The PolicyWorks Board of Directors is a stellar board that combines veterans in disability and employment policy and practice with emerging leaders in these fields.
Steve is the National Services Coordinator and also serves as Staff to the Board of Directors. Steve’s home base is in Carrabelle, Florida.
Rayna Aylward is co-founder and co-chair of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, which focuses on strengthening the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities. Established in 2014, the 50-member coalition hosts the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, honoring exceptional individual mentors and mentoring programs across the country. Rayna also teaches English as a second language at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.
As a presidential appointee under President Obama, 2009-2013, Rayna served as Special Assistant to the US Secretary of Education, with a policy focus on college and career readiness and school to work transition. She initiated the Department of Education’s first internship program for youth with disabilities, an interagency collaboration and partnership with the District of Columbia school system that has become a federal model.
From 1991 to 2009, Rayna was Executive Director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, a corporate foundation serving children and youth with disabilities. At the Foundation, she launched several signature programs, including the Congressional Internship Program (in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities), which enables college students with disabilities to take part in summer internships on Capitol Hill. Under her leadership, the Foundation provided the first national funding to such nonprofit organizations as Partners for Youth with Disabilities (Boston), Kids Included Together (San Diego), and Project SEARCH (Cincinnati).
Rayna has extensive overseas experience, having served as a teacher, journalist, and diplomat in Latin America and the Middle East. Throughout her career, education, inclusion, and cross-cultural communications have been priority themes.
A Chicago native, Rayna received a BA in English from Beloit College and an MA in Literature from Boston University.
Shawn Fiala is a vocational specialist with the WorkAbility III program in the San Diego Community College District. As a vocational counselor, Shawn serves students with disabilities enrolled in the District and supports them in all aspects of their job search and toward competitive and integrated employment. Shawn is a double alumnus of San Diego State University (SDSU) and holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling with a specialization in cognitive disabilities and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. As a rehabilitation counselor, Shawn’s goal is to see his students reach their maximum potential through post-secondary education and employment.
Shawn began working with Daniel’s & Associates and PolicyWorks as an undergraduate student at SDSU. This began with the Ticket to Work ambassador project and continued through other efforts after graduation. Later, as a graduate student, Shawn continued his work for PolicyWorks as part of the “Bridging the Gap from College to Career Transition Program” where Shawn served as the peer mentor to students with disabilities enrolled in the “Professional Development and Disability” course at SDSU. As a new member of the board, Shawn hopes to bring his experience as a direct participant in PolicyWorks initiatives to the forefront. In addition to his work as a rehabilitation counselor and with PolicyWorks, Shawn also serves on local committees related to advancing the employment of persons with disabilities and in collaborating with other professionals in vocational rehabilitation to provide training to employers on hiring practices and disability issues.
Eric Glunt, PolicyWork’s Vice President, is a senior staff member at San Diego State University’s Interwork Institute and also serves as Director of the California Health Incentives Improvement Project (CHIIP).
As Director of CHIIP, he is responsible for focusing the state’s attention and resources toward systemic changes that will support individuals with disabilities in their efforts to connect to jobs and careers and lead independent lives. In this role, he is embedded in California’s Employment Development Department and has offices at the agency’s Sacramento headquarters.
CHIIP partnered with Daniels & Associates to develop and implement the peer-mentoring program that forms the core of the Access CQ Project and has provided financial support to PolicyWorks’ peer mentoring program as a college-to-work transition program within CHIIP’s youth programming initiative.
Anthony Jones is a man of many talents. He is an artist, teacher, quilt maker, community builder, and social entrepreneur. He is currently serving as CEO of Bright Community Trust, Inc., a Florida-based nonprofit community development entity working to assure that a supply of permanently affordable housing options is available to all members of the Florida community. Under Anthony’s leadership, Bright Community Trust has established Community Housing Development Organization status with the Cities of Largo, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. He was also instrumental in establishing the Community Land Trust model as a community housing strategy. The Land Trust now stewards over 500 units of rental housing and provides permanently affordable housing to more than 60 families.
