Meet The Team
An attorney, activist, and organizer, Stephanie is passionate about Disability Rights and empowering people with disabilities. Stephanie has litigated, worked for two U.S. Senators, and led a disaster response ground team in Puerto Rico to assist disabled people in distress after Hurricane Maria. As a proud disabled woman, Stephanie credits her success to mentoring she received from member of the Disability Community starting in her early twenties and is committed to helping even more girls and young women with disabilities through mentoring.
Director of Programs
Sophie is a disabled bisexual woman who loves to create spaces where disabled women and girls have the opportunity and support to embrace their leadership potential and follow their passions. Throughout her career she’s been committed to the Disability Community, specifically helping youth and disabled people find their voices. Most recently, Sophie worked at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) as the Summer Internship Program Coordinator. Previously, Sophie worked in the Office of Student Life at Mars Hill University in rural North Carolina and before that as a Systems Advocate at a disability rights organization. Sophie has long been supported by incredible mentors and supportive communities and she hopes to pay it forward by helping other disabled women see their full worth.
Curran is a thriving disabled woman aiming to make her mark on this world while breaking barriers and stereotypes about the Disability Community along the way. Born and raised in Georgia, USA but now living in London, England, she just completed her studies to become an occupational therapist this year! Curran previously served as a mentor for EmpowHer Camp and is excited to continue providing enriching experiences for young women to become leaders as the EmpowHer Camp Director. Throughout her life, Curran did not have disabled women mentors besides in sports, and she did not really have a clear direction on what she could accomplish. Curran grew up playing wheelchair basketball which led her to become a student athlete at the University of Illinois. After graduation, she found her love for occupational therapy while working as a peer mentor at the Shepherd Center. Curran believes it is imperative to have disabled representation in the able-bodied dominant healthcare field. Curran was recently inducted into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame for her great mentoring efforts.
Meet The Board
Kathryn is a lawyer who has a history of working to advance disability rights and change public policy to support inclusion and accessibility. She works in aging services and volunteers in numerous capacities, including as Vice Chairperson of the State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) and Vice Chairperson of the Accessibility Advisory Committee to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency. She serves as a mentor to a Young Leader graduate of EmpowHer Camp.
Board Vice Chair
Paul Timmons is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BA in Journalism. He lives with quadriplegia from Guillain Barre Syndrome. He has been involved in Disability Rights work for over thirty years, including ADAPT, Atlanta Paralympic Congress, the Spirit of ADA Tenth Anniversary Torch Relay and as founder of Portlight Strategies and the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. He and his wife Kelly, an EmpowHer Camp Mentor, continue to work together on disability rights issues, as well as food justice issues.
YaVonka Archaga is the Executive Director and CEO of Resources for Independent Living in Louisiana. During her over 20 years as the CEO, YaVonka has managed over 500 employees. YaVonka has been a federal reviewer for over 15 independent living centers. She is involved with several organizations including the Lousiana Black Mayors Association, New Orleans' Mayor's Advisory Council, Lousiana State Independent Living Council, and the board secretary for the Bissonet Country Club Board of Directors. YaVonka has a Master's in Health Administration and a Bachelor's in Accounting.
A native of upstate New York who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, Jenifer is a graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University Law Center. She began her legal career as a federal district court law clerk and, subsequently, a litigation attorney with Dickstein, Shapiro Morin and O’Shinsky, a large, D.C. law firm. After moving to Phoenix, Arizona in 1999, and feeling deeply motivated by personal experiences advocating for her children, Jenifer opened her own firm specializing in education law and advocacy on behalf of K-12 students with disabilities. In 2018, however, she was left with no choice but to close her practice after developing medical conditions requiring several surgeries and leaving her with a disability involving paralysis of a major respiratory muscle. She returned to work in early 2022 at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, as the Assistant Director of Communications and Development for the Post-Conviction Justice Project. In her new position, Jenifer hopes to bring a disability-related perspective to advocacy on behalf of incarcerated men and women. Jenifer’s youngest child, Maddie, now a junior in high school, was a member of the inaugural EmpowHer Camp Class of 2022 Young Leaders.
Judith Brown is the founder and Executive Director of Project 70Forward, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works for the support and advancement of people with disabilities. Born in New York City, having relocated to Baltimore, MD and finally Charlotte, NC, Judith is an ardent disability advocate. She is married, and the mother of an extended family of five children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum. She passionately loves the diverse culinary and small business scene of her current hometown.
Amy began her journey into the world of disability justice as a child of a step-father with a disability. Early on she began noticing the places they could not go as a family because of inaccessibility. Amy began working at her local center for independent living and went to her first national disability civil disobedience event at 19. In her work at the center for independent living, she has held a variety of positions giving her the opportunity to broaden her advocacy skills. After going through a mental health crisis, Amy realized the importance of taking care of your mental health and how many of the preventive mental health services are not available to people with disabilities. Amy went back to school and obtained her certification as a Health and Life Coach and began offering these much-needed services at her center. Amy is excited about the opportunity to use her skills and life experiences to help other young women with disabilities.