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Disability:IN Connecticut Board

Our Executive Director

Sharon Denson, JD, Executive Director

Sharon Denson has served as Executive Director since 2015. She is renowned for her work as a disability advocate and expert in employment related disability issues. She holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law.

She has held appointments from the Governor of the State of Connecticut to the State Rehabilitation Council (federally mandated oversight council for the Department of Rehabilitation Services) and the State Independent Living Council. She was appointed by the State of Connecticut Commissioner of the Department of Social Services to serve as Co-Chair of the Connecticut Council of Persons with Disabilities. She serves on the Board of the Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition of Connecticut (ADACC) and is a member of their Training Committee. She serves on the Board of Directors of Independence Unlimited. Sharon also served as Chair of the West Hartford Advisory Commission on Persons with Disabilities.

She has worked tirelessly for the Disability:IN Connecticut / Connecticut Business Leadership Network since 2009. In her role as their Director of Business Partnership and Outreach, she recruited new members, advised members on disability related employment issues, and trained members on disability etiquette and compliance with Section 503. She worked on creating the then-new Disability:IN Connecticut website, and helped to initiate the new dues structure with the assistance of the board of directors. In addition, Sharon helped put Disability:IN Connecticut on the map and in the news through a highly successful Employer Conference and Career Fair in 2013 which included Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy as the opening speaker and Jim Wise from United Spinal as the keynote speaker. The Governor wrote a proclamation naming the date of the Career Fair as Connecticut Business Leadership Network Day. Sharon has done amazing things for the our organization and we would not be where we are today without her dedication and tireless efforts.

As Executive Director of Disability:IN Connecticut Sharon has grown Disability:IN Connecticut to be the premier organization of its kind in Connecticut, offering its members the support they need to bring diversity full circle to include people with disabilities as part of their workforce.

Our Executive Board

Joe Wendover  Joe Wendover, President

Joe Wendover currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer and Lead Consultant at Deb Russell Inc. In this role, Joe is responsible for conducting diversity, equity, and inclusion assessments with business clients around the globe to determine needs and identify growth opportunities. In addition, Joe provides executive and leadership coaching to individuals on inclusive management tools and practices and provides input on internal policy design and implementation. Joe is the former Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer for Viability Inc., where he oversaw all aspects of human resources and diversity, supporting over 500 employees in 37 different location in 6 different states around the country. Prior to his role at Viability Inc., Joe served as the Corporate Field Inclusion Manager for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), where he was responsible for an initiative to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities in the company’s workforce. Using the training model he helped create, Joe successfully placed over 250 people with disabilities into the company’s Connecticut based New England Distribution Center and replicated the training model throughout the division in 18 other centers, increasing the number of people with disabilities hired nationally. With over 15 years HR and Diversity experience, he is an expert on how behaviors and attitudes can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, and feedback systems.  He has worked with a variety of clients representing academic, not-for-profit, and for-profit sector.  Joe’s interests revolve around diversity and inclusion, equity and equality, training and development, work/life balance, motivation, and organizational climate.  Joe also currently serves as the President of the Board for Disability:IN Connecticut and has been appointed as a member of the Connecticut State Rehabilitation Council and The CT Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

 Mark Senia, Vice-President – Walgreens

  Kate LaPoint, Secretary – Numotion

Kate LaPoint oversees Talent Acquisition for Numotion, an organization focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities by enabling them to actively participate in everyday life.  Kate is  passionate about recruiting, process improvements and developing others. She has been in the recruiting field for over 14 years. Kate has been with Numotion for just under two years, prior to Numotion, she led a team of recruiters at Prudential Financial.  Kate resides in Watertown with her husband Tony and enjoys spending time with her two young children, baking, running and getting together with friends.

Our Board

Uma Bhan – Mental Health Association of CT/Retired

Mrs. Uma Bhan served as the Director of Residential and Employment Services of the Mental  Health Connecticut (MHC) for over 25 years. During her tenure, Uma had the opportunity to commence, expand and oversee several programs focused on individuals with psychiatric disabilities. In 1988, Uma started the first employment services program, Choices, for the MHC. She subsequently grew the program by 300% until her retirement in 2013. Uma then expanded her responsibilities with the MHC program to include the Residential support services. As the Director for the Residential program, Uma was responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations while striving for the goal of helping adults with mental health conditions to achieve long term health and wellness.

