DSAIA Board & Staff

At DSAIA, we have a strong commitment to serving the members of our organization. Our primary goal is to make sure that our members receive the training, resources and support they need to be productive leaders within their organizations. Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The board and staff work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that our organization continues to deliver quality benefits to our members.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Julie Torzewski

President
Down Syndrome of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky

Julie is passionate about making the world a better place. She became the Executive Director of Down Syndrome Louisville in January 2019. Julie has experience in non-profit fundraising, cultivating donor relationships, strategic planning, building partnerships, creating fundraising groups, developing staff, and managing multiple major events and campaigns. She shared her personal life with her husband, three awesome children, and a weimaraner. 


Makini Aniwisye

Vice President
Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri

As the parent of a young adult with Down syndrome, Makini knows firsthand the beauty and challenges of advocating for and encouraging self-advocacy within the DS community.  She served 3 years as board member and secretary for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis and is currently a member of the staff of the DSAGSL. She has coordinated adult programming, including directing the award-winning DSAGSL’s Pop-Up Snack Shop, the DSAGSL’s Employment Academy, and education and life training sessions. She has been married for 43 years. She and her husband have 4 children, 1 son-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law and 8 grandchildren.


Lauren Camp

Past President
Down Syndrome Association of Delaware
Middletown, Delaware

Lauren is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware. She began working for this organization as their Program Director and has been with them for five years. Lauren also works for the National Down Syndrome Congress as a Policy Associate and the convention Kids' Camp Director. Lauren graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with a minor in Disabilities Studies. Her Master’s degree is in Public Administration with a specialization in Nonprofit Management.    


Heather Barnes

Treasurer
Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida
Winter Park, FL

Heather has 20 years of experience helping nonprofit and for-profit organizations build strong, sustainable programs. Heather is the Executive Director for the Down syndrome Association of Central Florida, where she helps manage a small staff of 2.5 FTE and a budget of approximately $550K annually. Prior to her work with the Down syndrome community, she spent 13 years working for Best Buddies, a nonprofit that serves the community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 


 

Christina Reaves

Secretary
North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance
Raleigh, North Carolina

Christina Reaves is a mother of a 10-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. She has been employed with the North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance for 5 years and has been the Executive Director for the past 4 years. As the leader of the North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance (NCDSA) team, Christina brings her knowledge of Down syndrome, business management, fundraising and program development skills to the organization. She previously was the Director of Family Programs for the Department of Defense. Her passion for working in the Down syndrome community shows in everything that she does. Christina and her husband Willie reside in Clayton, NC with their 3 children and 2 Great Danes.


 

Debbie Revels

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida

 

Debbie is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. As a native to Jacksonville, Florida, she is one of the founding members of DSAJ and has been actively involved since its establishment in 1989. Debbie has served on numerous boards and committees representing the Down syndrome community both locally and nationally. She is passionate and enthusiastic about serving individuals with Down syndrome.  Debbie has always received inspiration and hope from her family and her son Nick, who has Down syndrome. Debbie looks forward to the continued progress and achievements for all individuals with Down syndrome and to growing the acceptance and inclusion of these individuals within the community. 


Sheryl Arno

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia

Sheryl Arno has been in the field of developmental disabilities for 31 years. While she started working in the field with children, she has spent most of her career focusing on transition to adulthood and adult life. Sheryl was the creator of the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education movement in Georgia. She started with Kennesaw State University and now there are 8 programs around the state including all of the major colleges. She is a consultant with the Georgia State’s Center for Leadership and Disability as a parent liaison supporting the GAIPSEC. Currently Sheryl is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. She has been in this role for 5 years. While in the role she has been able to be a resource to families trying to get through all of the complicated systems that parents transition through. Under her guidance DSAA now supports individuals with Down Syndrome throughout their lifespan. Sheryl has been married for 31 years and has 3 children.

