Bryan O’Malley, Executive Director

Bryan has been the Executive Director of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS) since March of 2011. As Executive Director, he has been successful in not only protecting, but leading efforts to strengthen Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) by protecting the rights of those who use the program, ensuring the ongoing fiscal strength of fiscal intermediaries, and working alongside the Department of Health and managed care organizations to further expand CDPA in New York State. Bryan is strongly committed to the basic civil rights that are at the core of the disability rights movement and the Olmstead decision.

Immediately before coming to CDPAANYS, Bryan was Deputy Director for Health and Human Services for the New York State Senate. Prior to working in the Senate, Bryan worked for Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. He also spent time with the Mental Health Association of New York State, where he was the organizational campaign manager on Timothy’s Law. 

Bryan received his Master’s in Social Work from SUNY Albany and his undergraduate from Providence College. When he actually gets free time, he spends as much of it as possible playing with his two children, wife and dog.

Laura Cardwell, Director of Operations & Events

Laura oversees CDPAANYS’ financial, personnel and administrative functions, as well as the Association’s Peer Mentoring program. She was brought on to CDPAANYS in early 2012 as the first permanent staff member of the Association.

Laura is responsible for membership recruitment & retention, coordinating Board, staff & committee activities, and organizational record maintenance & bookkeeping. In addition, she also oversees the planning & execution of CDPAANYS’ Annual Conferences, intensive training sessions, and other educational events.

A native of the Capital Region, Laura loves good food, music, and the great outdoors. In her free time, she and her family enjoy hiking, camping and fishing. 

Julia Battista, Policy Associate

Julia joined CDPAANYS in 2018 as the organization’s first Policy Associate. She is responsible for government relations analysis and engagement, acting as a liaison with the state legislature, state agencies, and grassroots partners, identifying and developing annual priorities and agendas, and composing written communications for multiple audiences.

Julia brought to CDPAANYS extensive experience in public policy and communications, having previously worked for both houses of the New York State Legislature, as well as for the City of Chicago. She spends her free time traveling, kayaking, skiing, and playing the cello.


Jose Hernandez, NYC Community Organizer

José Hernandez is a C-5 quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury sustained when he was 15 years old. After his injury, he developed a passion for mentoring others with similar disabilities, including individuals in nursing homes and in rehabilitation centers. In 2011, Jose had the opportunity to go to Washington DC as part of United Spinal’s Roll on Capitol Hill annual event. This trip ignited an interest in advocacy, and he has been back to DC frequently as well as advocating on state and city issues.

In 2019, Jose was appointed by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to be a Commissioner of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission to ensure that the city includes individuals with disabilities in all aspects of civic engagement.

Sandra Lamb, Peer Mentor

Athena Savides, Peer Mentor

Joanne Taveras, Peer Mentor