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Meet Our People

Meet Our People 

The majority of our staff members are people with disabilities; we share many of your dreams and struggles, because we have lived them ourselves.

Our Board

CDE’s Executive Director and Charter Board Members have more than 100 years of combined experience with disability, advocacy and the independent living philosophy. Meetings take place at 10 am, the first Monday of the month. Please call for this month’s location.

Board Members

Sue Hetrick – Executive Director
Brandon Curry – Chair
Freddie Weeks
Tiffany McClain
Jane Perry
L. Scott Lissner


JoAnne Johnson
Katherine Betts
Julia McLaughlin
Nate Jackson
Meredith Burke


Our Staff

The CDE staff includes people from all walks of life who are dedicated to helping you make a plan to succeed through information and resources.

Susan HetrickExecutive Director
Sue Hetrick is the Executive Director of CDE and has more than 20 years experience advocating for individuals with disabilities. She served as advocacy and public policy director for the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, as a parent advocate for the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, and as regional leadership coordinator for ARC of Ohio. Sue has been honored with several national advocacy awards and has served on numerous disability-related coalitions, including the Ohio Olmstead Taskforce, the Secretary of State’s ADA Advisory Committee, and the Ohio Disability Employment Alliance. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from Bowling Green State University and is the parent of a young adult son who has developmental disabilities.

Shari L. VelebaInformation & Referral Specialist
Shari Veleba is an Information and Referral Specialist with CDE. She also works on marketing and media-PR services for CDE as well as for VOICEcorps reading service. She has more than 20 years of experience in the disability advocacy field, promoting the independent living philosophy and other disability-related programming. She served as a writer with the AXIS Center for Public Awareness of People with Disabilities for many years. Shari has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University. She is also an artist specializing in digital photography and acrylic painting. Shari has had epilepsy for the past 44 years.
Debra Hume PetermannAdministrative Assistant
Debra Petermann is CDE’s part-time Administrative Assistant . She also assists with the HOME Choice program as well as other CDE support needs.

Debra is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Consumer Economics. Her internship was with former Ohio House Rep. Mike Stinziano Sr.

In 2015 she retired as Church Relations Manager from Joni and Friends International Disability Center, where she served 10 years training pastors/churches in four states as well as in Honduras and El Salvador, on how to intentionally include and empower people with disabilities.

For the past 20 years, Debra has served as the director of Bridge Builders, a disability ministry for people with disabilities, their families and friends at Vineyard Columbus Church. She occasionally speaks at churches and periodically serves as a support person for a national speaker on autism.

Debra is married, has two daughters and is the sibling of a man who had developmental disabilities and autism.

Marly SaadeProgram Facilitator
Marly Saade is the Program Facilitator for the PCA Program, funded through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.
She graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Modern Standard Arabic and a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. She began working at The Center for Disability Empowerment because “I wanted to learn how to help and give back”. She states that her journey has been a wild one so far, but she continues to appreciate the many connections she is creating between people with disabilities and the resources available in the community. People want peace of security, and she hopes to be a supportive presence in that goal. Marly has been a “wheeler girl” for 11 years. (In other words she uses a wheelchair!)
Jamie LahrmerCDE's Youth Coordinator
Jamie Lahrmer is CDE’s Youth Coordinator. Born and Raised in El Paso, Texas, Jamie is a proud Mexican-American woman with Cerebral Palsy. Jamie came to Ohio with 10 years of experience working with youth with disabilities. Prior to moving to Ohio, she worked with youth at a Center for Independent Living in Texas and held the position as Director of the local Youth Leadership Forum for 6 years. She has done several public speaking engagements on living with a disability and how she became a self-advocate. She’s also attended countless trainings and conferences with the hope to share all that she has learned with today’s youth. Jamie’s number one driving factor has always been to empower youth with disabilities to become self-advocates and to prepare them as best she can for life after high school.
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