TheCIL adopted the “Be Your Own Normal” slogan and reorganized its services, communications, and operating philosophy around the idea that “normal” is everyone and that we all possess talents, skills, qualities, and responsibilities that contribute to our community. Stuart led the organization in developing and updating programs, including an expanded AT program, new Lifestyles events, a life-changing Residential Access program, and the evolution of TheCIL’s Youth programs. Additionally, he brought new corporate partnerships and attention to TheCIL through the PowerOn! web series and its annual Ed Roberts Day event.
Before his tenure at TheCIL, Stuart spent more than twenty years as an executive in the sports and entertainment industry, living and working across four continents. He is an avid sports fan with allegiances to his childhood teams—the New York Giants and Knicks—but he’s vowed to be a die-hard fan of the Toledo Mud Hens and University of Toledo Rockets.
Stuart has a master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology and was a graduate assistant in their nationally ranked lacrosse program.
Hear origin story of The Ability Center’s podcast, 68 Words told by Stuart James.
Reven’s education began at ten weeks with Smart Start, followed by Puppy Curriculum, Foundations, and the Red, White, and Blue Series. She completed the first and second semesters of final training with ease and graduated from The Ability Center’s Assistance Dog Program at the top of her class.
It’s no secret that Raven loves to work. She excels at problem-solving, retrieval, finding keys, attending—and sleeping through—meetings, and public speaking, where she can showcase what she’s learned.
Swimming, dock diving, and agility running are some of Raven’s favorite activities when she’s not working. She also treasures family time and cuddling.
Raven currently resides in Maumee with Executive Director Stuart James.
In 2005 Ash was presented the “Spirit of Democracy” award, by former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, for his advocacy work in leading multiple County Board of Elections towards greater accessibility and compliance with the Help Americans Vote Act. In 2008 he was recognized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a key advocate in the passage of SB209, which provided expanded opportunities for hunters with disabilities. In 2012 Ash accepted the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging “Innovations—Aging Achievement Award” for his work in creating a programming which greatly expedited community living options for persons unnecessarily living in Nursing facilities. By 2019, after a decade of work, Ash’s Nursing Home Transition team transitioned their 850th individual back into Community Based living.
Ash has served as an appointed member to the Ohio Secretary of State’s ADA advisory committee, as well as The Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and has provided guidance to numerous entities in Northwest Ohio towards becoming more Disability Friendly.
Ash holds an Associate’s degree in Aerospace Technology from the Community College of the United States Air Force; a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College (SUNY) and has held an Ohio Realtors’ License as well as an ICC certification as an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner.
“Over the years, we’ve developed a strong team continually working toward a common goal of building and supporting inclusive communities.”
Debbie has her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications.
TJ and his wife Candace have three daughters (Sophie-Highland Elementary, Chloe and Season-Northview High School) and live in Sylvania.
Nick is a lifelong Toledoan who received his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship from Brown University. As Director of Development, he will design and execute the overall fund development vision and strategy to provide for the current and future needs of The Ability Center with an emphasis on major gifts and corporate sponsorships.
Nick and his son Bryce live in Sylvania with their dog Jack.
After their fun in the sun, Amanda and her family returned to the Toledo area to be closer to relatives. Having experienced the passion of non-profits, Amanda hoped to again find a role with a mission-driven organization and felt fortunate to have found a position with an essential and meaningful organization.
Cathy says, “Marc is why I am at The Ability Center today. I was seeking to join an organization that made a difference in the lives of others. I started volunteering with The Ability Center in 2009 and officially became an employee in 2010. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people who are passionate about the individuals we help on a daily basis.”
In her spare time, she loves to travel, and above all, she enjoys spending time with my family and friends.
In 2001, a want ad caught her eye. It contained the line: “Personal experience with a disability preferred.” After years of showing up for interviews only to find the office on the third floor of a building with no elevator, it was a relief to see these words. She had not been involved with Ability Center programming since her early teens but walking in the front door, she knew she was home.
Lisa adds, “Although my position is purely administrative, I know that, by keeping this office running smoothly, I am making a difference for all people with disabilities.”
She enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys away from the office, training and showing her dogs, or enjoying a good book with a strong cup of coffee.
