Employment Counselor, Ticket to Work
Andrea is an Employment Counselor with TransCen’s Employment Network partnership with the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program. As an Employment Counselor for Ticket to Work, Andrea assists individuals with disabilities who are receiving social security benefits who need assistance with career counseling, including helping them understand how social security benefits may be affected by work. Andrea has many years of experience working on disability employment issues, many of which have been at TransCen. Before working at TransCen, she was a Workforce Consultant with the New Mexico Employment Institute, leading the creation and implementation of the Institute’s mission and vision of successfully creating customized employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment. She has also worked extensively with New Mexico state agencies and organizations on the creation and development of jobs for people with a variety of disabilities.
Ann Deschamps, Ed.D.
Vice President & Director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Dr. Deschamps is Vice President of TransCen and the Director the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. As Director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Dr. Deschamps is responsible for overseeing all activities of the Center including supervising five staff, conducting and coordinating research, as well as implementation and coordination of the Center’s ADA Trainer Leadership Network (ADA-TLN). In addition, she works with all collaborators and manages joint activities with the other nine ADA Centers, as well as with NIDILRR. In addition, Dr. Deschamps provides training and technical assistance focusing on meaningful work and community inclusion to school systems, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and service providers and is also involved in other TransCen projects focusing on school to work transition, promoting youth leadership, and teaching self-advocacy skills.
She has a long history of consulting with schools systems and others on best practices in transition and employment for youth with disabilities. Her 27 year career has focused on full implementation of the ADA and successful school to work transition for youth with disabilities.
Breani Bridges joined TransCen, Inc. in December of 2021 as an Employment Consultant responsible for developing relationships with the business community and matching the needs of employers with the talents of job seekers with disabilities. She supports TransCen’s clients, youth and young adults with disabilities, to secure work-based learning experiences and employment opportunities. Breani started her career in the disability community working for the ARC of Montgomery County, Maryland where she was a Direct Support Professional supporting adults with disabilities through meaningful relationship building, allowing them to get uncomfortable and push themselves to try new obstacles. She was then hired as a Paraeducator with the Montgomery County Public School System in 2015 working with many different school based programs serving students with disabilities. During the majority of her Paraeducator time Breani worked as a Technician for Celebrate Ability where she worked one on one with students on the autism spectrum, helping them to gain independence in their homes and communities while creating and building up work tolerance.
Born in Washington, D.C., and then moving to Maryland where she has resided ever since, Breani graduated from Allegany College of Maryland earning a degree in Social Work, fulfilling her lifelong passion of giving back to families that were less fortunate.
ADA Education and Networks Specialist, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Carleen provides critical support to the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center and to the general public as an ADA Information Specialist. In doing so, she provides information to Technical Assistance callers who require information, support, and guidance on the ADA and other relevant laws. Prior to this position, Carleen was the Office Administrator for the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, working at TransCen, since 2014. Carleen previously worked with young children with disabilities through the ARC of Montgomery County, she was the Event Coordinator for a major bookstore, an editor for a hotel company, and a Church Parish Administrator.
Carleen loves to spend her non-work time with her family, especially her “two wonderfully curious and creative cubs” (her kids). Carleen’s unofficial motto is, “Life is truly a blink, so I believe time is better spent seeking expression over perfection.”
As Accounting Manager, Donna applies her extensive accounting, finance, and grants management experience to overseeing the organization’s finances, and managing the budgets and administration of its programs and grants. Donna plays a key role in driving infrastructure and business processes to improve efficiency and meet strategic objectives. Donna has almost 30 years of experience working in the non-profit space in both accounting and human resources roles.
In her spare time, Donna enjoys spending time with her grandsons.
Outreach & Contracts Coordinator
Emily is TranCen’s Outreach & Contracts Coordinator responsible for researching and cultivating partnerships; seeking out new funding streams; and organizing, collaborating and managing training and consultation projects and grants. Prior to joining TransCen, Emily was the Talent Sourcing and Engagement Consultant for Disability:IN, Inclusion Works, responsible for developing effective outreach and recruitment strategies that expand its corporate partner’s talent sourcing network. In addition to her role with the Inclusion Works team, Emily supported the organization’s NextGen Leaders Initiative, a mentoring program for students and recent graduates with disabilities, and its Webinar Series for Corporate Partners. Emily has a background in diversity recruiting, disability employment and return to work support programs, supporting private and public sector programs aimed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
A native of Montgomery County, and now living in Frederick County, Emily loves to spend time with her family including taking road trips and discovering new places to visit.
Laura Owens, Ph.D., CESP
Laura, the President of TransCen, has over 30 years of experience, with a strong background as a national leader in the disability employment field. Laura is currently a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Exceptional Education Department where she teaches courses focusing on high school inclusion and transition from school to work. She is also the founder and President of Creative Employment Opportunities, Inc. (CEO), in Milwaukee, which she founded in 1991. Prior to joining TransCen, Laura served as the Executive Director of APSE (the Association of People Supporting Employment First), a national organization focusing on the advancement of integrated employment for citizens with disabilities. She is an internationally known speaker having presented to businesses, organizations, schools, and at conferences in Israel, Ireland, Croatia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Chile, and Portugal.
