Joan LaBelle

Joan joined DRS in 2017 as Executive Director.

Joan has lived with her disability since the age of five. She credits her advocacy skills to her mother, who was an advocate extraordinaire…way before we knew what that was…okay, not way before. It was Joan’s mother who taught her to let nothing stand in her way of her dreams and to help others achieve their dreams. She has more than 35 years (both as a youth and an adult) within the disability movement.

Professionally, Joan was one of the founding members that began The Disability Network in Flint Michigan and as chair of the grant committee assisted with the application for their incorporation as a Center for Independent Living.

Since that time Joan has had almost every position within Centers for Independent Living (CIL) across the country. In particular, she has focused on oversight and expansion of programs, which included ensuring quality assurance and meeting regulations for a CIL for a variety of funding sources.

Nationally, Joan has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living. She co-facilitated planning their national conference for several years. She has also served on a variety of committees for the National Council on Independent Living.

Most recently she was part of the Administration on Community review team that selected the new SILC and CIL Technical Assistant Centers.

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