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.
A native Portlander, Alexa Stuart is a project manager at Nike where she’s held multiple roles in Social & Community Impact. She holds degrees from Portland Community College, University of Northern Colorado and the American University of Paris and has lived in France and China. Alexa and her husband are the proud parents of two awesome boys, including one who experiences a disability, who keep them busy with school, play, sports, and mischief. She likes to spend time with her family, exploring the outdoors and global travel.
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.
Emily Purry is a public speaker, trainer, keynote, disability rights advocate and coach in Portland, Oregon. Legally blind and the parent of a child with autism, she brings her personal and professional experience together in a unique way to help move companies forward by delivering presentations and trainings on disability topics relevant to today’s business environment. She specializes in accessibility, technology and the world of ADA, providing valuable content from her lived experiences as a person with a disability. Emily has experience working in the government and non-profit sectors, and serves on the Multnomah County Community Involvement Committee. Currently, she also serves on The State of Oregon Rehabilitation Council, the Board of Directors for Oral Hull Park and RAPID. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master’s in Business Management, and is a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
A native Vermonter who now calls Oregon home, Kyle is the Site Director of Mansfield Hall-Eugene, a residential college support program for students with diverse learning needs and is also a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education at the University of Oregon. Kyle has been working with individuals experiencing disability since 2009 in a variety of roles including behavior interventionist, coordinator of a customized employment program, public-school special education teacher, and field supervisor for special education teaching candidates. Kyle is also on the Board of Directors of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition and currently serves on the advisory committee for the Oregon Adult Transition Summit sponsored by Think College. In all of these roles, Kyle has remained committed to a strengths-based, person-centered approach to foster and promote inclusive opportunities for all individuals to embark on fulfilling and productive lives. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the mighty Oregon Cascades, cycling in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, crushing podcasts, and spending time with his wife and two rescue pups.
Lucy is a full-time mom, homeschools her three children, including her eldest child, Alex (13), who experiences autism and works with the Ride to Care program. She speaks Spanish as her primary language and is fluent in English. She came to the United States as a child and is currently a DACA recipient making her a DREAMER determined to follow her passion, which is to serve others. Lucy is an ardent supporter of FACT Oregon, especially the All Ability Tri4Youth, which her family has participated in the last 2 years. Lucy also served on FACT Oregon’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Stakeholder’s Workgroup and the experience made her excited to get more involved, serve on the board and help FACT Oregon support families in her community.
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.
Patricia Cavanaugh has worked in the field of Special Education for over 30 years. She was a Supervisor for a Part C program in Nevada, worked in early childhood special education for CHOC children’s hospital in California and is currently a Mental Health/Inclusion and Special Needs Content Specialist for Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC). Patricia has three adult children and three grandchildren, with one who has an IEP. She is passionate about supporting families with young children navigate special education services and helping them to achieve their goals.