Uma was instrumental in supporting and winning a rigorous RFP process set forth by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services of CT (DHMAS) for a pilot program for the deaf and hard of hearing with psychiatric disabilities. Following the success of the pilot program, a permanent service program was established and funded by DHMAS.

As a testament to Uma’s leadership style, she mentored and developed a strong team of individuals that are carrying forward the mission and vision of MHC, by leading across various programs today.

Working closely with the regional Chamber of Commerce, Uma developed and maintained a strong and supportive network with the community employers.  Among other awards, she was also the recipient of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award from the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce for her volunteer work.

Uma currently serves on the Disability: IN Connecticut board and also actively volunteers with the Danbury Educational Student Mentoring program.

Prior to her appointment at MHC, Uma served as a teacher for 6 years at a prestigious institution in India. Uma received her Masters in Political Science from Jammu and Kashmir University and her Masters in Instrumental Music from Allahabad University in India.

Uma lives in Danbury, CT with her husband. She enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren and friends. Uma enjoys reading, music, hiking, mahjong and cooking Indian food.

   Steve Dean – Senior Leader focused on operational improvement/change management and fostering an inclusive workforce

Steve Dean comes with more than 15 years Supply Chain Management experience at Fortune 500 companies and several private equity firms. Steve’s focus is leading change management and culture transformation initiatives to drive market availability. He does this through employee engagement, cross-generational motivational tactics, safety, and performance initiatives.  Steve is known in the Northeast for spearheading “Operation Inclusion;” the initiative to hire people with disabilities at J. Polep Distribution Services (A Division of National Convenience Distributors). Steve’s concept for Operation Inclusion evolved from his experience working at Walgreens and the positive impact he saw on people’s lives and their families.

During his career Steve has spearheaded two large scale disability hiring programs and strengthened community partnerships to increase access for all. He has been recognized by the State of Massachusetts and the State of Connecticut as a Champion of inclusive hiring practices and a strong partner. Through Steve’s efforts and unwavering commitment to disability inclusion, the companies have been recognized by the Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Non-profit organizations, the Mayor’s office, the Governor’s Office and the U.S. Senate.

Additionally, Steve serves as the Chair of the Transportation/Distribution & Logistics Sector Partnership for Capital Workforce Partners, Vice Chairman of the Board for Viability, Chair of the National Business Advisory Board- Viability and a keynote speaker for the 2021 MRC Employer awards ceremony and a keynote for Disability IN Connecticut’s 2022 Annual Meeting.

Marc Dupont – Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky

Marc Dupont is a manager supporting customer staff for several programs at Sikorsky Aircraft/Lockheed Martin. Marc has 35+ years of experience in multiple IT roles including technical writing, application support and customer support. Marc leads the Able & Allies Business Resource Group for the Rotary and Mission Systems business area of Lockheed Martin. Marc has degrees from Western CT State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Marc is a contributor to the State of CT Dept of Education Transition Task Force and a member of the Hamden (CT) Commission on Disability Rights and Opportunities. Marc and his wife have a married adult son and three grandchildren and enjoy visits with them and others in their RV.

Ed Goldberg Dr. Ed Goldberg, Mgr. (Retired), Eversource Bus. Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Threat Assessment

Ed served as Senior IT Manager for Northeast Utilities’ (now Eversource) and subsequently Dominion’s Millstone Nuclear Power Station for 10 years. He then served 17 years leading the company’s business continuity, disaster recovery and threat assessment program until his retirement in 2020. He served for many years as the chair of the Northeast Utilities Diversity Council, during which time he became involved supporting CTBLN, now Disability:IN Connecticut

Ed taught graduate and undergraduate business and IT courses for Albertus Magnus College for 11 years, and served 14 years as both adjunct and core/full time faculty for Capella University’s School of Business and Technology PhD program. He chaired dozens of doctoral research/dissertation committees, created course content and facilitated doctoral residencies, etc.

