present, including the University of Oregon, Oregon Health Sciences University, OTAC and WISE. I am dedicated to seeing all individuals thrive in the world of work.



Alex Koval

Alex believes strongly in the work he does for the Clark County Community Services Department in the Developmental Disabilities Program.  His work as an Office Aide includes an assortment of duties such as: processing billing invoices, tracking contracts, technical assistance requests and service authorizations, as well as a variety of other projects.  Alex has held other jobs in the past at PeaceHealth SW Medical, Cinetopia and Village Vendor but his current job blends his passion for inclusive communities with his skills in organization.  He really loves his work, his team and their mission.  He just celebrated his 5th year anniversary.  Alex has always been a connector for people and enjoys building relationships and mentoring others to see possibilities.  He passion and ability to see what could be makes him a skilled presenter and activist.



Wendy Taliaferro

Program Manager, Trillium Employment Services, Wendy is passionate about the rights and contributions of people with disabilities within their local communities. Her work with the University of Oregon focused on meaningful employment opportunities for people with more significant support needs, person centered planning, systematic instruction, quality improvement strategies and systems change. Wendy continued this work through a pilot project at Self Determination Resources Inc. (SDRI) which was replicated across the state as the brokerage system. In 2008 she moved her passion for inclusion to Trillium Employment Services as a Program Manager in Clark County Washington. Wendy has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication. She has been an instructor for OELN and the Employment Professional Certification Program through Highline. She is currently on the Advisory Board for NIKE/CBRE Supported Employment.



Debbie Thompson

Employment Specialist, Employers Overload



Kevin Dearborne

Cashier, WinCo Foods KD grew up in Vancouver, WA and graduated from Columbia River High School in 2007. He was involved in DECA and went as far as the State Conference. KD currently volunteers for Columbia River in the DECA program and with the basketball team. KD has had several jobs, but always dreamed of working as a cashier. At one position he had KD was told that he would “never be a cashier”. KD took some time off from Job Development to reevaluate his choices in life. He began looking for work again late in 2019 and was hired in May 2020 at WinCo Foods, working as a cashier.



Mer Stevens

Bio coming soon!



Aaron Brownlee

Having earned an MA in Clinical Psychology and working in residential treatment with youth, Aaron Fell into working as an IPS Employment Specialist in a Community Mental Health program in Chicago. This led to work with Oregon VR. As someone who has frequently checked the “other” box in life and experiencing my world change though my own coming out process he has observed how systemic functioning disadvantages his fellow “others” and daily works to reduce that discrepancy.



Teddy Walston

Vocational Rehabilitation



Debbie Caselton

Chair of Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP) with the City of Portland. DEEP is dedicated to enhancing a work environment that is inclusive and supportive of the City of Portland’s diverse workforce that is committed to quality public service. While working in Community Outreach for Environmental Services for 18 years, Debbie is one of the founders and has chaired DEEP for the past 14 years. DEEP oversees nine different Affinity Groups (Employee Network Groups). She is also one of the leadership team for the LGBTQ & Friends Affinity Group, was one of the founders and directors of the Portland Queer Film Festival for ten years, served on many boards of directors, including Portland Area Business Association (PABA), Equity Foundation, Lesbian Community Project, and SCRAP PDX.



Karen Williams

Karen Williams, Executive Trillium Employment Services. Trillium serves over 600 clients and over 400 businesses in Washington. Trillium believes that building a strong organizational culture, driven by learning and outcomes, results in quality services for clients. Karen obtained her Master of Public Administration from George Washington University, with a concentration in public policy and nonprofit management. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Disability Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Karen is a certified coach through the Hudson Institute.



Chisa O’Quinn

Chisa O’Quinn is a Social Worker who has traveled with individuals through the worlds of Corrections, Counseling, Disability Services, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse. What sets her apart as a leader and advocate in the field is her ability to creatively seek solutions in difficult situations, as well as her focus on person centered planning strategies. Chisa holds a Masters in Social Work from Portland State University. She has been in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 2003, starting as an Employment Specialist, Supported Employment Program Manager, and Personal Agent in Vancouver and in Oregon’s Brokerage system. Chisa is an avid spectator who enjoys watching sporting events, comedy shows, theater, movies and generally saying “yes” to new opportunities and activities that cross her path. Her primary focuses include Transition, Person Centered Planning, Community Building, and Diversity initiatives.