Audrey shares her thoughts about working at The Ability Center, “I feel The Ability Center is a natural fit for me. I’m a very easy-going person, and I love helping others. I like volunteer coordinating because of the volunteers! They each bring different strengths, talents, and wisdom to our program. Together they help us achieve our goals. It’s a joy to watch the process of new puppies and fosters to graduation. Each milestone for the dog and volunteer leads to a purposeful life and rewards the dog and the individual receiving the dog.”
Audrey enjoys camping, exercising, church activities, and spending time with her family in her free time.
Kristina is a 2002 graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She worked in product research for a couple of years before realizing she missed interacting with people. Thankfully, a friend suggested The Ability Center, and Kristina joined the organization in November 2012.
In her free time, Kristina and her husband Darren enjoy going to county fairs, attending auctions, and taking in the beauty of the Metroparks. Two adult sons and a black lab named Kane round out the family.
Becky enjoys spending time with family and friends and finding tranquility in her flower garden when not at work.
Angie serves as a board member of The Toledo Area Alliance to End Homelessness, whose member organizations work collaboratively to help people at risk of or experiencing homelessness by providing leadership and advocacy.
Tammi shares, “I’m happy to be working at The Ability Center, knowing that I am a small part of big changes happening in my hometown. The opportunity to volunteer with our assistance dog program and make friendships with the other volunteers and consumers in the program is so rewarding.”
As an audio engineer, I hold a degree from the Florida Institute of Recording Sound and Show Production. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest names in country music at The Grand Ole Opry.
When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring the local dive bar scene and trying new craft beers. Additionally, I find great joy in fishing, traveling, camping, and spending time with friends and family. I also participate in support groups for individuals who, like me, have sustained spinal cord injuries.
Stacie resides in Perrysburg with her husband Chad and their 2 Cocker Spaniels. She is also an active member of the American Spaniel Club.
In addition to dog training, Meredith coaches high school golf at St. Ursula Academy. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and walking the dog with her husband.
In June 2008, Kim and her close friend Melissa Voetsch started Agility Angels. This program uses the sport of dog agility to help individuals diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder develop social skills, physical abilities, and self-confidence.
Kim has a daughter and son-in-law, two flat-coated retrievers, and an Irish Setter. The dogs have performed competitively in various events, including conformation, obedience, agility, field, nose work, and dock diving. Kim joined ADAI in the summer of 2017 as a Training Specialist. Training dogs to help others is a dream come true for her.
Janell is now back in Ohio with her five dogs, Zena, Mabel, Trixie, Daphnee, and Nugget. She looks forward to using her dog training skills in the Assistance Dogs program at The Ability Center.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations from Bowling Green State University.
Tabatha and her husband live in Oregon with their rescue pup, Daisy. Her hobbies include taking Daisy to different parks, gardening, working out, traveling, antiquing, and reading.
Jordan is the Client Services Coordinator. Jordan conducts initial interviews, home visits, assists in client training, and supports all of the graduates and their dogs. Jordan loves getting to build a relationship with each client she works with. There are many things she loves about her job, but her favorite days are when her clients get to meet their assistance dog for the first time. She absolutely loves partaking in the client experience of this powerful program and seeing all the magic that happens once a client receives their assistance dog.
Jordan graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She currently lives in Monclova with her husband, 2-year-old son, and dog. In her free time, she loves to exercise, go horseback riding, be outdoors, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and while there, she worked as an Adapted Recreation Assistant for the Office of Disability Services and volunteered with 4 Paws for Ability – it was these opportunities that allowed her to discover her passion for working with both individuals with disabilities and dogs. Julie has also earned her Animal Assisted Therapy certificate through the Animal Behavior Institute and has 9 years of experience working at Anne Grady Services as a Recreation Coordinator and as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional.
Julie and her husband live in Liberty Center with their Australian Shepard, Izzy. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, travelling, reading, and gardening.
After graduating, Katie accepted a position as a seasonal zookeeper at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Five months later, Katie became a year-round zookeeper at Fort Wayne working with red pandas, ring-tailed lemurs, prairie dogs, peafowl, and a turkey vulture. While at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Katie learned in-depth about animal behavior and training methods. After 2 years at Fort Wayne, Katie accepted a zookeeper position at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, working in the Small Mammal Department with red pandas, monkeys, apes, hoofstock, otters, Tasmanian devils, and more! Katie’s favorite animals to train were the red pandas. After leaving the Toledo Zoo, Katie went on to join The Ability Center in early 2023 as a dog trainer. Katie is excited to use her knowledge and skills of animal behavior and training to work with the Agility Angels program.
Katie lives in Swanton with her fiancé Eric and miniature schnauzer Zoey. In her free time, Katie enjoys exploring local parks and nature preserves, visiting zoos and aquariums, and traveling to northern Michigan.
She has a sister living with Down Syndrome and has been interested in Disability Rights law since law school, where she earned the highest ranking in her Disability Law class. Through her work history, she has gained experience with the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Brittanie likes to go to baseball and hockey games in her free time, visit the Zoo and Toledo Metroparks, and attend all of her son’s sporting activities.
Assistive Technology/Medical Equipment/Adult Independent Living Services
Sharing her thoughts, Becky states, “With my position at The Ability Center, I have a job that is less like work and more like living my purpose. I have a passion for advocating for people in my community who are underserved and in need of support to live an independent lifestyle. It is an absolute privilege to help remove barriers to equal opportunity and community inclusion.”
Away from the office, Becky is an advocate for local community members who have been victims of crime and AIM, The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. She also enjoys reading, gardening, walking, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two grown children.
After having her daughter, she worked in the family business to spend as much time with her as possible. Now that her daughter is older, Mindy feels fortunate to return to work full-time in a rewarding position at The Ability Center.
When she is not working, she loves hanging out with her daughter and husband, playing tennis, shopping, reading, and exercising. Mindy also enjoys backpacking and would love to travel around Europe, as she did after graduation.
Terry shares, “With nearly thirty years of experience as a carpenter-remodeler, I hope to bring a good deal of expertise to the ramp building program.”
Terry likes to spend his spare time with his wife Kim, his daughter Kirsten, and two grandchildren. He is also a big sports fan and enjoys many types of music.
Finance & Operations
Jack joined The Ability Center with more than 25 years of accounting experience.
Matt says, “I love my job at The Ability Center and enjoy talking sports with my friends and fellow staff members.”
Marketing & Outreach
While in college, she was involved in Delta Delta Delta sorority, where she was Vice President of Public Relations as well as Vice President of External Affairs on the Panhellenic Council, the governing body of all sororities on campus. Mallory says, “These leadership roles paired with internship and real-world experience have brought me here and allowed me to give back to the community through my love of marketing communications.”
Mallory lives with her husband John in Sylvania.
As a native Toledoan, Beth takes great pride in northwest Ohio and the many opportunities offered to strengthen the community. When the prospect came along to join The Ability Center, she knew it was the perfect chance to work with a dedicated group of folks to promote the many programs and services offered to people with disabilities.
Beth and her husband Mark are the parents of three grown children and are blessed to include spouses and two grandsons in their family. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, biking, traveling, reading, and relaxing at the beach!
Leah became involved with The Ability Center when she was a camp counselor for Camp Cricket in 2007. She participated as a counselor for the Summer Golf Camp program in 2009, as well as a counselor for the YMCA camps and Maumee Valley camps in the community. Leah was also a job coach for the summer of 2018 and 2019. She is excited to be a part of The Ability Center’s Life Skills program, where she can help students transition out of high school and prepare them for their future, whether it is going to college or finding a job.
Leah currently lives in Haskins, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with friends and family. She loves to be outside doing anything from playing catch, riding on the boat with her brother, or fishing at her parent’s lake house.
Says Jennifer, “I love helping families with children, and I hope my experience can make the journey easier for others. We can all share our experience to help others.”
Her favorite pastimes are going to the Toledo Metroparks and Mudhens games with her family.
Childhood Education from Lourdes University and Master’s in Curriculum and Teaching from BGSU.
Jennie was K-8 teacher for 8 years before joining The Ability Center as the Youth Independent Living
Jennie lives in Maumee and enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and reading. She also loves
animals and currently has 4 cats and 2 dogs.
Laurie is passionate about creating a sense of belonging and connection for everyone in our community. She finds great joy in supporting the personal growth journey as people discover their gifts in career exportation and employment opportunities. She appreciates the Ability Center for the impact they have on the community and all the wonderful people the organization brings together through our mission. The opportunity to work with our youth consumers is fun and always inspiring!
Laurie grew up in Toledo, but recently moved to a farm in Lambertville, Michigan where she resides with her family, two dogs and two retired therapy horses.