Ed chaired the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) Business Continuity Committee.  He currently serves as an advisor to the national board for ACP, the Association of Continuity Professionals, and served as its Treasurer. He has a similar advisory role on the board of the Connecticut chapter where he served 4 terms as its President. Ed also currently serves on the boards of the FBI New Haven Citizens Academy Alumni Association and is the President of the Connecticut Infragard Members Alliance, a public-private partnership to protect critical infrastructure with the FBI..

Ed has a BS in electrical engineering and an MBA concentrated in Computer Information Systems, an advanced Graduate Certificate in Computer Communication Networks and a Doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership. He was first licensed as a Professional Engineer in 1986, and is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP / retired) with more than 30 years of IT and technical management experience.  Ed is an expert on safety-conscious work environments and the creation and maintenance of such culture in nuclear and other industrial settings. He has a varied background in industrial computer control design.  He has designed military computer systems, fire alarm and security control panels, web offset printing press accessories, and electrofinishing/plating control equipment.  He has a patent for a sub-ambient fluid circulation system used in the printing industry. He obtained his amateur “ham” radio license in 1976.

Ed lives in Waterford, CT with his wife, Judi. He has 3 adult children, 4 grandchildren, enjoys traveling, hiking and bicycling.

  Sandie Lavoy (Esteemed Board Alumnus)- Senior VP of Community Rehabilitation Services, CW Resources, Inc.

Sandie has worked in the disability employment field for over 35 years. She began her career with Goodwill Industries of the Springfield/Hartford Area in CT and MA and began working with CW Resources, a national not for profit headquartered in CT in 1997. She is currently Sr. VP of Community Rehabilitation Services and has a M.S. in Organizational Psychology.  Sandie oversees the rehabilitation division and has direct oversight of five facilities in Connecticut that provide day and employment opportunities for several hundred individuals daily.  These programs and services help people with disabilities to learn about themselves, to explore the world of work and learn transferable skills which empower them to make good life decisions. Sandie believes in employment first for all people and supports the right to choose where one works and spends their time.

In addition to serving on the board for Disability:IN CT, she is the Vice Chair of ACCSES, a national organization supporting the agencies that that provide services to people with disabilities across the United States.  ACCSES and the work of the network empowers and supports individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential through self-determination and advocacy efforts on The Hill.

Laurie Shuckerow, Talent Acquisition Team Lead – Eversource

Laurie Shuckerow is a team lead overseeing Talent Acquisition supporting the Operations organization at Eversource Energy; Laurie is passionate about diversity recruiting, analytics and process improvement.  Laurie has been at Eversource her entire career which spans over 35 years.  Laurie has held roles as an HR Business Partner, HR Generalist, and College Recruiter, and Senior Staffing Specialist .  Laurie resides in Cromwell with her husband Jim and enjoys spending time with her two adult children, traveling, cooking and taking walks.  Laurie served as past President of the Central CT Community Women’s Club, a group dedicated to philanthropy in the Cromwell/Middletown area.

Mark Soycher – Counsel, Human Resources Services, CBIA (Retired)

Mark Soycher has over 30 years experience guiding Connecticut employers and employees through the maze of laws and regulations affecting their workplace, providing legal assistance with all workplace problems from hiring to firing, and on how best to plan and apply workplace strategies that anticipate and avoid legal disputes.

Before retiring in December, 2020 as HR Counsel at CBIA, the state’s largest business organization, Soycher responded to thousands of personnel-related inquires annually from member companies, and conducted training sessions for thousands of Connecticut workers on a wide range of topics, including Sexual Harassment Prevention, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention, Employment Law for Managers, Workplace Discrimination, ADA and Ethics Compliance.  Prior to his time at CBIA, Soycher was in private law practice for a dozen years, representing and counseling both employers and individuals in employment matters.  Before that, he was general counsel and lobbyist for the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut, a construction industry trade association.

Soycher has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in special education from William Paterson College, and a law degree from New York Law School.  During his years of practicing law he was a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, and served on the executive committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s labor and employment law section.  He has been a longstanding member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and previously served as Director of Legislative Affairs on the SHRM-CT HR Council. He has continued in retirement to serve as a volunteer board member of Disability:IN Connecticut, a coalition of CT employers working to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. (updated 10/6/2023)

Jeremiah Dunphy, Strategic Human Resources Manager/Generalist – CW Resources