Wesley Anderson

Wesley E. Anderson is the Director of Training and Consultation Services at The Arc of New Jersey; where he provides technical assistance and customized workshops to supported employment agencies and schools throughout the state. A certified practitioner of The Teaching Family Model and Traumatic Brain Injury Specialist, Wesley has been providing supports to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 10 years. He started his career in Special Education and later supported employment as an Employment Specialist and Job Developer. A proven networker, he was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce Southern NJ to their Ambassador Committee. In his current role, Wesley also sits on the national board of directors for APSE, The Association for Professionals Supporting Employment First, and chairs it’s Professional Development Committee.



Wally Tablit

Wally Tablit is the current Vice President of Mission Services with AtWork! in Washington State, where he oversees Individualized Employment and Community Inclusion services in 3 counties. Wally is a recognized leader in the field of Supported Employment with over 23 years’ experience working with people with disabilities. He is known as a strong collaborator and colleague among employment providers, is a trainer and consultant both statewide and nationally, and is involved with many key projects to help successfully implement the Employment First movement. Wally was one of the original board members of The WA APSE(Association of People Supporting Employment First) Board, served as President of WA APSE, and was elected to the National Board of APSE in 2017.



Tom Gaulke

CEO, Entrust Community Services. Tom Gaulke MBA, has been with Entrust Community Services since 1989. He started as a skills trainer on the workshop floor, has been a job coach, a Job Developer, a Case Manager, a COO, and in 2013 became the CEO. Entrust serves over 800 people per year throughout 7 counties in Eastern and Central Washington. Passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities and other barriers to full community inclusion, Tom got involved with the Community Employment Alliance (formerly known as REW) in the early 90’s. Since then he has served on numerous committees, chaired the Legislative Committee, served as a board member several times, and served as CEA Board President 3 times. Tom believes that while providing services in very rural areas creates unique challenges, it also creates amazing opportunities.


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Troy Baker

Director of Oregon Operations for Witco, Inc. located in the Treasure Valley of Eastern Oregon/Western Idaho , Undergraduate and soon to be graduate of Eastern Oregon University. Has worked for Witco, Inc. for a total of 4 years and has been lucky to serve them in a variety of positions and titles. Believes the human service field is his calling and looks to make a difference in the lives of anyone he interacts with.


Kelly Graves

Kelly Graves is the President of Supported Employment Services, Inc, a for profit business founded in 1991 by her mother, Kathleen Snyder. SES, Inc. is rooted in the tenants of Supported Employment; focusing on full inclusion and integration into community job sites. Additionally, SES, Inc. offers Supported Living Services to assist our customers to live as independently as possible in their own home.



Regina Kline, Esq.

Formerly a partner at the law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy and Co-leader of the firm’s consulting practice Inclusivity, Gina is nationally known for her litigation and policy work in advancing the rights of people with disabilities. She previously served as Senior Counsel in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she provided legal and policy counsel regarding efforts to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C.’s mandate for community integration in employment, education, law enforcement/criminal justice, homelessness, and health care.



Ruby Moore

Ruby Moore is the Executive Director of the Georgia Advocacy Office, the designated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in Georgia. Ruby is nationally known for her work on behalf of people with disabilities for over 40 years, particularly in the areas of employment and the design and implementation of supports needed for people with disabilities to live, work and be educated in the community. Ruby has served as an expert in employment services for people with disabilities to the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and the US Department of Justice. She assisted the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to design an employment program to help 50,000 homeless veterans to access employment. She has testified before various federal administrative agencies and Congress concerning services and strategies that enable people with disabilities to secure competitive integrated employment. Ruby has worked closely with federal agencies to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She has served on the Labor Department’s State Employment Resource Rebalancing Project Research Team. As part of this effort, she assisted several states in evaluating their developmental disabilities, behavioral health, education and workforce systems, providing recommendations to improve these systems and facilitate compliance with Olmstead. Ruby has served as an expert and consultant in numerous legal cases, including landmark employment cases such as Lane v. Brown, a class action lawsuit challenging Oregon’s failure to offer supported employment services to individuals with disabilities served in sheltered workshops. Ruby is the past President of TASH and the current Co-Chair of the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL)-US Advisory Council.



Lisa Mills

Lisa Mills is a Consultant at Moving to a Different Drum, LLC. Dr. Lisa Mills has worked for thirty years in the field of disabilities, in both the US and the UK. Her passion for Customized Employment began nearly twenty years ago when she was an employer at organizations that hired people with disabilities and she supervised these individuals, recognizing that customizing their positions ensured the organization could maximize the contributions of these employees, while also ensuring the employees succeeded too. At the same time, Lisa’s passion for Systematic Instruction also started as she saw the benefits of effective training on worker performance and independence. Since 2006, Lisa has been associated with Marc Gold and Associates. She works mainly with state agencies and other funders on supported and customized employment, discovery and job coaching service models and funding structures that incentivize the best possible outcomes. Over the past fifteen years, she has worked in more than 20 states. Dr. Mills is also affiliated with the LEAD Center and ODEP’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring initiative and VOICE initiative. She also served as lead subject matter expert for the US DOL’s Advisory Committee on Competitive Integrated Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, during its first year of deliberations.



Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers works as a receptionist at the Washington State DDA. Micheal is man determined to live his best life. After years of being told “you can’t” Micheal found ways to show that indeed he can! After buying a house and making a home with his wife, Emily, he set out to reach more goals. At 40 he learned to read, at 45, he started using technology and joined the world’s conversations, able for the first time to get the news firsthand, send and read text and email, and join the social media craze. Michael understands that access can change the world, and this fuels his drive to create solutions.



Jennifer White

Jennifer White, CEO, Able Opportunities, Inc., jennifer@ableopps.com.

Jennifer White is a seasoned subject matter expert, designing and implementing projects that further Employment First strategies in transition programs and community employment agencies across the US. She specializes in successful business minded tools, innovative, person-driven, high-tech accommodations (see the Work Autonomy App on iTunes), and collaborative design resulting in structures that sustain successful employment outcomes. Her experience includes university research, collaboration to honor and include the culture of first nation peoples, and cross agency projects serving people with intellectual developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, dual diagnoses, addiction history and veterans. She is a corporate consultant supporting affirmative action hiring initiatives, starting with the WIN Program at Harrison Medical Center in 2006 to present work with international fortune 500 corporations.



Noah Seidel

Noah Seidel is a disabled advocate who works to support people with disabilities to live a full life and engage in social change. He joined the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds in 2017 as the Region 3 Developmental Disabilities Ombuds. Noah graduated from the University of Washington where he received a degree while majoring in Disability Studies, Political Science, and Comparative History of Ideas. He has worked in many ways to support people with disabilities and promote disability equality.



Resa Hayes

Community Educator, People First of Washington Resa Hayes has been volunteering as a self-advocate for so many years; she can’t even remember. Resa has served on a variety of state and local boards and committees, including SAIL, a Client’s Rights Committee, and is currently chairing a committee trying to close the Fircrest School in Washington State. One of her favorite jobs was to work at the United Cerebral Palsy Daycare Center. As a Community Educator for People First of Washington, Resa works with members one-on-one by calling and checking in on them to help them further develop their own self-advocacy skills. She lead the “Reaching my Own Greatness” and other trainings, and is always available to give input to her colleagues and the general public. When not out in the community, Resa loves to watch episodes of “I Love Lucy,” Westerns and other old movies. She lives on her own in the Spokane area with her sweet cat, Tigger.



Jordan Ohlde

Jordan Ohlde had worked over 20 years as a Floor Staff at the Regal Cinemas in Bend, Oregon when he was abruptly furloughed March 5th due to the pandemic. It’s a huge change for Jordan who started his job when he was a Freshman at Mountainview High School. He misses the favorite part of his job of meeting and talking with people. Jordan lives in a six-person communal residence of 2 apartments and 1 house. He is a strong advocate who actively participates in the High Desert Advocates, Employment First, Central Oregon Coalition for Access, and the Regional Public Transit. He is also on the planning committee for the annual Breaking Barriers Conference held in Redmond.



Kelly McCauley

Born in California, Kelly McCauley moved to Monroe, Oregon when she was five. She is multi-talented as an actress, musician, and writer and her favorite author is Stephen King. Kelly graduated from high school in 1999 and has worked at various food service jobs for many years. Currently, she does food prep as a Dishwasher / Diet Aide at the Conifer House Nursing Home / Memory Care in Corvallis where she has worked for close to four years. As she is considered an essential worker, Kelly practices health and safety precautions at home and at work. She has been tested twice for Covid19 and fortunately has tested negative. Future goals include going vegan (it’s going slowly) and exploring other careers.



Heidi Dirkse-Graw

Heidi is passionate about empowering and quipping employers to create diverse and inclusive workplaces that engage the talent of people with disabilities. She has worked in the field of disability employment for thirty years, creating innovative trainings and engaging businesses to create a culture of inclusion for people who have traditionally faced barriers. As the founder of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. she leads a team of fifteen professionals in the Portland Metro area who resonate with her passion and commitment. As a business owner, Heidi possess an informed perspective of the needs of business as they seek to hire and retain talent that reflects the richness of diversity, especially in disability employment. Her educational background and experience as a licensed professional counselor, nationally certified rehabilitation counselor, and workplace mediator have been the backbone of her successful practice providing consultation, coaching and training for employers in their disability inclusion efforts.