Anthony is a Retired Director of Pinellas County Community Development and the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County. As public finance managers, the department was responsible for the annual distribution of up to $40 Million dollars in funding and bonding authority from Federal, State, and local funding sources, partnering to produce over 10,000 units and over $1.25 billion dollars of private investment in affordable housing over his public service career. As public policy advocates, Anthony’s departments planned, developed, and implemented neighborhood revitalization, community improvement and housing policy strategies as well as activities that promote homeownership and rental housing opportunities. Under his leadership, Pinellas County’s programs have won National awards. Anthony led the establishment of the Pinellas Community Housing Trust Fund which directed $19,000,000 of local ad valorem dollars to affordable housing efforts and the Pinellas Land Assembly Fund which directed $15,000,000 of sales tax revenue to workforce.
Anthony is a former vice-president of the Florida Housing Coalition and former vice-president of the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless. He recently served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Florida Community Loan Fund as Chair of Community Development Lending and was a board member of the National Community Land Trust Network. Anthony is a founding director of Tampa Bay Harvest and the HomeBuyers Club of Tampa Bay and has also served as a board member of the Pinellas County AIDS Coalition and the Mustard Seed Inn. He is also a director of the Pinellas Community Housing Foundation and is a member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Tampa Bay, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Neighborhood Lending Partners, Contemporary Housing Alternatives of Florida, and the Tampa Bay Community Investment Coalition. Anthony also serves on the teaching faculty of the Community Real Estate Development certificate program at the University of South Florida’s John Daley Florida Institute of Government.
Anthony has a true passion for affordable housing finance and community development. His many years of active involvement with community development and community investment initiatives provide a tremendous level of expertise and passion to the community.
Ann Wai-Yee Kwong passionately creates, implements, and evaluates innovative strategies around education and employment readiness of disadvantaged youth in her roles as the Transition Program Specialist at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and a Ph.D. student in education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ann received her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education from UC Berkeley as a Gates Millennium scholar. Ann’s intersectional identity and lived experience as a blind woman who emigrated from Hong Kong greatly impact her work and research.
In her role at the LightHouse, Ann designs and implements innovative programs to support the transition of blind and low vision youth as they pursue post-secondary education or navigate the pathway to meaningful employment via empowering expectations, interactive work-based experiences to expand their resumes, as well as effective mentoring. Engaging with employers on best practices to better source and attract young talent with disabilities, shifting the culture around disability, and influencing policy can culminate in maximum impact and innovative solutions.
Prior to the LightHouse, she worked as an education technician intern in Washington DC disaggregating student suicidality data and analyzing its negative impact on both student and school excellence. Ann also contributed to a project with the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) on implications of cultural reciprocity with the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and pre-employment transition services. In addition, Ann co-founded Survive or Thrive where she designs and facilitates workshops as well as mentors youth with disabilities and their families. Her research passions include: creation of innovative workforce development curriculum for transition age youth with disabilities, self-determination, and employer engagement.
In a professional capacity, Ann has been invited to share her expertise and discuss promising practices regarding youth with disabilities as they enter the workforce at The Forum on Workplace Inclusion; in 2014 she testified at the U.S. Senate hearing to advocate for herself and others, informing policy makers of the attitudinal and tangible societal barriers which limit the potentials of people with disabilities. Ann also serves as research consultant and advisory committee members for both nonprofits and government agencies including the California Department of Rehabilitation’s Advisory Committee, Disability Rights California, and PolicyWorks. Through her research and advocacy, Ann hopes to continue empowering youth and families to envision, define, and achieve their future aspirations together!
Sharon McCone is the president and principal of Prosigo, LLC and is a Certified Master Coach, Executive Recruiter, and Diversity Advocate. She has successfully coached executives, aspiring executives, public servants, Fortune 10 leaders, transitioning military service members & their spouses, and students entering the workforce. Having a 10+ year history of Executive Recruiting and Career Advancement Coaching, she has spoken at numerous local, state, national and international conferences. Sharon served on the Diversity Committee of the American Society of Association Executives and as a mentor for the Diversity Executive Leadership Program. She is currently a mentor with the National Professional Women’s Association.
