Tara M. Asai, Consultant, retired, Asai & Associates, Inc. Until retiring in 2018, Tara Asai worked over 35 years in educational, residential and employment services for individuals with disabilities and their families. She is a co-founder and former president of Oregon APSE. Tara was born and grew up amidst the idyllic orchards of Hood River, Oregon. As a young adult and the granddaughter of Japanese immigrants, Tara learned the power of stories and the deafening silence of the lack of stories when inquiring about the Relocation and life in “camp” during World War II. Believing that stories can be transformative ultimately inspired her work in Person-Centered-Planning, Discovery, training and consultation. Tara lives in Portland, Oregon.
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 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.
Amber’s ancestral roots are submerged in education, both Ethiopian and Irish family lines, and through those experiences have propelled her life deep into the theater, Justice, Abolitionist, and conflict resolution world, as an interdisciplinary trainer and facilitator. As a lifelong learner, Amber is thankful to continuously have opportunities to hold space for others internal connections + growth, that ultimately lead to community high vibrational action, epigenetic changes and the creations of Pro-Black liberated worlds. More practically, Amber’s non-profit, Spirited Justice, works in Public schools, and with businesses in Portland, OR, and internationally, training, mediating and teaching meditation with educators, students, Admin, and communities in all areas Justice, Equity, Abolition and Mindfulness related.