president

Co-President and Education Chair- Jeanette Holahan

Jeanette Holahan is a Strategist for Commercial Digital Marketing at Dell Inc. She is the mother of three children; two boys Zachary and Anthony and daughter Sydney who was born with Down syndrome. She has been on the board since 2008 when she became the New Parent program Coordinator.  Along with continuing the New Parent program, Jeanette has stepped into the Education chair in 2014 where she will continue and grow DSACT’s strong education program for our members.  She is passionate about providing parents and educators with known information, tools and resources to provide individuals with Down syndrome the best inclusive education possible.

E-Mail: jholahan@dsact.com

health co-chairCo-President and Healthcare Chair - Suzanne Shepherd

Suzanne Shepherd is the mother of three boys – Connor, 27, Kevin, 22, and Jack, 15 who has Down syndrome. She is married to Carl Shepherd, co-founder of Homeaway. Suzanne is also the former Director of Legal Services for the Seton Family of Hospitals. Suzanne has been Chair of the DSACT Healthcare Committee since 2008. She coordinates presentations to healthcare providers to improve the way the diagnosis of Down syndrome is presented to new parents. As part of this initiative, Suzanne scripted “Down Syndrome in the 21st Century” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I13KxRYqoo0. Suzanne also coordinates the DSACT Teen Group and leads the DSACT Development Board. She was born in New Jersey and is actually proud of that. Having married a native Texan, however, she’s lived in Austin since 1983 and calls Austin home.

E-Mail: suzshepherd@sbcglobal.net

comite latino co-chair

Vice-President and Comite Latino Chair - Guillermo Carrillo

Guillermo Carrillo has a wonderful wife and 3 children.  The Carrillo’s have been involved with DSACT since 2007. Guillermo is self employed and his family loves the community here in Austin. Guillermo enjoys trail running and competing in endurance runs. The Carrillo’s stay busy around their home but make the time to help DSACT as much as possible. “I consider helping others a responsibility and privilege.”

E-Mail: guillermocarrillo@sbcglobal.net

treasurer

Treasurer – Cathy Thomas-Costilla

Cathy Thomas-Costilla has been on the DSACT board since 2011, serving as Treasurer. Her family has been active with DSACT since 2009. Professionally, Cathy is a state certified general real estate appraiser and is an MAI designated member of the Appraisal Institute. She lives in Georgetown with her husband, Michael, and children, Thad and Shelby, who has Down syndrome. The entire Costilla family are Black Belts and members of the American Taekwondo Association, attending classes in Round Rock. .

E-Mail: cathy@dsact.com

 

 

Board Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs:

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Communication - OPEN

This position is currently open.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact info@dsact.com

 Open button v2 Education Co-Chair - OPENThis position is currently open.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact jholahan@dsact.com
Programs Chair & Government Affairs Chair

Programs Chair and Government Affairs Chair - Gerard Jimenez 

Gerard Jimenez has been a realtor for over 20 years. His daughter Sofia is his inspiration for all the advocacy work he has done over the years. He has been an advocate for people with disabilities and a community organizer for over 15 years, advocating in school districts, city, state, and federal government. Gerard was a leader in the effort to get a Respectful Language Bill passed into law in Texas and has worked on many other legislative issues of concern to people with disabilities. He is a graduate of the internationally recognized advocacy training program Partners in Policymaking and has served on the Board of Directors of DSACT for about 13 years in many capacities currently serving as the Programs and Government Affairs Chair. Gerard serves as a liaison to Texas congressional delegations for the National Down Syndrome Society and was instrumental in the creation of the Texas Down syndrome Advocacy Coalition, a statewide government affairs committee comprised of representatives from Down syndrome associations across Texas. Gerard serves as Government Affairs Director for the Texas Consortium for Post Secondary Opportunities for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as well as Co-Chair for the Austin Independent School District’s Special Education Advisory Committee. He is a Community Partner with the Austin Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, a member of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and the Intellectual and Developmental Disability Alliance of Central Texas. Gerard is Vice-President of the South Austin Optimist Club and also founded a sports league for children with disabilities, The Austin All Star League. Gerard also serves on the Special Olympics State Outreach Committee, the Disability Policy Consortium, the Citizens Advisory Council of the Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the Austin Interfaith Inclusion Network, and the Texas Advocates Self-Advocates Voices Engaged Project Advisory Committee.

