Affiliates Update

Affiliate Updates
Terra Beethe, BOD Affiliate Liaison    
Katy Washington, Lead Affiliate Representative

This month our focus is on the Great Lakes Region, which contains five of our affiliates. We invite you to learn more about the regional affiliates of AHEAD located along the Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie.

Map of the Great Lakes Region

ILLOWA AHEAD (Eastern Iowa & Illinois) was formed in the Fall of 1998 by a group of Disability Service Providers from Northern Illinois and the Chicago Area joining with their peers in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The first Regional Conference took place at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA as the organization was being formed in the Spring of 1999.


President: Abbey Lesko-Youngberg,


Indiana AHEAD can boast that some of the same pioneers who founded or built the national AHEAD, or AHSSPPE as it was then called, were also instrumental in organizing our state group.


President: Debbie


Michigan AHEAD was founded in 1987 as a state organization for professionals working with students with disabilities in higher education.


President: Sarah


Ohio AHEAD was officially established in 2009, although professionals were meeting as a group in a different capacity. Our membership represents private/public institutions and interested agencies.  The Board of Directors is charged with maintaining the business of the group.


President: Jennifer Radt,


Wisconsin AHEAD offers 4 types of membership: Level I, Level II, Emeritus Professional, and Student.


President: Erin


Update from Stephen Gray of North Carolina AHEAD

NCAHEAD celebrated its twentieth year as an organization on October 17-18, 2016 with the theme being “Keeping NC AHEAD of the Curve.”  Our Keynote speaker was AHEAD Executive Director Stephan Smith and his message was how to capture the next 20 years and flourish.  This was also in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which kept many conference goers home attending to their needs in their personal and professional lives.   A moment of silence was held at the beginning remembering our colleagues who live in harm’s way.  One of the goals of this year’s campaign was to grow the organization.  Total membership grew 21% from 151 to 182.  The biggest growth came from 4-year private institutions at 48%, from 27 to 40.  Community Colleges rose by 18%, from 87 to 103, and 4-year public institutions rose 19%, from 32 to 38.  We are excited about the growth of our state. 

Some of the sessions for the conference consisted of “Best Practices in ADA Accessibility,” “Dinosaur Track – 20m years of how we got to where we are now,” “Supporting Successful Transition of Veterans with Emotional Disorders,” “The Intersect of Disability and Behavior Concerns Committees,” “It’s not 50 Shades of Grey, but a True Colors Personality Index,” “Panel Discussion Transitioning and Transferring from Community College to 4 years.”

We had our first conference twenty years ago at Appalachian State University, same at five, ten, and fifteen.  I think we established a baseline to Keep AHEAD of the Curve.

The Southeast Affiliates met for the first time in Indianapolis back in July and formed a group of young vibrant professionals.  We have been in communiqué to introduce a six state conference on May 17-18, 2017, dealing with Social Justice.  We are in the baby steps defining roles and strategies.  It has been a great experience working with this group.  We affectionately call ourselves the Justice League.  More on that to follow.

What a joy of mine to be associated with so many dedicated individuals who have one motivation, to make it better for all our constituents.  We unselfishly give of our time and talents to accommodate and make a difference in the lives of our students, faculty, staff, and guests of our institution of higher learning.  


Update from Ohio AHEAD

Ohio AHEAD hosted our seventh annual conference on Friday, October 21 at Kent State University at Stark in Canton, Ohio.  Sixty-five professionals from across the state gathered to be refreshed and re-energized!  Dr. Adam Meyer from the University of Central Florida and member of the AHEAD Board of Directors served as our featured presenter and assisted participants with identifying how office brand is conveyed through messaging.  The session was informative and allowed participants the opportunity to engage in collaborative activities.

Three concurrent session blocks were offered that included topics such as:  Self-care and Work Balance; Emotional Support Animals; Transition Pitfalls; Universal Design; Disability and Social Justice; Collaborative Partnerships; Best Practices in Closed Captioning; Including Disability Services in the Retention Effort; and Partnerships with Campus Counseling Centers.

OH-AHEAD presented two inaugural awards at its annual business meeting.  Christina Jenkins of Ohio University received the Dr. Lydia Block Rising Star Award which is presented to a disability services professional who has worked in the disability services field for less than five years and demonstrates a passion for the work, capacity for future leadership, and examples of above and beyond service.  L. Scott Lissner of The Ohio State University received the L. Scott Lissner Outstanding Leadership Award which is presented to a disability services professional who has worked in the field for at least five years and demonstrates a passion for the work, has contributed to the advancement of the disability services profession, and has helped increase opportunities for students with disabilities. 

Photo of Lissner and Jenkins

Save the Date!  Our next conference will be held on Friday, October 13, 2017 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

For more information about Ohio AHEAD, visit our website at: