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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
Eileen Asher
Dr. Kristen Jackson
Katie Robinson
Julia McLaughlin
Courtney Walker
January Howe

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 Founder and Executive Director of CDE and has more than 30 years of experience advocating for individuals with disabilities. Prior to opening CDE she served as advocacy and public policy director for the Ability Center of Greater Toledo,. Sue has been honored with several national advocacy awards. The Justice for All Award was presented by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the National Council on Independent Living presented the Region V Advocacy Award. She has served on numerous disability-related coalitions. Sue is a successful grant writer. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from Bowling Green State University and is the proud parent of two adult sons, a favorite daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Her younger son is the inspiration for her life’s work.

Debra Hume PetermannTransition Coordinator/Community Connector

Debra is a CDE Transition Coordinator and Community Connector. She is also the Project Manager for CDE’s Ohio Family Network grant from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. In 2021 Debra has become an Ohio Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse.

In 2015 she retired as Church Relations Manager from Joni and Friends International Disability Center, where she served 14.5 years training pastors/churches in four states (Ohio) as well as in Honduras and El Salvador, on how to intentionally include and empower people with disabilities. Debra had served 26 years as the Director of Bridge Builders, a disability ministry for people with disabilities, their families and friends at Vineyard Columbus Church. She continues to lead the Body Builders Sunday School Class for teens/adults with disabilities. 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.

Rajai SalehHousing Specialist

Rajai holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Services from Wright State University. She brings over 10 years of experience working in the disability field, including advocacy work. She previously worked at Disability Rights Ohio and was a Coordinator for the Ohio Olmstead Task Force for many years. Having a physical disability herself, Rajai understands the difficulties it takes to navigate through this world and brings her personal experience as well as professional experience to the table. Rajai is also currently the Secretary of the Ohio Olmstead Force and is a Board member of the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council.

Ann HeilbrunnEmployment Specialist

Originally from Rochester, NY, Ann later moved to Dayton, Ohio where she graduated High School.  She is an Ohio University graduate, and there she met her husband. She began her career as a Recreational Therapist at The Department of Youth Services, eventually becoming a certified Training Officer.  Ann worked for Franklin County as a Program Facilitator/ Employment Coordinator helping incarcerated individuals learn Time and Money Management, Job Readiness and assisting the individuals to find employment.  Upon leaving the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility she began working at The Center of Vocational Alternatives, helping consumers with Mental Health and other barriers to find and maintain employment. Immediately prior to joining CDE Ann worked at Alti Initiative focusing on employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has 2 grown children. Her oldest lives in New York City and is a journalist for Business Insider and the youngest works at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Day Care.  She is also a proud Dog and Cat mom!

Zoe WenkYouth Transition Coordinator

Zoe holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Ohio State University where she graduated with research distinction. She has worked with youth with disabilities as a teacher for three years and has volunteered in various ways within the disability community in Columbus for more than nine years. Zoe is very passionate about the empowerment of people with any type of disability of any age. She is a strong advocate for the equal opportunity of those with intellectual disabilities in higher education. In her free time Zoe creates art, music and loves to read.

Queena PrinceHousing Specialist

Originally from Southeast Ohio, Queena graduated from The Ohio State University with a BA in Sociology and from the University of Southern California with a Master of Education. She has professional experience working as a Legislative Aide for the House Minority Leader at the Ohio House of Representatives, and as a Diversity and Inclusion Project Coordinator at Warner Bros Discovery. Her true passion involves being an advocate for marginalized groups and one day she hopes to become a mental health professional. In her personal life, her hobbies include spending time with her adorable puppy, roller skating, attending events and concerts, and learning how to sew.

Dawn IrvingOffice and Community Outreach Coordinator

Originally from Louisiana, Dawn is a Navy Veteran who has traveled extensively both during and after her time of service. Dawn has worked in and out of the field for various cable and utility companies and now she is the Office and Community Outreach Coordinator for ALL of the programs at CDE. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Human Resources and specializes in Organizational Processes.

Dawn is also the wife of a Disabled Navy Veteran and has a son who has been medically retired from the US Navy due to an injury. She is the sole caregiver to her 82-year-old mother that has Dementia. She has several family members with disabilities and has been an advocate for them all of her life and will continue to do so for the rest of it.

In what little free time, she has left, lol. Dawn is an avid reader, writer and has a small craft business of her own.

Jennifer KuceraHealthcare Outreach Coordinator

Jennifer has vast lived experience as an advocate for the disability community on the local, state and federal levels. She previously worked for Services for Independent Living in Euclid, Ohio as a nursing home transition coordinator assisting people to discharge from institutional care and re-enter the community of their choosing. She helped locate housing, purchase furniture and household items and arranged service and supports so they could live successfully in their community.  Currently Jennifer is the Chair of the Ohio Olmstead Taskforce’s Direct Care Workforce Crisis Workgroup. She is a governor-appointed member of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.

Jennifer has also served as a Hotline Counselor, Community Educator, Board Member and Volunteer for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. She has a BA, AS and AA in Mathematics and Psychology from Baldwin Wallace College and Cuyahoga Community College where she has also served as an Adjunct Math Instructor and has her own private tutoring company.

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