David Scott

David has been a Director of Sales with a range of hotels including Radisson, Courtyard by Marriott, Embassy Suites and now Curio by Hilton. One of the sales tools he continues to leverage is to share inspiring stories of Project SEARCH hotel interns with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Getting to know each class over eight years, David played a role in helping to find meaningful employment following their course completion. This came from hosting transition job fairs, touring potential employers through his hotel to see the interns on the job and calling employers that may be looking for applicants with equivalent transferable skills. Realizing bottom line numbers often hold more sway than inspiring stories, David began measuring the positive impact on hotel turnover, team engagement and customer loyalty. David is currently working towards creating a Disability:IN Affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska where he lives with his wife and two children.



Brian Collins

Brian Collins, Senior Manager, Microsoft Real Estate & Facilities. Based in Redmond Washington, Brian is currently responsible for leading Microsoft’s Workplace Planning and Change Management across the companies 14m square feet corporate headquarters. In addition, Brian leads the Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities Supported Employment Program. Brian joined Microsoft in 1996 as the Facilities Manager for the Dublin campus, and in his previous roles with Microsoft he was responsible for The Global Workplace Strategies Group; defining and driving the ‘Workplace Advantage (WPA)’ program; including Workplace research, knowledge management, change management project consulting across Microsoft’s global portfolio. He was also Area Portfolio Manager for RE&F in Central & Eastern Europe, and Facilities Manager for EMEA (Europe Middle East & Africa) where he coordinated facilities activities over 160 locations in 50+ countries.



Ken Kaneko

Ken Kaneko is the CEO of Forward Greens in Vancouver, WA. Forward Greens utilizes vertical farming practices to grow fresh produce while reducing natural resource requirements. A local cosmopolitan farm, focused on serving the environment and planting the seeds to create a cleaner future for generations to come. The farm provides the most efficient way to foster the tastiest greens, found in grocery stores across the Pacific Northwest. Ken’s primary focus is on creating a commercially viable business that can responsibly scale in relation to the community and environment. His former experience spans R/D and operations at Intel Corp. and Apple Inc. He currently serves on the Department of Energy, National Alliance for Water Innovation team for the agricultural sector.



Marie Gwilliam

Marie Gwilliam has worked for MV Advancements for twelve years, beginning as a Job Coach & Developer. She currently holds the position of Employment Division Manager for the Individual Placement team in Yamhill, Marion and Polk Counties. Marie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Religious Studies from Gonzaga University. Her path to supported employment began with lobbying for mental illness benefits in Washington D.C. and continued when she managed a Starbucks retail store. She began her career at MV Advancements because of one fantastic employee she hired at Starbucks that received supports through MVA. She is married with three children, and loves all things about living in McMinnville, Oregon including hiking and tasting local wines.



Tanya Young

My name is Tanya Young. I have worked most of my career in the Corporate or Government sector. My jobs have been managing a sales team and also becoming a district trainer in sales. I also have worked in Human Resouce and as a project manager. In 2012 I had a lifestyle change and decided to move back to Bend and update some of the certifications at Central Oregon Community College; while attending COCC, I worked selling appliances. In 2014 I was offered a job with Abiitree as a life skill trainer and then became the manager for Independent living. At the time, Abilitree was changing their model, and I joined the employment team as a job developer. What a great fit. I love to build relationships and connections. I refer to job development to Match.com; it is finding that right match for employers and clients and making a great profile



Emily Harris

Emily Harris has had the good fortune to be affiliated with people with disabilities throughout her life. She has experience as an employment consultant and as a Positive Behavior Support consultant with individuals, families, and employment agencies in the Pacific Northwest. She also has international consulting experience with employment agencies across New Zealand. Emily is committed to the concept of inclusion and full participation, and knows that employment is critical to equity. Emily is a primary trainer and the manager for the Oregon Employment Learning Network (OELN), a Person Centered Planning facilitator, and teaches the spring quarter of the Clark County Highline Employment Professional Certificate Program. Emily coordinates the Clark County Family Training Series, and helps to coordinate the Oregon Transformation Voices from the Field video series project. She holds a BS in Arts in Letters with a focus in women studies and English, and is a Certified Employment Professional through APSE. Emily is interested in creative, innovative, low-tech ways to support people to be independent on their jobs. Emily loves music (especially soul and oldies on vinyl), running, spending time with her family, and vintage shopping in small towns.



Eric Thompson

Hi! I’m Eric Thompson and I have autism. I run an Advocacy group in Medford Oregon called the Jackson County self-advocates. I’m also Sergeant at arms in OSAC.  My goal is to help high school students become the advocates that they are and meant to be.

For my spare time I like to read, write stories and I also play the piano and the guitar.


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