Board of Directors
Samantha is a law partner at the firm of Hale Ball Murphy, PLC in Fairfax. She focuses her practice on Estate and Trust Administration, Special Needs Planning, and Fiduciary Litigation. After finishing law school in 2008 she completed a two-year clerkship with the Honorable Judge Dennis J. Smith of the Fairfax County Circuit Court. In addition to serving on DSANV’s board, she also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
Kim is the CEO and founder of Claritas Creative, a visual-centric communications company in Arlington, VA. She engages in disability issue advocacy at the federal and state level. She and her family also regularly join advocacy events sponsored by the Arc of Virginia and the Arc of the United States. She is passionate about supporting individuals with Down syndrome, and intellectual/developmental disabilities, and ensuring their inclusion as valued members of our communities. She looks forward to assisting DSANV with their communications efforts as well as serving as Treasurer.
David is a Community Relations Specialist at SourceAmerica with their Government Affairs Department. He previously served as a staff member on Capitol Hill with the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee as JP Kennedy Jr. Public Policy Fellow–the first with an intellectual disability. He is a trailblazer with 20 years of competitive employment as a clerk in the Distribution Center with CBRE and experience working at the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). He serves on several Boards at the local, national and international levels. David is a Special Olympics athlete and a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and has been involved in leadership and community advocacy starting in 1999. A recipient of various awards, he received a Heroes Award from Special Olympics in 2002, a Voices Award in 2003 from NDSS. As a leader in advocacy he was presented with the NDSS first Dan Piper Award in 2006 at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Vancouver, Canada and received the NDSS 2014 Self Advocate of the Year award. David is a sought after public speaker. He is featured in the Firestarters book and many published articles highlighting his advocacy and accomplishments. One of his trademarks is his ongoing initiative to promote employment on the NDSS #DSWORKS Resource Guide for employers; his testimony at the Senate HELP committee on March 2nd 2011 in Washington DC, and his plea for human rights at the United Nations World Down Syndrome Day in New York City on March 21st, 2012. You can read about David at www.davideganadvocacy.com.
Sarah is a Speech Therapist with 20 years of experience who currently works in the Fairfax County School system. She holds Speech Pathologist School Licenses in Virginia and New York. She has experience creating inclusion opportunities in the classroom and elsewhere within the school community.
Alain is the Executive Director of Operations @ Community Church.
Amanda is a PhD neuroscientist currently serving as a scientific administrator for a federal agency. She manages a portfolio of research on adult brain injury which includes scientific peer review and oversight of biomedical research. She hopes to open collaborations with scientific organizations such as LuMind and looks forward to assisting DSANV in working with organizations conducting research on topics related to Down syndrome as well as contributing to DSANV grant writing opportunities.
Heather has both personal and professional experience supporting and advocating for people with intellectual disabilities. She is currently an Educational Specialist for students accessing an adapted curriculum, through the Office of Special Education Instruction, with Fairfax County Public Schools. She is also the older sibling of someone with Down syndrome. Heather has a Master of Arts in Elementary Education (certified in Special Education) as well as a Master of Education in Educational Leadership. She has worked in the middle school, high school, and post-secondary settings. Heather is passionate about advocating for employment opportunities for people with Down syndrome. She hopes to help DSANV continue to grow in its membership and support for families.
Katherine is an Active Duty Air Force for 23 years in the service. She is currently serving as a Senior Enlisted Leader for Headquarters Operations Executive Support Division at the Pentagon, Washington DC. She has a myriad of experience in communications, organizational, strategic and leadership management and led multiple events and programs while in the military and her previous bases local community. Her and her family moved in Arlington area since September 2022. She is excited to join the organization to give back to the community, meet other families, engage and focus on the opportunities and resources on what the organization offers.
Denise is a northern Virginia native who has been a government contractor for 20 years. She’s an avid soccer player who loves being outside and spending time with her extended family. She is so thankful for the community and support that DSANV has provided her family. Denise is passionate about creating a new narrative for Down Syndrome individuals and is thrilled to continue serving, advocating, and promoting the DSANV mission. Contact Denise
Audrey has led the Dept. of Veterans Affairs account team since 2020 at Amazon Web Services (AWS), ensuring the VA receives the best value. Prior to this role, she was in Human Resources leading recruiting teams for 20 years at various corporations. She is extremely interested in meeting other members and families, giving back to the community, and shaping the future of this organization. She has lived in Fairfax County since 2012 with her husband, Matthew Reinke, and her four children. Audrey has a BS degree in Forestry & Wildlife from Virginia Tech, as well as a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from Capella University.
Erin Thielman is an Editor-in-Chief at Pop Acta, a digital news agency. She has been advocating on behalf of the Down syndrome community for over five years. Erin has published countless writings on Down syndrome and has been in international publications. She has traveled the country as a motivational speaker for teens and young adults for over 20 years. Erin and her husband have three children, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome. Erin is a volunteer for Special Olympics at the regional and national levels. She is an alum of the Leonine Forum and a member of the Disabled American Veterans. She holds a B.A. in Economics, and professional certifications in Project Management and Business Analytics. Erin and her family reside in Alexandria, VA. Contact Erin
Erin is employed full time at Rosetta Stone in Arlington, Virginia where she assists with reception and administrative duties. She is a 2010 graduate of George Mason University’s LIFE Program for students with developmental disabilities. She is a Buddy Ambassador for Best Buddies Virginia and serves on the board of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). Erin has become a passionate and accomplished advocate for those with intellectual disabilities. She was awarded the PEATC Virginia Star Icon award in 2008 for her advocacy work and the 2008 Advocates in Disability award from the HSC Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her latest accomplishment is the award of both the O.Neill and Tabani Enrichment Fund and the 2009 Dan Piper Award for national recognition of a self-advocate from the NDSS.
Charlotte is a Community Outreach Specialist with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). She is currently attending George Mason University working on a B.A. She earned an associate’s degree from the Northern Virginia Community College and graduated from Fairfax High School with a standard diploma. Charlotte was born with a heart condition and had four open-heart surgeries when she was young and recently became one of the very few people born with Down syndrome to receive a life-saving heart transplant! Her motto is to always give back to others, and she loves to have bake sales and donate the proceeds to various charities. These fundraising efforts have led to some exciting opportunities to give motivational speeches. She hopes to pursue a career as an author, professional baker, event planner and motivational speaker. She is determined to do her best to help ALL people with special needs!