Disability Law Center (DLC) is governed by an elected Board of Trustees (“Board”) that supervises the Executive Director, maintains fiduciary responsibility for the successful functioning of the agency, and has ultimate responsibility in setting agency policies and priorities. The Board includes representatives from the PAIMI Advisory Council, Utah Developmental Disabilities Council (UDDC), and Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD).
The sincere dedication and devotion of our Board members has helped improve our disability advocacy services and expand the presence of our agency. On behalf of our agency and the many Utahns with disabilities, DLC publicly thanks all Board members, both past and present, for their many contributions and commitments.
Our Current Board
Executive Director, Center for Persons with Disabilities
Matthew Wappett is the Executive Director of the Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities (UCEDD). Dr. Wappett’s background is in special education and disability studies; most of his research has been focused on creating inclusive environments to accommodate the needs of diverse populations. Dr. Wappett has also been involved in many projects related to Medicaid self-direction, self-advocacy, and person centered planning for people with disabilities and their families. Dr. Wappett also conducts research and training about the effects of laughter and genuinely enjoys teaching people how to laugh! Dr. Wappett has earned his Ph.D. in Special Education, an M.Ed. in Educational Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.
Through Janet’s volunteer work over the years with children, seniors, and the visually impaired, she has come to understand some of the challenges of individuals having a physical or mental disability. She is proud to join the DLC as a Trustee because of the countless services it provides to people who are disadvantaged and the tireless work its staff does to raise awareness and foster acceptance in the community of people with disabilities. Janet worked as an environmental scientist for the mining industry for over 20 years supporting projects and clients in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile. She loves keeping active by biking, skiing, and hiking with family and friends.
Amanda works tirelessly to ensure her three children have every opportunity for success in school and life in general. Her fight is most critical for her youngest daughter, Tori, who has Down Syndrome. Since birth, Amanda learned Tori would be faced with challenges – especially within the educational system. She has done extensive research and worked with her community leaders to promote equitable and inclusive education for Tori and all other children living with disabilities. She speaks to raise awareness and advocate for change within her school, district, state and legislature. She served on the Utah Education Advisory Panel and is excited to serve as a board member of the DLC to continue pursuing change.
Certified Public Accountant
Jan Brock is a CPA, MBA, and has previously worked for the Disability Law Center as an advocate in their Abuse and Neglect Division. Jan has professional experience as a Congressional Auditor with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in private accounting, as a business owner, and with the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce. Jan has served on numerous boards including SPLORE of Utah, the Utah Children’s Theatre, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Utah, and the Madeleine Choir School to name a few. She recently served as President of the ELP-IB Parent Organization for West High School. Jan is also involved in Utah legislation that supports people with disabilities as a member of the Utah League of Women Voters and as a member of the Legislative State Women’s Council for Utah. She has personal experience with people living with a disability and she is a strong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities in the state of Utah.
Executive Committee Secretary
Alfred C. Emery Endowed Professor, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Leslie P. Francis, Ph.D., J.D., is distinguished Alfred C. Emery professor of law, distinguished professor of philosophy, and director of the Center for Law & Biomedical Sciences at the University of Utah. Her most recent books are the Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics (edited, Oxford, 2017) and Privacy: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford 2017). She has authored many papers on disability law and ethics, privacy, justice, and bioethics. As a member of the Signature Program of the Office of State Courts, she regularly provides pro bono representation for people who are the subject of petitions for guardianship.
Immediate Past President
Associate General Counsel, Vivint Solar Company
Anthony is Associate General Counsel for Vivint Solar Company. Prior to working with Vivint Solar, Anthony was General Counsel for Mountain America Credit Union (MACU) and Legal Counsel for 1-800 CONTACTS, Inc. Anthony is passionate about supporting and defending the rights of individuals with disabilities and feels grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of the DLC.
Juliette P. White
Shareholder, Parsons Behle & Latimer
Juliette specializes in intellectual property litigation, trademark & copyright law, and antitrust & unfair competition law. Juliette received a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, a Master of Public Policy from Duke University and several undergraduate degrees from the University of Utah. Juliette’s experience as a parent of a child with autism has motivated her to help people with disabilities live full satisfying lives as integrated members of our community.
Associate General Counsel, Vivint Solar
Jared is an in-house attorney responsible for litigation and government enforcement actions for Vivint Solar in Lehi, Utah. Before going in-house, Jared was a partner in the Salt Lake City office of Snell & Wilmer, where he concentrated his practice in commercial litigation. Jared has had several family members and friends who have lived with physical disabilities, mental illness, and learning disabilities. He appreciates the services which the DLC provides to members of the community.
General Counsel, Leavitt Group Enterprises
Mike oversees all legal, regulatory, & compliance issues throughout Leavitt Group Enterprises. Prior to working with Leavitt Group, Mike practiced law in Salt Lake City and Cedar City, engaging in general practice with an emphasis on commercial litigation. Through serving as the managing attorney of the Cedar City office of the DLC, Mike has gained an understanding & appreciation of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, as well as an interest in helping those individuals understand & exercise their legal rights.
