Join us in spreading awareness and raising funds for the WSA.
Throughout her 20-year career, Mary has demonstrated the skills necessary to lead across a variety of areas crucial to the WSA’s continued progress. Mary began her career as a direct service professional working in residential programming; during her tenure, she worked in various capacities including day habilitation, residential habilitation, post-secondary education, transitional services, case management, supported employment, behavioral health, nursing, and early intervention. Since 2013, she has served as the Chief Executive Officer for chapters of The Arc in both Alaska and Texas. Prior to these roles, she worked for one of Western New York’s largest nonprofit health and human service agencies and assisted in creating systematic change across the state.
Dr. Van Haneghan earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Buffalo, a master’s degree in adult education and literacy from Buffalo State College, and a doctorate in education from Walden University. Her academic research has focused on individuals who experience intellectual or developmental disabilities and ranges from historical institutional models to the benefits of post-secondary education.
Sarah joined the WSA as staff in 2020, but has been involved since her son Matthew was diagnosed in 2003 when he was 13 months old. She has served as one of our regional chair volunteers and as a member of our board of trustees. In addition to her volunteer work with us, Sarah is a Partners in Policymaking graduate, and volunteered as a parent leader for Raising Special Kids. Her past professional positions have included leadership roles in learning and development, marketing, communications, sales, and events. She currently resides in Melbourne, FL with her husband Mike and their four children: daughter Taegon, sons Matthew (WS, born in 2002), Devyn, and Connor. In her spare time, she enjoys music, travel, crafts, and building with Lego.
Bio coming soon!
Experienced in event organization, internal and external communications, process creation, data analysis, and budget oversight, Joanna brings an unparalleled level of customer service and dedication to the WSA. Joanna began her career, and worked for nearly two decades, in all aspects of the hospitality industry, ultimately starting and owning a successful brewery with her husband. Drawn to mission-driven work, Joanna transitioned her skills to a large nonprofit that provides community-based support to people with disabilities and their families in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut. At the WSA, Joanna is responsible for ensuring everyone involved has the tools to succeed running third-party events. She looks forward to building long-lasting relationships that foster the mission of the WSA.
Joanna currently resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband Vince, daughters Scarlet and Emma, plus Winston, a 60-pound lap dog who is a Border Collie/Springer Spaniel Mix. They love hiking, playground hopping, kayaking, reading, playing video games like Super Mario and Minecraft, gardening, and working on their home.
Joel Liestman lives in Maple Grove, MN, with his wife, Jennifer, and their son, Bennett (WS). After an unpleasant diagnosis meeting and the initial stress of months in the NICU, Joel decided to get involved with advocacy groups for the developmentally and cognitively disabled. Before joining the WSA staff, he was the chairperson for the Upper Midwest region and a multifaceted volunteer coordinating Walk events, social media content, and even bridge lighting events to raise awareness of WS. Most recently, he served as a Parent Support Navigator and Social Media Specialist with Family Voices of Minnesota. There he would connect parents with one-on-one peer support and county/state resources, facilitate webinars and support groups (including a group for dads with kids with disabilities called “The Dad Joke Experience”), and manage social media content. He also produced, directed, edited, and hosted their annual fundraising benefit. He currently serves as a Board Member for Partnership Resources, Inc., a Twin Cities based service organization for adults with developmental disabilities. Joel's been an actor and singer for over 30 years and loves having ties to an excited and supportive arts community of the Twin Cities. You can find out more information about his advocacy and performing at joelliestman.com.
Ann Marie Sanders brings more than 35 years of fundraising, marketing, and administrative experience to the Williams Syndrome Association, having served most recently as the Donor Relations and Events Manager at The Arc of the Capital Area in Austin, TX. Her career background includes extensive involvement in the implementation, oversight, and management of a variety of donor management platforms as well as considerable involvement with nonprofit professional theaters, including her role as Associate Producer of the 25th Anniversary National Tour of Ain’t Misbehavin,’ which traveled to 80 cities in 35 states.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in music business from State University of New York, College at Fredonia with a double concentration in arts administration and communications/public relations. Much of her passion for human services stems from her two-year experience working and traveling worldwide with the international performing group Up With People. Ann Marie is looking forward to building new relationships and having a positive impact on the Williams syndrome community.
Lacie brings an extensive background in non-profit program development and for-profit project management, with over two decades of experience directing, planning, implementing, and expanding programs. She has held roles in marketing, graphic design, communication, grant management, plus technical writing and editing.
Recently she has worked with a team to film international scientists converging on the sea ice in Utqiaġvik, Alaska; provided sole staff support for an artist who experiences disabilities while filming his story on location in Phoenix, Arizona; led successful fundraising campaigns for multiple non-profits in San Francisco, Anchorage, and Austin; and collaborated with MIT engineers and UAF marine biologists in Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
Lacie earned a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Sculpture and Computer Art from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Outside of work, Lacie enjoys biking with her three dogs.