A woman with seemingly limitless energy, Laura is passionate about her work and loves helping individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain employment. Working with individuals with disabilities is what she enjoys the most – and then she’s eager to support others in learning how to help individuals with disabilities pursue their dreams – from teachers to employment consultants to employers.
E-Learning and Multimedia Producer
Maynor Guillen is the E-Learning and Multimedia Producer for TransCen, Inc. and the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. Maynor has served TransCen in various capacities, as an ADA Technical Information Specialist he provided technical information and resources to State and local governments, businesses, organizations, and the general public on all aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Maynor is a true believer in TransCen’s mission, which is: improving the lives of people with disabilities through meaningful work and community inclusion.
He enjoys being outdoors, eating, traveling and spending time with loved ones. He is a tandem captain rider for the Washington Metro Association of Blind Athletes, he supports various organizations by participating in endurance cycling races and events, he has ridden his bike from DC to Pittsburgh.
Technical Assistance and Content Specialist, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Michelle supports training initiatives, technical assistance, special events, social media, and other outreach areas for the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. Michelle has been working in the field of accessibility and inclusion for over 12 years. Prior to joining the Center, Michelle served as an Accessibility Specialist and Accessibility Program Manager at Indiana University with an emphasis in access to experiences in recreation, parks, and tourism. Driven by a desire for justice in all aspects of the American experience, she takes pride in providing the necessary support to allow others to achieve their own aspirations for inclusion and equity.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Health & Physical Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Recreation Therapy from Indiana University.
Outside of work, Michelle enjoys camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, bowling, and playing games with her partner, Kathryn, daughter, Mika, and very good dog, Moose Potato.
Associate Director, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
As the Associate Director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Nancy Horton provides information and guidance to individuals with disabilities, employers, business operators, architects, and others. She also writes and edits a variety of articles, fact sheets, and bulletins on ADA topics, and develops training materials for the Center.
Ms. Horton has worked in the disability field for more than 30 years. Her experience includes conducting site accessibility surveys, architectural plans reviews, and trainings on accessible design, employment issues, and effective communication requirements.
Chief Innovation and Training Officer
Sean is TransCen’s Chief Innovation and Training Officer. He has worked on the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on VR Practices and Youth as the Knowledge Translation Manager and also on the Youth Employment Solutions (YES) Center as a Quality Control Manager. Prior to joining TransCen, Sean worked at the PACER Center helping to direct transition projects and spearheading the creation of PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment. Sean is an experienced trainer and presenter and brings strong and varied experience in the areas of youth employment, access to post-secondary education, and family engagement. Sean is also knowledgeable in juvenile corrections and inclusive recreation and has personal experience as the brother of an individual on the autism spectrum.
Sean was born, raised, and continues to reside in Minnesota. He has two boys who keep him acting young and feeling old. In his spare time he enjoys going on road trips with his wife (the true definition of a “better half”), seeing 80’s metal bands with his brother, and sneaking out for non-authentic Mexican food.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Lisa Swann came to Washington, DC early in her career to work as press secretary to U.S. Senator Robert Stafford of Vermont, a champion of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). She went on to work in strategic communications and marketing for a variety of nonprofit organizations both on staff and as a consultant. She specializes in messaging, branding, social media, website strategy, media relations and fundraising appeals and led communications for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day which attracted 150,000 people to the National Mall in Washington. Her concentration at TransCen is creation of a marketing and communications strategy to benefit the organization’s mission moving forward in helping more clients and furthering it’s important consulting work.
WorkLink – San Francisco, CA Office
Program Coordinator / Employment Specialist
Danita Eason is the program coordinator for the WorkLink program and supports the Project Search program as an Employment Specialist. She strives to help the people she serves find meaning in their lives.
In her free time, she enjoys creative writing, music, and organizing foodie gatherings.
Community Facilitator/Job Coach
As a Community Facilitator/Job Coach with WorkLink, Paul’s favorite aspect of his work continues to be the “magic moment” when a client masters a skill or gains an experience that he/she (and perhaps a family member) previously thought was unattainable. Before joining WorkLink, Paul worked for 3 years as Service Coordinator for a program in Oakland, California serving adults with developmental disabilities. Prior to entering this field, Paul worked in several different areas including: Refugee Education, Advocacy and Resettlement, Homelessness and Housing Advice. He also spent several years teaching English as a Second Language in Europe and South East Asia. Paul hails from Manchester England.
As the father of two teenage kids, Paul doesn’t get a lot of free time, but in those rare moments, he is often to be found writing and singing songs, in the music halls and listening rooms of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Roberto Morales Alverez
Community Instructor, Project SEARCH
Robert joined the WorkLink team in 2019 as the Project Search liaison, where he supported individuals with developing transitionary skills to enter the workforce. He currently operates as a community instructor; working with clients and their families to create meaningful change in the community. Robert enjoys seeking creative ways to support individuals with achieving their goals. A favorite focal point of what he does at WorkLink is the analytical problem solving with an incredible team.
