Meet Our Board of Directors

 

OFFICERS  
PRESIDENT - Laura Alden is a Wake County Special Education teacher at Heritage High School in Wake Forest. She works with 9th – 12th grade students enrolled in the Occupational Course of Study (OCS) program. Laura has been teaching with WCPSS since 2008, and began her teaching career in New York in 1995. Laura and her husband Ken have two daughters, Sarah and Erin.  Laura holds a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts Education from Hofstra University, a Master’s in Special Education from New York University and a Professional Diploma in both School and District Administration from Queens College, City University of NY, and one day hopes to finish her Doctorate in School/District Administration & Educational Leadership.  Working with children with special needs became a passion when Sarah was formally diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at approximately a year old.  Upon relocating to North Carolina, Laura found her way to The Arc of Wake County by serving on their Board of Directors for two years.  Laura is excited to continue her advocacy work with The Arc of the Triangle. Laura enjoys volunteering with her girls’ schools, Sarah’s dance class, Erin’s seasonal sports teams, taking their rescue puppy on long walks, reading historical fiction, and taking road trips with Ken, the girls, and dog in the family minivan. Term: 2018-21
MKeller.png VICE PRESIDENT - Maia Keller is a Clinical Research Specialist at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. Her last position she was Special Education Teacher Assistant at Lincoln Heights Elementary School in Fuquay Varina, and worked with students in 3rd-5th grade. Her favorite parts of her job were laughing and having fun with her students and coworkers, watching her students grow and meet goals, and attending the Special Olympics. Before becoming a TA in 2013, she spent a year and a half living and working with individuals with I/DD at the L'Arche Boston North community in Massachusetts. Maia graduated from Duke University in 2010 with a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology and graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2018 with a M.S. in Aeronautics. Maia enjoys reading, running, hiking, watching movies and sports, and baking. Term 2019-21
NKeller.png TREASURER -Nick Keller is the Controller at United Methodist Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization in Garner. Prior to his career there, he was an auditor at Dixon Hughes Goodman in Raleigh where he worked primarily on healthcare and non-profit clients. Nick obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting from Appalachian State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He enjoys traveling and weight training and is an avid fan of App State sports and Japanese culture. Term: 2018-21
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SECRETARY - Roxana Pourdeyhimi, MD is a child neurologist with Raleigh Neurology Associates. She is a movement disorder specialist but also sees general neurology.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, hiking, traveling, and gardening. She is excited to be adding the Board of Directors for The Arc as a way to give back to her community. Term ends 6/30

DIRECTORS  
ABear.png Allison Baer is a National Board-Certified Special Education teacher she has been teaching for 13 years at Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay-Varina. Allison loves spending time with her daughter Brooklyn and her dog Lily. She enjoys dancing, baking, and shopping. She also loves to plan events. Allison has been working with Arts Access which combines things she is passionate about; access for all and the Arts. She is looking forward to contributing to The Arc through her knowledge of people with special needs and her ability to plan an event.  Term ends 6/30
PChae.png Peter Chae is a Certified Public Accountant at Dixon Hughes Goodman in Raleigh. He works on assurance and attestation engagements across a wide range of industries with a focus on healthcare entities, various nonprofit organizations and governmental units. Peter is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BS in Economics and a Masters in Accounting. Peter participates in various community outreach and volunteer activities through his firm at Dixon Hughes Goodman. He is excited to give back to the community through serving on the Finance Committee for The Arc. Peter enjoys weightlifting, traveling, and hiking. Term: 2018-21
KClark.png Kenzie Clark is the Founder and Manager of Able Transition Consulting. As a former Special Education Teacher, Kenzie saw the need for transition services and sought out a Master’s Degree in Secondary Special Education and Transition through the University of Kansas. The transition process and preparing all families and individuals for high-quality lives is her passion. Kenzie's masters degree provides her with expertise and knowledge regarding all things transition. Kenzie is happy to be supporting families to ensure successful post-school outcomes and peace of mind. Through building unique and comprehensive person-centered planning, she knows that clients will be able to access high quality and happy adult lives! She lives with her amazing husband, Alex, and sweet pup, Mae, in Raleigh, NC. On the weekends you can find Kenzie hiking, reading a book, teaching yoga, going to church and spending time with family and friends. Term ends 6/30
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Robert Faircloth is an active member in several Arc Community Programs: Supported Retirement Program, Grace Notes Choir and Triangle Self-Advocacy Network. He joined the Supported Retirement Program & TSAN in September 2016. He joined the Grace Notes Choir in August 2015. In his spare time, Robert likes to sing and listen to various Elvis Presley songs and is a very avid bowler. Robert is very excited to have been recently selected to the Arc Board of Directors and he is looking forward to providing his years of experience within the self-advocacy volunteering community to help strengthen the Boards position to serve the community as a whole. Term 2019-22

