The Center for Leadership in Disability is excited to announce a number of new-hires that have joined the team!
We translate research into sustainable community practices that contribute to independent, self-determined, inclusive, and productive lives for people with disabilities and their families.
With the addition and expansion of new projects and research, the CLD has expanded once again to be able to provide some of the best advocacy, training, and research supports in Georgia.
Molly Chung, MPA
Ms. Chung joined the Center for Leadership in Disability on January 18, 2022 as the newest Grants & Contracts Officer. She was previously a member of the CLD Administrative team during 2017-2019. Her duties will include supervising finances including pre- and post-award management. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge of sponsored projects and learning about the many ways that the CLD supports the disability community.
Ms. Chung holds a Master of Public Administration, Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University.
Ms. McNair joined the Center for Leadership in Disability on December 06, 2021 as the newest Parent Educator. Her focus is on providing resource information to parents, collaborating with community agencies, and supporting families in the transition to Part B: Pre-school. Ms. McNair is looking forward to engaging with parents and families to help them navigate resources and school systems.
As a 2017 recipient of the Phil Pickens Parent Mentor Leadership Award, Ms. McNair was recognized for being instrumental in developing parent workshops and community engagement opportunities to help connect families to much needed resources. She has served in various capacities with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), Autism Society of America, Georgia Chapter (now defunct) and as a member of the Regional Advisory Council of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). Ms. McNair and her husband are parents of a 27-year-old daughter who lives with autism and intellectual disabilities and a 29-year-old son. They reside in Gwinnett County, GA.
Ms. Owens joined the Center for Leadership in Disability on January 18, 2022 as the newest Early Childhood Community Services Specialist. Her work will focus on advocacy and providing supports related to strengthening best-practices related to early childhood education, in addition to increasing the capacity of under-served communities (related to inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families). She looks forward to continuing to provide support services for children from birth to five years of age.
Ms. Owens earned a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in Family Life Education at Georgia Southern University and is studying for a Master’s in Public Health. She has vast experiences and knowledge from working in early childhood programs and has advocated on a local and state level for high-quality comprehensive services related to educating young children.
Sydnie Smith, M.Ed
Ms. Smith joined the Center for Leadership in Disability on September 20, 2021 as the newest Research Coordinator. Her focus is on the CDC-funded Georgia Statewide Disability & Health Program. For this project, she collaborates with multiple partners in Georgia as well as nine other funded states to design and carry out the activities of the program. These include offering healthcare provider training and implementing evidence-based health programs for adults with disabilities. In her role, Ms. Smith organizes and co-facilitates project advisory workgroup meetings, leads the provider training efforts, communicates with external partners, and supports other project-related tasks.
Ms. Smith shares her excitement in looking forward to “reducing the healthcare disparities that individuals with disabilities are experiencing in Georgia.” With her previous experience with healthcare provider training initiatives, she’s ready to “work with providers in GA to increase their competency in caring for adults with disabilities in our state.” Ms. Smith holds a Master’s in Special Education, and during her program served as a UCEDD trainee at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center where she worked on several disability and healthcare disparity-related projects.