So, who are these people?
Lauren Beader, Co-founder
Lauren is Maya and Dragon's human. She's also a Special Olympics gymnastics coach, a copywriter, and an AVID ice cream fan. Lauren started coaching Special Olympics when she was in middle school. Now, 15 years later, she runs her local program! Inspired by them (and the cats, of course), Lauren wanted to start AllWorthy to help make a bigger impact. Because everyone deserves to be loved and accepted.
Harrison Makofsky, Co-founder
Having grown up with Type 1 Diabetes, Harrison understands the challenges that come when your body doesn't work the way it should. But when Harrison adopted Maya, his whole life changed. Suddenly, he was thrown into the world of cats and disability advocacy, and he couldn't be happier! Harrison's the illustrator behind the book and artwork, and the brains behind how everything else works. He works in product research for a big website, with a background in customer success that definitely helps our organization run. He's excited to see what happens next!
Felicia Hayden, Secretary
Felicia, also known as Maya and Dragon's catsitter and BFF, has served as a motivator and sounding board for everything we do. She has a background in psychology, English, and PR, and loves spending time with Dragon and her dog Noodle. Felicia helps us keep things running over here—both physically, and emotionally.
Jessica Connor, Partner
Jessica is the founder and owner of Outshine Labels, the home of our store. Shortly after her youngest daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, she started a journal and an Instagram to share their story. She ended up connecting with special needs families all around the world, which eventually led to the creation of her online marketplace for advocates. Apart from managing our store, she helps us with her opinions, advice, and strategy. We wanted to partner with her because why do something on your own, when someone else is doing it and you could have a bigger impact when you work together? And guess what: it's working.
Board of Directors
Gabby is a first grade teacher in Stoneham, MA. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication Disorders from UMass Amherst and a Masters in Elementary and Special Education from Wheelock College. Outside of teaching, she loves traveling, running, hiking, and photography.
Born with Down Syndrome, Kayla experiences this world with a unique perspective and lets nothing get in her way. She is a competitive Special Olympics gymnast, a mentor to younger athletes on her team, an artist at Gateway Arts, and a spectacular dancer. She even once received an award at the State House for fulfilling her dream to attend college and pursue a future in the arts. Kayla does everything she sets her mind to, and is so excited to be able to be a part of this organization.
Brooke has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, a Master’s in Education, Reading Specialist, and is a licensed mild/moderate special education and reading specialist. For the last 4 years, Brooke taught first grade in an inclusive classroom in Springfield, MA. She currently currently works as a K-4 reading interventionist and school librarian. She also has a very playful cat named Penelope at home, and a horse named Ellie in her nearby barn.
Adrienne is a K-6 Special Education Teacher in Cambridge, MA. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and is dual licensed with Special Education, Students with Moderate Disabilities, PreK-8. She is currently pursuing a masters in English as a Second Language.