speakers & Presenters Biography



Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, Deputy Commissioner

Aging and Disability Services

Suzette DeBeatham-Brown is a distinguished executive level management professional with over 20 years of municipal experience, community engagement and human services experience across the non-profit, corporate, state and religious fields. She has won awards in advocacy, community and public service. An award-winning Community Leader, DeBeatham-Brown has had wide-ranging influence in the areas of Community Development, Municipal Leadership, Development for Women & Youth, Community Service and Advocacy, and Philanthropy.

In each of her leadership roles, she has demonstrated her unwavering commitment to authentic engagement and measurable impact, drawing upon the resilience, fortitude, and determination of her Caribbean heritage and bolstered by the support of her local community. Her most recent experience is as the Business Office Coordinator for the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, DeBeatham-Brown has also served as the Mayor of Bloomfield, and volunteers on the Board of Directors for Ascend Mentoring and the President’s Community Advisory Council for the University of Hartford. Aging and Disability Services, created in 2011, was fortunate to have Suzette DeBeatham-Brown join the agency as Deputy Commissioner in July of 2023. 




Dave is the State Director of the CT Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). He is responsible for overseeing the state’s public Vocational Rehabilitation program, as well as various federal and state funded programs housed within BRS’ Community Living Division. Dave has been with BRS agency for nearly 30 years. He worked in field offices as a VR Counselor and Supervisor for 11 years prior to joining the Bureau’s Administration as an Education Consultant in 2004. After serving as a Bureau Chief for 6 years, Dave became BRS Director in 2015.

In addition to his responsibilities here in CT, Dave currently serves as President of the national Council of State Administrators in Vocational Rehabilitation. Through this work Dave continues to gain insight into the many factors influencing the success of both jobseekers with disabilities, and employers who hire them. In this role he provides leadership to state Vocational Rehabilitation State Agencies, such as BRS, from all across the country as they collectively seek to deliver the best service system possible.





Carly Duffy is a Projects Coordinator with the State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, ADS. She obtained her Master's degree in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University and has been with the Department for the past 15 years with a total of 18 years’ experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation. Carly's education and experience provide her with a great understanding of disabilities as well as employment expectations in the current job market. Carly's current role focuses on business engagement to assist with diversifying the workforce and expanding disability awareness.




Karen Quesnel, Grants and Contracts Specialist at the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy. Karen’s state career began in the Employment Services Division of the Connecticut Department of Labor in 1999. She served in several roles for DOL providing jobseekers with career guidance and résumé assistance and assisted companies in the greater Hartford region with recruitment and training as a Business Services Specialist. Prior to joining the Office of Workforce Strategy, Karen served as the State Lead for two USDOL Disability Employment Initiative grants and the Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) grant, implementing innovative workforce programs to increase and enhance employment and training opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.

Karen is a graduate of Bay Path University with a Bachelor of Science in business management and is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer. She served as the Scholarship Chair for the Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities for several years and was honored with the title of Director Emeritus in 2008 and was recognized in 2018 as Partner of the Year by Disability: IN Connecticut, in appreciation of her support and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

She joined the Office of Workforce Strategy in November providing program and grant administration for the CareerConneCT program.



Sarah Kingston is the Career Development Program Manager overseeing Ability Beyond’s ISTPPs and AbilityWorks programs. Sarah began with Ability Beyond as an Employment Specialist in August of 2021 and moved on to become a Program Manager in August of 2022. Prior to working at Ability Beyond, Sarah earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. Before, during, and after earning her doctorate, she taught writing and literature courses at Western CT State University, the University of New Haven, and Naugatuck Valley Community College. Sarah has also published multiple peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as spoken at both national and international conferences, on her areas of research specialization, which include modernist literature, insomnia, and the medical humanities. Sarah currently resides in Bethel, CT with her husband, and is thrilled to be supervising Ability Beyond’s training programs around the state of CT. 



Tracy Ariel, MS Program Director for Workforce Programs at the State of Connecticut’s Office of Workforce Strategies. She has served in a variety of roles in higher education including In Director of Manufacturing programs at Manchester and Middlesex Community Colleges, Executive Director of Tunxis Community College@Bristol and her statewide role in developing the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers and Early College Opportunity programs with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. In these roles her primary focus was to engage local industry, community partners and diverse student populations in the development of skilled workforce to meet local industry workforce needs. Her experience in industry includes roles in Environmental Health and Safety, Production and Human Resources on a national level. Ms. Ariel has been a member of the Board of Directors, for the National Institute of Metalworking Skills; a member of Education Committee for the Manufacturing Institute (NAM) and Connecticut Senator Murphy’s manufacturing committee. She holds a MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.