Sharon’s servant leadership style has been tapped by previous employers, including Fortune #1 Walmart Stores, Inc. in the Washington DC office and Corporate Affairs and Government Relations departments, executive director roles in nonprofit training and development organizations, and in service with indigenous populations in South America.
Sharon’s career began with Arkansas MR-DDS and, throughout her career has advocated for people with all types of disabilities with a focus now on equal employment opportunity for all people.
Nancy A. Starnes has dedicated over 25 years to advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. She uses her public service and non-profit work to deliver the promise of economic and social parity to people with disabilities that those without disabilities have come to expect. Nancy entered public life as the first female to be elected to Sparta, New Jersey’s Town Council and subsequently served as Mayor. She served two New Jersey counties as Director of their Offices for the Disabled.
She was a senior staff member for10 years with the National Organization on Disability (NOD), working in program development, human resources, communications and upper management. Prior to NOD, Nancy was Chief Operating Officer for the Paralysis Society of America (a civilian initiative of Paralyzed Veterans of America).
She is currently serving a Presidential appointment to the U.S. Access Board, an independent Federal agency that develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunication equipment, electronic and information technology and for medical diagnostic equipment, as well as enforcing accessibility standards that cover federally funded facilities.
Nancy has also served as a board member of: the Northeast Disability and Business Technical Advisory Council (DBTAC), Region II, the National Coalition on Disability Rights/ADA Watch, the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, DOT Forum Group and the Transportation Security Administration’s Disability Coalition. She has represented people with disabilities on Delta Air Lines’ Customer Advisory Board, Northwest Airlines’ Customer Advisory Board and currently serves on Greyhound Lines, Inc. Access Advisory Committee.
Nancy Wells is an advocate for individuals with disabilities in her profession, community, and her family. She is the parent of two adult daughters on the autism spectrum. Throughout their life, Mrs. Wells has worked to be an informed parent on the issues and goals that lead, or are barriers, to a fulfilling, independent life for her children and others.
Once her children were grown, Mrs. Wells received her master’s in a dual degree program, Community Counseling/Marriage and Family Therapy, from John Brown University. She became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2010.
She is the owner of Nancy Wells Counseling, holds a specialty license in technology-assisted distance counseling, and is a board certified cognitive specialist. She has a general practice, but works mainly with individuals with disabilities and their families.
AbleTalks, a non-profit serving autistic adults (21+) was created by Mrs. Wells in 2015. AbleTalks focuses on a triad of needs related to continuing education, mental health supports, and work/life maneuvering. The goal of AbleTalks is to allow individuals to become the experts of their own lives. It is also free to its participants.
Mrs. Wells has served on the Arkansas Legislative Task on Autism since 2015. She is a board member for Journey to Independence, a nonprofit that connects individuals with meaningful employment. She volunteers with the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center, Arkansas Support Network, and Lifestyles, Inc.
Mrs. Wells has lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for over 40 years and consistently finds new opportunities for making new connections.
Kristen Willard, MS brings to PolicyWorks more than 20 years of experience in project management and research on health-related projects. She began her career at Georgetown University, supporting bio-behavioral research related to genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. In the years that followed, while at Florida State University, she conducted research in affect and epilepsy at Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She has also worked in research, evaluation and project oversight in literacy, veterans’ services, and medical examiner competence.
While supporting the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program as a Mental Health Specialist, Kristen worked to increase and improve tools and supports linking individuals with serious mental illness to employment support service providers. More recently, she served as the Technical Assistance and Support Center Manager for the program, managing a team responsible for supporting the effectiveness of 1,000 disability employment support providers across the United States.
She currently serves on the Care Delivery Team at the COPD Foundation in Washington, DC. As the Director of Population Health & Care Delivery, Kristen is responsible for connecting healthcare professionals, health systems administrators, and policymakers to the Foundation resources that can help to improve patient lives and optimize care across the health continuum.