With his spare time, Robert focuses on many of his hobbies (and is always looking for more to take on). He enjoys cooking, quilting, and gardening. Recently, he’s taken on whittling and bird watching: crafting and making paintings for family and friends.
Sara is the Director of WorkLink, TransCen’s San Francisco-based employment program for job seekers with disabilities. Sara is also a key contributor to the training and technical team where she works with employers, school districts, parent groups, and service providers. She also provides field support for many of TransCen’s federal and state initiatives. Currently, she is a subject matter expert for ODEP’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, where she provides technical assistance and consultation to state agencies and providers in capacity building in effective practice, system/provider transformation, school-to-work transition and employer engagement. For the past 30 years, Sara’s focus has been on school-to-work transition and employment for individuals with disabilities. She has extensive experience in direct service, policy and program development, and system transformation.
When asked what her passion is and what she can’t stop talking about, Sara will respond: “My work. My work. My work.” She also loves music, traveling to exotic locales, cooking/baking, taking her dog to the beach, and reading the New York Times on Sunday mornings.
Creative Employment Opportunities (CEO) – Milwaukee, WI Office
Dwight Johnson, CESP
A native Milwaukeean, Dwight has been an Employment Consultant with Creative Employment Opportunities since 2005. His passion is working with individuals with high support needs and helping them become more independent on the job. Dwight’s creativity and dedicated support has led to permanent employment for individuals with significant needs.
Dwight worked for Milwaukee Public Schools as an educational assistant for 30 years, supporting at-risk students and students with disabilities. He has been trained as a trainer for Systematic Instruction by Michael Callahan (Mark Gold and Associates). Dwight is a huge Packers fan, and also enjoys golfing in the summer, and dabbling in the stock market.
In October of 2020, Gregory Shaw joined Creative Employment Opportunities (CEO) as an Employment Consultant. Greg has a wealth of experience working with at-risk youth and serving as a facilitator for youth and families interacting with the juvenile justice system. He has worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist, Case Manager and Teen Program Coordinator. In his role at CEO, Greg is a facilitator for employment skill training programs and also provides employment exploration, placement and skill instruction.
Greg holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science-Criminal Justice from Bryant Stratton College in Milwaukee. In his free time he enjoys cooking, fishing and spending time with family.
Mariah Washington joined Creative Employment Opportunities (CEO) in August of 2020 as an Employment Consultant responsible for providing skill instruction and employment exploration for people with Disabilities. She brings previous experience in skill instruction and on-the-job training, and is passionate about working with clients to identify creative solutions to employment barriers.
Mariah holds a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and she is currently working on a Master Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University. In her free time she likes to read, cross-stitch and hike with her family and friends.
Mary Ann Beckman
Community Facilitator and Grant Specialist
As a Community Facilitator and Grant Specialist, Mary Ann assists with developing systems and seeking funding for innovative projects. She provides communication and problem-solving support through small groups and one-on-one sessions for individuals with high anxiety or other mental health issues in their post-secondary education and employment endeavors. She also consults for various K-12 schools in the area as well as for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she completed a Ph.D. in Urban Education Leadership. Mary Ann has over 30 years in the education field, with an emphasis on transition, as an administrator and teacher in both general and special education.
When she’s not working with individuals with disabilities, Mary Ann can be found hiking with her husband, Jim, spending time with her adult children and grandbabies, or simply exploring and looking for new adventures.
Program Director / Project SEARCH Liaison
In her role as Program Director for Creative Employment Opportunities, Robin is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of employment programming for individuals with disabilities and providing training and support to a professional staff to ensure the delivery of high-quality services. Robin is also responsible for researching and assisting with grant proposals and alternative funding mechanisms to provide creative solutions for the provision of services.
Robin has a Master’s Degree in Science and Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Chicago. Robin has extensive experience in nonprofit management, social policy and program development, marketing and fundraising, and has continued to serve as an advocate for people with disabilities over the past 25 years. When not working, Robin enjoys spending time with her family, reading, gardening and cooking with her kids, running, and traveling.
Employment Services Coordinator
Employment Consultant/Job Developer, Project SEARCH
Victoria has over 20 years’ experience as a Transition Coordinator and Teacher in the public schools. Victoria’s Bachelor of Science Degree is in Special Education (PK-12) and Elementary Education. Her Master’s Degree is in Educational Administration. Victoria loves connecting individuals to their dream jobs and careers. When not working, she loves to spend time doing Creative Writing, reading and exploring nature through travel. Moreover, she loves to spend time with her daughters, husband and son-in-law; her brothers and her extended family.
Employment Services Coordinator
Tasia Pinkham joined Creative Employment Opportunities (CEO) in April of 2021 as an Employment Consultant. In February of 2022 Tasia was offered a new position to oversee employment programming as the new Employment Services Coordinator. She is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations for continued growth and implementation of employment services as well as providing support to a professional staff to ensure the delivery of high-quality services. She has previous experience working in career services for three years at University of Wisconsin-River Falls providing students assistance with career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, and interview preparation. She is passionate about providing clients with the tools to be successful as an individual, an employee, and a part of their community.
Tasia holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a Master’s of Education in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In her free time she likes to play rugby, go on adventures with her dog, and explore new restaurants.