E-Mail: gjimenez@dsact.com

Fundraising Co-Chair- Allie McCannAllie McCann is formerly a cardiac nurse at Breckinridge Hospital and Austin Heart, who also spent time as a legal nurse consultant for Clark, Thomas and Winters (CTW). She is now a full-time mother of three, and an avid athlete competing in numerous running and cycling events across Central Texas. She is a member of Dell Children’s Medical Trust and has published a children’s book, Stella and the Little Tree, to fund Down syndrome medical research.E-Mail: allie5mccann@gmail.com

Public Relations Chair - Liz Jones-Dilworth

Liz Jones-Dilworth works with her husband, Josh, at Jones-Dilworth Inc., a PR & marketing agency that focuses on early-stage technologies. JDI also works with the nonprofit Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas. She is the comics editor of The Daily Dot, an online newspaper covering web communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Before that, she got her Ph.D. in American poetry at The University of Texas, where she taught rhetoric and writing in addition to literature.

E-Mail: liz@jones-dilworth.com

Christy McDonald photoSocial Committee & Calendar Co-Chair - Christy McDonald

Christy McDonald lives in Austin and has been on the DSACT Board since 2012.  She is married to Danny McDonald, a corporate in-house attorney, and together they have three children:  son Taylor, 6, and daughters Abby, 3, and Bailey, 2.   Both Abby and Bailey have Down syndrome and Christy enjoys giving back to DSACT by volunteering her time as Co-Chair of the Social Committee and Calendar Gala.

E-Mail: christymcdonald00@gmail.com

Social Committee & Calendar Gala Co-Chair - Tracey Cantu

Tracey Cantu lives in Austin and has been on the DSACT Board since 2013.  Tracey works full time for the Texas Medical Association, managing Membership Recruitment and Political Candidate Support for the TMA Political Action Committee (TEXPAC).  Tracey is married to Felipe Cantu and together have a son Benjamin, born with Down syndrome in April of 2011.  Tracey is currently volunteering her time as Co-Chair of the Social Committee and Calendar Gala.

E-Mail: traceycantu10@gmail.com

Staff:

 

Development Director – Cameron LaHaise

Cameron is the Development Director at DSACT and is passionate about the DSACT Mission as well as increasing community awareness for the organization.  She is honored to be on staff and feels very fortunate to love her job and the work she is doing for DSACT.  She is the mother to Audrey and happily married to Kevin LaHaise.  Born and raised in Massachusetts and a graduate of Umass Amherst – she has been in Austin since 2007 and is now a proud Austinite.  Cameron is looking forward to all of the new DSACT programming and events.

E-Mail:cameron.lahaise@dsact.com

Vicki Landry HeadshotOperations Manager – Vicki Landry

Vicki Landry made her way to Austin by way of California in December 2014 and in March, joined the DSACT team.  She is a proud New Orleans native who received a BS in Marketing from LSU and in 2010, an MBA from Tulane University.  Prior to DSACT, Vicki was the Program Manager for the Intellectual Property and Licensing group at Apple Inc. in Cupertino, CA.  Vicki enjoys short distance running and her Jazzercise exercise program, which works well because she also enjoys tasty meals and (almost) all things chocolate!

E-Mail:vicki.landry@dsact.com

 

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Education Manager – OPEN (Part- time staff)

This position is currently open.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact jholahan@dsact.com

 E-Mail: jholahan@dsact.com

Administrative & Programs Coordinator – Rachel Walker

Rachel is the Administrative and Programs Coordinator at DSACT, joining the staff full-time in May 2014 after working part-time since the Spring of 2013. She is a recent UT graduate (Class of 2014) and is excited to make Austin her home, leaving her hometown friends and family in Houston rather jealous. During her years at UT Rachel was a member of the service organization, Texas Lassos, and through volunteer work was introduced to DSACT. Her passion for service led her to intern with DSACT and serve as the Lassos Philanthropy Chair her senior year, helping coordinate the 2nd Annual 3.2.1 Fun Run. In her spare time Rachel likes to train for half and full marathons, explore the Hill Country, and try as many Austin restaurants as possible. Rachel is passionate about DSACT and its mission to support individuals with Down syndrome and looks forward to what the future has in store for all of its members.

E-mail: rachel.walker@dsact.com