HLaster_headshot.jpg Hillary Laster is a Kindergarten teacher at Franklin Academy in Wake Forest.  Hillary graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a BA in Elementary Education and concentration in Behavioral Studies.  She has been teaching for eight years.  During this time, she has served on Student Intervention and Support teams and has enjoyed creating an inclusive classroom for her students.  Hillary loves dancing, exercising, fishing, boating, and being on the coast.  Hillary is an active member in the Junior League of Raleigh and is excited to continue serving others in the area through The Arc.  Term 2019-21
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Kate Mekeel began her career working for Access CNY, serving adults with disabilities in the Individualized Support Services program while completing her undergraduate studies in Public Health at Syracuse University. She decided to pursue her Master’s in Health Administration degree at the University of Pittsburgh and transitioned her career working for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She served on the UPMC Passavant’s executive management group as the Director of Ancillary Services overseeing key essential service departments. During this time she had the opportunity to lead the ProjectSEARCH program at UPMC, providing a transition to work experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in various hospital departments. Kate relocated to Raleigh, NC with her family six years ago and considers this her permanent home. Kate Mekeel is currently working as the Vice President of Operations with TeamHealth.  During her down time, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. She is excited to be a part of The Arc of the Triangle to continue to promote and protect the human rights of individuals with special needs.

RMumford.png Rusty Mumford serves as North America Commercial Data and Partner Operations Manager for Red Hat. He holds an MBA from Liberty University along with a B.S. in Communications. Rusty enjoys reading, running, traveling, writing, and developing his personal coaching business – Steadfit Coaching. He is married to his wife of 16 years, Jennifer, and is the father of two beautiful daughters (one of which is on the Autism spectrum). Rusty previously served on the Board of Directors from 2013-2015 for The Arc of Wake County and is excited to return for another term. Term 2019-22
ONimbalkar_headshot.jpeg Omkar Nimbalkar is a Vice President of IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software with IBM and is passionate about Tech for Good. He has been actively involved in the Call for Code program, which harnesses the ingenuity of developers across the world to create innovative solutions for Natural Disasters, Climate Change, COVID-19, and Racial Justice. While working internationally, Omkar also championed the Smarter City program for betterment of citizen services. After relocating to RTP from the Bay Area, Omkar, his wife, Vrinda, and kids, Jay & Shreya, were looking for ways to give back to the local community and were deeply moved by the noble work done by The Arc of the Triangle. Omkar is looking forward to being on the Board of Directors of the Arc and serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
JRavitch.png Josh Ravitch has almost 30 years of experience helping nonprofit agencies as both a volunteer and paid consultant. He provides experience in strategic planning, program assessment, organizational development, budgeting, and grant writing. He currently serves as the Past President of a local nonprofit with over 500 members, and as a leader of the Chapel Hill Human Services Advisory Board. Josh also spends considerable time volunteering for several other local nonprofit agencies including the Arc, as well as helping care for his severely autistic stepson. In addition to currently serving as Secretary of The Arc, Josh has prior experience as Secretary of another local nonprofit for several years. Josh has helped organizations to thrive in both good and challenging times. As well, he can be depended on to provide meetings with many forms of chocolate. Term: 2018-21.
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Jennifer Thompson is Senior Director of Compliance at Aurinia Pharmaceuticals. Jennifer is originally from Long Island, New York but has called Wake Forest, NC home for 11 years. She graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, VA with a Bachelors in Business Administration and went on to Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan, NY. She has legal licenses in both NY and NC. Jennifer has had community service and advocacy at the center of her life since she was a teen after losing her uncle to AIDS. She is excited to support The Arc as board member after contributing to its programs over the past few years with colleagues from GSK. When Jennifer is not working, she loves spending time with her husband, Brett, children, Lillian and Brett Jr., and two puppies Barkley and Mellie. She also loves to go hiking, do pilates and listen to live music.

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Paul Yokabitus is an experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Cary, NC who was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The economic downturn led Paul and his wife, Alix, to the Triangle where Paul attended Campbell University School of Law and later planted his roots in the Cary community. His focus on the client-attorney relationship and the peace of mind of his clients sets Paul apart from other traditional lawyers. When he’s not helping families and business owners, you can find Paul spending time with his wife, Alix, and his sons, Mason and Conor. Term 2019-22

 

Effective July 1, 2021