Meet our Team
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Cofounder & Board Chair
I am currently the Flight Path Coordinator for Red Wing Public Schools and also have 11 years of Special Education Teaching Experience. I have a Bachelor's degree in Special Education as well as a Master's degree in Educational Administration. I first traveled to Cambodia in 2009, when I truly began to understand the discrepancy of services available to people with disabilities in various parts of our world, despite the interest and efforts of caring and compassionate people. Through the trainings I have since lead in Cambodia since that time, I have seen the positive impact they have had and I hope that through our continued efforts with DSI, we can enrich the services available to people with disabilities around the world. Additionally, with a diagnosis of epilepsy, I am thankful for the support and care I have access to which has further driven a personal connection to the work we are doing.
As one of DSI’s founders, I believe that together we all can and must stand against injustice and inequality that exists in our world today. My educational background includes a degree in music therapy and a Masters in Special Education. As I grew up with a brother with multiple disabilities, spent time working with marginalized and vulnerable populations in Cambodia, taught special education in Alaska, and worked in culturally diverse situations (including with immigrant and refugee citizens), God continued to cultivate my passion and open my eyes and heart toward those with disabilities, who are all too often unseen and unheard in many parts of the world today. In 2017, I was selected as a U.S. delegate to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, because of my work with DSI. I currently also serve as a Human Rights Commissioner in Red Wing, MN, and am proud to be a part of DSI's mission and development.
I am an IT professional with over 16 years of experience in software development, design, software architecture, as well as a variety of IT leadership roles. Besides my love for technology, I am also an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and mountaineering. As an amputee and a disabled athlete, I am passionate about disability advocacy and empowering disabled individuals. This is why I am committed to helping DSI accomplish its vision and strategic objectives. I am honored to be a part of DSI and look forward to accomplishing our mission one individual, one program, and one country at a time.
Board & Treasurer
I work in corporate government relations and am based out of Minneapolis. I hold a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. I previously worked in disability policy for the State of Minnesota, focusing on accessibility law. I am excited for the opportunity to help DSI share best practices for advancing policies that empower people with disabilities, across the globe.
I am a social worker with a background in supporting adults with disabilities in residential and day program settings. I earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the College of St Scholastica and a Master of Public Administration from Hamline University. I currently reside in Chicago, IL with my husband and our dog. I work as a Program Development Specialist at Lions Clubs International. My role is in the development of international service programs for volunteers with a focus on pediatric cancer programs. I joined the DSI team through the Advisory Working Group as I have a deep and ongoing passion for disability support. I enjoy contributing to the development of DSI programming.
I hold a Master's in Comparative International Development Education from the University of Minnesota. I believe that opportunity and access are imperative; and envision a world where organizations are responsive to the needs of all people. As a Development Professional, I see raising funds equally as important as challenging impact and understanding what adaptive evaluation and learning can mean for an organization. This includes active and sincere storytelling that is not only culturally appropriate but gives voice to individual and collective experience. I am excited for the opportunity to be part of DSI and help advance its efforts in reducing the cycle of disability and poverty.
I’m a mother of two wonderful girls. My youngest has cerebral palsy and she has been my inspiration to advocate for others with disabilities. One of my greatest community achievements was co-founding the Red Wing Area Universal Playground where people of all abilities can interact and play together. I enjoy working with DSI as the organization continues to grow and enrich the lives of others in much-needed areas globally.
Catherine Hennessy Wolter
I am a Minnesota-based musicologist, music educator, and advocate for social change. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and teach music history and world music courses at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. My relationship with DSI began as an undergraduate when I met two of DSI's eventual founders, Elizabeth and Jennie. I have been inspired by their international work for the better part of a decade leading up to DSI's official launch, and I am delighted to be a part of the team today. A central way I serve DSI is through grant writing and other development work.
I am a nonprofit professional, researcher, and disability rights advocate. I hold Bachelor’s degrees in Youth & Nonprofit Leadership and International Studies, as well as a Master’s degree in Human Rights. My disability support background spans from coordinating inclusive international development programs and international disability rights campaigns, to working in direct support roles through outdoor recreational programs for children and teens with disabilities. My international experiences include researching and studying human rights and community development in both South Africa and Bolivia. I currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I first was connected to DSI by applying to join their Advisory Working Group in the summer of 2019. I am excited and honored to work with the AWG on programming, and to contribute fund development support to the Board. It is such a privilege to be able to work with this group of committed individuals towards DSI’s critical mission and collective vision.
DSI's current structure includes a dedicated group of volunteer Board of Directors contributing their skills to DSI's development, as well as committees that work to advance the development and mission of DSI.
Current committees focus on:
Program development (through our Advisory Working Group)
Do you have skills and interest in being involved in committee work or helping us on a consult-type basis?