DeAnn Hunt

Member at Large
Arkansas Down Syndrome Association
Little Rock, Arkansas

DeAnn Hunt earned her BSN at Henderson State University in 1986. She worked as an RN, including as SICU RN, from 1986 until the birth of her son, Al—who was born with Down syndrome in 2003. After Al’s birth, DeAnn taught RN nursing students at Baptist Health School of Nursing for three years.  She has continuously volunteered for Easterseals Arkansas for over seventeen years.  She also founded and ran a summer day camp for children with DS for six years—from 2011 to 2017. She served on the statewide Advisory Board for Best Buddies Arkansas 2012-2015.  DeAnn joined the Board of Directors for Arkansas Down Syndrome Association (ADSA) in 2013; she was elected President of the Board in 2016.  

Alecia Talbot

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee
Hermitage, Tennessee 

Alecia became the executive director of DSAMT in 2012, after spending several years as an active member and volunteer in our organization and in the disability community. She is a strong advocate for inclusion and acceptance for those with Down syndrome and other disabilities in the community and schools, having completed the Vanderbilt Volunteer Advocacy Program, Wrightslaw training and other advocacy trainings. Her passion lies in helping those with Down syndrome show the world that those with “something extra” bring extraordinary gifts to our communities that should be recognized and valued. Alecia also serves on the Disability Coalition for Education, Vanderbilt's Disability Pathfinder Advisory Committee, the Tennessee Disability Coalition Board of Directors, Davidson County Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, and the Wilson County Family Support Advisory Board. In 2011 she was named Best Buddies TN Champion of the Year and in 2016 received the Nashville Business Journal’s Woman of the Year Award. She is also a National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition Member and NDSS DS-Ambassador.


 

Michelle Slape

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area
Fairfield, California

Michelle is the Program Manager at the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (DSCBA). Michelle lives in northern California with her husband and 2 sons. Her younger son, Cody, has Down syndrome and was her inspiration for her journey into the Down syndrome non-profit community. Prior to working for non-profit organizations, she was a programmer and software trainer for the Department of Defense. In addition to her role at DSCBA, she is also a professional photographer specializing in photographing children with special needs.


Meredith Peterson

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Meredith became the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh (DSAP) in April 2020 as the first paid employee of this growing volunteer-led organization. Prior to her transition to DSAP, Meredith was the program coordinator at the Down Syndrome Center of Western PA, which is a specialized medical clinic seeing the entire lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome. She also has 10+ years of human resource management experience. Meredith graduated from Messiah College with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Liberty University. Meredith and her husband Mike, have two teenagers. Her oldest, Macee has Down syndrome and ignites her passion to serve this community and make the world a more accepting space. 


David Egan

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia
Vienna, Virginia

David Egan is an eager advocate for people with intellectual disabilities at the local, national and international levels focusing on civil and human rights. He has served on several boards to promote abilities. In 2015, he was selected as a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Public Policy Fellow, first person with an intellectual disability in this position working on Capitol Hill with the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee and with the National Down Syndrome Society on employment issues.  Special Olympics plays a big role in his life with sporting events and advocacy both as a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and an athlete.  He competes in various sports and is active in leadership activities. Egan is a much sought after inspirational speaker all over the United States and throughout the world promoting the values of inclusion, dignity and respect. David currently represents individuals with Down syndrome at the National Institutes of Health Down Syndrome Consortium and has been acknowledged by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as a leader furthering research and participating in the INCLUDE project. He is featured in many articles, books, live media coverage and most recently is the author of : “More Alike Than Different: My Life with Down Syndrome.” 

Anna Emmerich

Member at Large
Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Anna Emmerich is a digital marketing and operations professional with over eight years of experience in a publisher environment and a passion for making an impact in my local community. With a bachelor's degree in non-profits, she has experience running a Young Professionals Board in Chicago, and launching one in Charlotte. She prides herself on creative problem solving and her ability to reach new audiences and provide analytics and insights. Anna is currently serving on the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte Board of Directors.


STAFF

Sarah Mulligan

DSAIA Executive Director
Missoula, Montana

Sarah is a parent of four—two of whom have Down syndrome. She lives and works in Missoula, Montana and her background is in early childhood special education. For many years, she has been the director of nonprofit organizations ranging from a parent education program to an international professional association. One of the best parts of DSAIA is that we are a community that shares information, offers support, and works together. As your Executive Director, keep Sarah in the loop about the issues facing your organization, great ideas you have to share, and just about anything else that will help us all create a world where individuals with Down syndrome have everything they need to be happy, successful, and productive.  

Contact Sarah via email or call (701) 354-7255.