Paul Carson, President
Paul Carson specializes in learning and development programs for vulnerable healthcare populations and the clinicians who serve them. A native Oregonian and graduate of Portland State University, Paul works to provide greater awareness around challenging health conditions, advocating for health literacy responsiveness and improving patient experience with medications. He is a longtime member of Toastmasters International and frequent public speaker. Paul and his wife Susan are parents to Anthony, a boy who makes the most of all his extra chromosomes. Paul is an enthusiastic advocate for disability rights and leads seminars on trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing and presentation skills improvement.
Christine Furrer, Vice President
Christine Furrer is a special needs and family law attorney licensed in Oregon. She grew up in Minnesota but has lived in Texas and Washington DC. Christine started her undergraduate degree at Howard University in Washington, DC and completed it at Portland State University, and her law degree at Lewis & Clark College. Christine is the mom of three children, one who experiences Angelman Syndrome. She is passionate about helping families who experience disability, representing them in education matters, guardianships, supportive decision making, trusts, estate planning and family law matters. During her personal time, Christine spends as much time as possible outdoors. She goes on adventures with her children, is a lifelong runner, biker, yogi, indoor cyclist, skier, hiker and mediocre golfer.
Collin Bonsey is a Financial Services Professional and hiring manager for New York Life in Portland and the surrounding area. Locally homegrown, Collin is from Newberg, Oregon and a graduate from the University of Oregon. After college, Collin lived in Spain for years and mastered the Spanish language, moving back to the United States in 2012. He married his wife, Adrianne, in 2017 and have 1 child together, Leonardo, who experiences Down Syndrome, and another boy due in November of 2019! His step daughter, Jasmine, also just graduated high school in 2019. Collin is passionate about inspiring others to be the best version of themselves, whether in their personal lives or professional. His primary role is being a father and husband, and professionally he is a mentor and coach to his team. In his free time, he enjoys hiking outdoors with his family as well as traveling the world.
Originally from Seattle, Connor calls Oregon home after moving to Portland in 1996. He earned a degree in Finance from Portland State University in 2012, and also spent five seasons on the football field as an All-Conference quarterback for the Vikings. Connor has developed a specialty in helping families create valuable financial strategies to provide for the lifelong needs of their loved ones experiencing a disability or special need. In 2014, he finished his Chartered Special Needs Consultant [ChSNC] designation from the American College. Connor serves on the Portland State Alumni Association Board and the Portland State Athletic Department Advisory Board. He is a member of the Society of Settlement Planners and Academy of Special Needs Planners. Connor is the Founder of the Palladio Group, and lives in SW Portland with his wife, Lexi, and their golden retriever, Hootie.
Elliott Dale is a business and real estate attorney licensed in Oregon. Originally from Alaska, he was raised in SE Portland, and completed an undergraduate degree at of University of Oregon, an MBA at Willamette University, and a law degree in the evening program at Lewis & Clark Law School. He and his wife Jennifer have three small children, one born with Down syndrome. He currently serves on the Oregon Department of Education’s advisory IDEA Dispute Resolution Committee as a parent representative. Elliott is passionate about supporting families experiencing disabilities, helping people grow businesses and organizations, and building Oregon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Eric Richards is a native of Michigan who moved to Oregon in 2002. He has 34 years of executive or administrative experience focused on the rights and desires of people with disabilities and their families. He served as CEO of non-profit organizations in Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska before moving to Oregon to become Director of Operations in the Oregon Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, where he worked until 2010. From that time, Eric has been employed by the Salem-Keizer School District and is currently its Director of Student Services. Eric is married to Theresa Richards, a Director in the Oregon Department of Education’s Office of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. They have two daughters: Kylie and McKenzie. Eric holds a Masters Degree in Counselor Education from Central Michigan University, a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Iowa State University, and an EdS from Lewis and Clark College in Educational Leadership. Eric is also a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s Dimensions in Leadership Program.
Mary Hart was born in Chicago and raised in a northern suburb of the city. She relocated to Oregon to attend Willamette University, and moved to Portland after graduating. Mary is the Village Organizational Officer at Village Family Capital, a Portland based growth-equity firm that supports the region’s top early stage, profit-generating companies by filling an undersupplied gap with growth equity capital and value-add resources. She has 15 years of driving business results as a highly adaptable, organized and efficient operator with a strategic business sense. She has the ability to balance the needs of partners, investors, business associates, and community members in a highly adaptable, entrepreneurial, and a creative way. She is a problem solver who thrives on challenges and the opportunity to make a difference. Before joining VFC she was the Chief Operating Officer at Meriwether Group, prior to that she held a position at Lewis & Clark Law School, and served as a paralegal assistant in the local law firm, Stoll Berne. Though she does not have a direct association to disability, she is a very active advocate for the inclusion of people and families in the community that experience disability.