Arlene Lugo, ATP, is the Program Director for the CT Tech Act Project and Assistive Technology Consultant for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. She received Degrees in Deaf Studies and Interpreting from Northwestern Connecticut Community College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Albany, NY and received her Master of Science in Professional Counseling, Vocational Rehabilitation from Central Connecticut State University.

She was a sign language interpreter prior to becoming a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. In 2006, she was promoted to Education Consultant for the Bureau and became the Program Director for the Connecticut Tech Act Project, where she helps individuals with disabilities access the Assistive Technology (AT) for all areas of life including education, employment and the community. As a certified Assistive Technology Professional, Ms. Lugo offers training, technical assistance and consultation on Assistive Technology devices and services.


Gregg Thompson, Regional Vice President
Viability, Inc.

Gregg joined Viability in May 2012 and serves as the Regional Vice President for Viability overseeing programs across 4 states - Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Oklahoma. The programs he oversees range from Residential, In Home Supports, Community Based Day, High School programming and a wide range of Employment programs. Prior to Viability Gregg work for the YMCA for 24 years, the last 8 years as a CEO for two independent Ys.

John Schiller, Service Manager
Ability Beyond

John Schiller has worked for Ability Beyond for 22 years, where he has spent the past 13 years working with the employment teams funded by VR, DMHAS, and DDS; first as an Employment Specialist and then as a Program Manager. He is currently the Service Manager for all Ability Beyond VR funded programs. John is a member of APSE and a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP). Thirteen years ago he was responsible for expanding Ability Beyond’s employment program to the lower Fairfield County area and for working with the Ability Beyond employment management team to develop a successful Career Path and Retention Plan for Employment Specialists. John lives in Brookfield with his wife and children, and volunteers his time with the Danbury Music Centre Nutcracker.


Laura Reed, Workforce Counselor

Laura Reed is a Workforce Counselor with the State of Connecticut, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, ADS. With over 15 years of experience in disability inclusion, she initially started her career in special education, concentrating on preparing individuals to enter the workforce and later moved to Vocational Counseling with BRS. Her enthusiasm lies in her current role, working with businesses to learn about their workforce needs, collaborate on solutions, and provide training & technical assistance on topics related to Disability inclusion. Laura holds a master's degree in special education, pursued further studies in counseling and is involved in several committees and workgroups related to workforce development, industry, and training.


Lauren McAulay, Workforce Counselor
Department of Aging and Disability Services

Lauren McAulay is a Workforce Counselor for the Department of Aging and Disability Services, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) with over twelve years of experience. She attended Springfield College in Springfield MA for 5 years where she obtained both her bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation and Disabilities Studies. Lauren previously worked for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) for over a year as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. In January 2013 Lauren left MRC to start her career at BRS and became an Employment Consultant. As an Employment Consultant, Lauren has worked to build partnerships with employers to assist individuals with disabilities to find gainful employment. In July 2022 Lauren’s role changed from Employment Consultant to Workforce Counselor. As Workforce Counselor Lauren has worked closely with the Workforce Boards and has assisted BRS consumers with training opportunities involving career pathways. 

Lori-lynn Chatlos, Business Services Specialist
Connecticut Department of Labor

Lori-lynn Chatlos is a Business Services Specialist with the Connecticut Department of Labor.  She holds a Bachelors degree from Southern Connecticut State University.  During her tenure with DOL, she has worked with a variety of Connecticut employers ranging from business start-ups to Fortune 50 corporations.   She specializes in issues relating to hiring, training, project management and grant administration with an emphasis on manufacturing and technology companies. She represents the Labor Department in economic development projects, business recruitment, and workforce development initiatives.  She is actively involved with many statewide and regional business organizations including chambers and manufacturing groups. She serves as an advisor to BH Care, Bullard Havens, Emmett O’Brien and Platt Technical High Schools,  and the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Housatonic Community College.     


Raina E. Hall, Workforce Counselor


Raina E. Hall is a Workforce Counselor with the State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, ADS. She obtained her Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University and has been with the Bureau for the past 2 ½ years. Raina’s experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation provides her with a great understanding of disabilities, business needs as well as the current labor market. Raina’s current role focuses on business engagement to assist with diversifying the workforce.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Workforce Counselor

Sanjiv Chaturvedi is a Workforce Counselor with the State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, ADS. He obtained his Master’s degree in Counseling from Central CT State University and has been with the Bureau for the past 35 years. Sanjiv’s experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation provides him with a great understanding of disabilities, business needs as well as the current labor market. Sanjiv’s current role focuses on business engagement to assist with diversifying the workforce.


Xiomara Rodriguez, Community Services Representative
Department of Labor

Xiomara is a Community Services Representative for the Department of Labor and works out of the Hartford American Job Center. With over three years of experience in Human Services, she has become an expert in connecting job seekers with employment opportunities and providing reemployment guidance. Xiomara has a passion for helping others and, during her free time, enjoys traveling and exploring new places. She will speak on the Department of Labor services and is excited to share her insights and knowledge with the attendees. Join her for an engaging discussion on job seeker services and leave with a deeper understanding of the skills and resources available to you.