Lurena Mead graduated from the University of Utah with a teaching degree in special education and taught at East High School in Salt Lake City for three years before relocating to Kansas. Once there, she served as the Community Relations Manager of Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS), an agency of the Johnson County Kansas government which coordinated and provided services to folks with developmental disabilities. In this role, Lurena served as a media and legislative liaison, advocating for the protection and advancement of people with disabilities and their providers. Lurena retired from JCDS in May 2016 after an incredible 29 years of service.
Executive Director, Utah Developmental Disabilities Council (UDDC)
Libby holds a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills and has worked to remove barriers and grow self-advocacy for Utahns with disabilities. Libby started her career as a Special Education Substitute Teacher in Southern Nevada with the Clark County School District while attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in pursuit of a degree in Recreation. Upon graduating, Libby worked for the Henderson City Therapeutic Recreation program, providing adaptive recreation programming for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After working for several years as a job coach in Utah, Libby is now the Executive Director of the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, or UDDC.
Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor and Advocate
Stephanie was involved in a surfing accident in 2015 which left her with a traumatic brain injury and a long journey towards recovery where she still spends 6-10 hours a week in neurorehabilitation. Throughout her recovery, she has been alarmed at the complexities and difficulties facing those with TBIs and other disabilities. Discovering how many brain injury survivors are marginalized through being pushed into homelessness or incarceration, she finds purpose in advocating for equity-driven policies like Medicaid expansion, funding for community services for individuals with disabilities, and is interested in how to create inclusive educational environments. Her academic studies, focused on public health, allow her to engage in her most exciting hobby—browsing through scientific journals to find the most interesting research of the month.
PAIMI Council Chair
Ken Gourdin is the current Chair of the PAIMI Council. Supporting disadvantaged populations is very important to him. Ken is a strong proponent of psychosocial rehabilitation, i.e. the “Clubhouse Model.” Ken was a member of New Reflection House, Tooele’s psychosocial rehabilitation program, for nearly ten years. He has been a member of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) since 2012. Ken served previously on Valley Behavioral Health’s Board of Directors and the Disability Law Center’s PAIMI Council. Ken rejoined the Council in 2016, and served briefly as Vice Chair before becoming Chair of the Council. He is excited to continue to support the Disability Law Center in its mission of protecting the rights of disabled individuals, particularly those with behavioral health challenges.
Property Manager, Caregiver and Advocate
Jodie holds a degree in Public Relations/Mass Communications from the University of Utah. In 1986, her fiancé experienced a horrific automobile accident, leaving him in a coma for six weeks and resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Jodie’s life was changed as she and her fiancé experienced first-hand the lack of information available to TBI survivors and families. Determined to remedy this lack, Jodie became the first Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance (formerly The Utah Head Injury Association) in Utah, and opened the first TBI Resource Center. She traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Utah representatives and rallied to get the TBI Act passed. Today, Jodie manages several properties and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. She is an outdoor activist, and “the mountains are calling, I must go”, is the motto she lives by.
Community Outreach Coordinator, The Youth of Utah Advocacy Coalition
Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro is a journalist, mental health educator, and advocate based in Salt Lake City. As a young woman who lives with co-occuring mental illnesses, she is passionate about ensuring others with disabilities have access to treatment, education, and basic necessities without being subjected to discrimination. Currently, she is a lifestyle and wellness reporter for Bustle Media, and has written for other national publications including Huffington Post, Healthline, and NYLON. Kyli also serves as the Assistant Youth Coordinator for the Utah Department of Human Services, and co-founded The Youth of Utah Advocacy Coalition — a youth-led organization that aims to support the rights of young adults with disabilities, and advocates for system-wide change.
Kathleen Jaques has been an advocate since a young age, growing up with an uncle diagnosed with cerebral palsy. While in school, she volunteered in classes for students with disabilities, sharing her joy of art. When her oldest son was diagnosed with autism in the late 80’s, it was an unusual diagnosis affecting only 2-3 out of every 10,000 children. She resumed her advocacy efforts, obtaining a BS in Psychology, working in group homes for disabled children, and eventually becoming a QIDP. Kathleen hopes to offer her voice for those in need.
Policy Analyst, Utah Health Policy Project
Stacy Stanford is the policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project, a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to advancing sustainable healthcare solutions.
In 2010, a car accident caused disabling health issues, which led her to discover the disability rights movement. Since that time, she has been an activist for expanded healthcare access, and has organized more than two dozen healthcare-defense events. She received a BA from Westminster College in Disability Justice, a customized degree program combining political science, sociology & justice studies.
CEO, Alternative Behavior Strategies
Jeff Skibitsky is founder and president of Alternative Behavior Strategies (ABS). He is a founding member of the National Coalition for Access to Autism Services (NCAAS) and has served as Legislative Committee chair for the Medicaid Autism Waiver Legislative Committee in Utah and the Autism Advisory Committee in Arizona.
Beyond the field of autism, Jeff continues to dedicate himself to empowerment & service to families in need. Jeff serves on the board for the Utah Parent Center, the Sandpoint Community Resource Center, & as an advisory board member for the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.
Executive Director, Utah Parent Center
Joey is currently the executive director or the Utah Parent Center. Joey’s educational background is in social work and behavioral health, and professional experience has primarily been in social services. Joey is passionate about serving individuals with disabilities and their families and is the mother of a young man with autism.