TJ LoVoi, Workforce Counselor


TJ LoVoi is a Workforce Counselor with the State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, ADS. He obtained his Master’s degree in Counseling from St. Joseph College and has been with the Bureau for the past 25 years. The first 20 years of TJ’s career with BRS was working on an adult caseload as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist based out of the Manchester, CT BRS office. In 2018 he transitioned to his present position with the Workforce Outreach Team. TJ’s experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation provides him with a great understanding of disabilities, business needs as well as the current labor market. TJ’s current role as a Workforce Counselor focuses on identifying training programs for consumers in order to increase their skills and marketability as well as ongoing business engagement to assist with diversifying the workforce.  

panelists biography


Marc Senia, Field Disability Inclusion Manager


Marc Senia is the Field Disability Inclusion Manager for Walgreens. Overseeing all of Walgreens Field training programs (Stores, Distribution Centers and Micro-Fulfillment Centers) and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. He is a member of Walgreens corporate Diversity Equity and Inclusion team. Marc is responsible for managing a team of 4 Area Field Specialists to grow Walgreens training programs across the country. He and his team are implementing training programs to increase representation of people with disabilities within Walgreens. Marc builds strong partnerships with state and local agencies that support people with disabilities throughout the country, training and educating them on the Walgreens Transitional Work Group (TWG), Retail Employee Disability Initiative (REDI), and MFC training program. Within this role, he also provides support for managers, works closely with Talent Acquisition, conducts in-house inclusion trainings, collaborates with HR on accommodations and shares the Walgreens model with other interested companies. In the past, Marc has worked as the director of a camp for people with disabilities, and he has had 7 years of experience in the Special Education field.  




Elisabeth Morel has been the Director of Access Ability Services at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) for the past eleven years. Prior to her arrival at WCSU, she was a Program Coordinator at the Center for Students with Disabilities at her alma mater, University of Connecticut. Elisabeth holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in k-12 special education and Advanced Leadership Certificate in Postsecondary Disability Services. In addition to overseeing all student accommodations and awareness initiatives, she chairs the Digital Accessibility Compliance Committee at WCSU and co-chairs the Accessibility Counsel through the Connecticut State Colleges and University system office. Her career has included developing procedures for, and managing, AccessAbility Services, assisting faculty in understanding and using Universal Design for Learning within their classroom, providing campus wide digital accessibility training and coordinating a digital accessibility training program for individuals with disabilities alongside BRS.


Jim McMahon, Talent Acquisition


Jim McMahon is responsible for Travelers Inclusive Outreach to the Disabled, Military & Veteran and LGBTQ Communities. He joined Travelers in 2005 as the Talent Acquisition Staffing Lead for Personal Insurance. He subsequently held similar roles with Business Insurance, Specialty Insurance and International.


In 2017 with a disability inclusion focus, Jim led efforts to create Travelers Claim Counsel Business Resource Center resulting in 40+ hires. This summer, Travelers Neurodiversity Intern Program has 13 participants. He is an active member of the Neurodiversity at Work Employer Roundtable; serves on the Board for the Ryan Martin Foundation and Viability, a community-based organization with a mission to build a world in which individuals with disabilities and other disadvantages realize acceptance, inclusion, and access.   Jim has been the featured speaker and a panelist for numerous organizations including Autism Services and Resources Connecticut, RIT Spectrum Support Program, Cornell University and Dive-In, the insurance industry annual celebration of diversity and inclusion.  



William “Bill” Donehey, Performance Improvement Manager
Mohegan Sun


Bill has worked in the hospitality industry since 1976 working for large corporations on the west coast. Starting as a dishwasher and over time became a district manager and trainer. While at these companies Bill created and advocated for these companies to hire people on the spectrum. Bill created formalized training plans and job aids to teach to their strengths and create pathways for advancement.
In 2010 Bill designed and developed the current inclusion model at Mohegan Sun and to date through these programs Mohegan Sun has hired nearly 600 people who are on the spectrum as well as people with other disabilities.

One of the key participants in the inclusion programs are the High School transitional academies. Mohegan Sun partners with six districts in eastern Connecticut and this year we are hosting over 90 students.
Bill’s vision at Mohegan Sun was to provide an outstanding employment experience for each person. From that vision the Mohegan Sun Student Vocational Inclusion Program (MSSVIP) came to be. Through the vocational inclusion program, Mohegan Sun can enhance this experience for persons with disabilities. Our goal is to ensure an accessible work experience where individuals with disabilities have the same access to benefits, opportunities, and activities as all others.