Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Staff and Board of Directors

Bryan's photo

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's Photo

Laura Cardwell

Director of Operations & Events

Laura oversees CDPAANYS’ financial, personnel and administrative functions. She was brought on to CDPAANYS in early 2012 as the first permanent non-executive director 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, CDANY’s Annual Gala, regional provider and community organizing sessions, and other events throughout the state. 

A native of the Capital Region residing in Troy, NY, Laura is an outdoor enthusiast and music nut. In her free time, she can usually be found on a mountain somewhere with her husband and her dog.

Julia's photo

Julia Battista

Government Relations Manager

Julia joined CDPAANYS in 2018 as the organization’s first Policy Associate, now Government Relations Manager. 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's Photo

José Hernandez

New York City 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, José 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, José 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.

Gregg's Photo

Dr. Gregg Beratan

Program Manager

Gregg Beratan is CDPAANYS’ Program Manager. Gregg has previously served on CDPAANYS’ board, while filling numerous roles at the Center for Disability Rights. In these roles he was deeply involved in the #SaveCDPA campaign and the fight for #FairPay4HomeCare. He is a nationally recognized Disabled Activist and one of the co-founders and organizers of #CripTheVote.

Gregg has worked in support of the Disability Community while living in India, Poland, the UK and the United States. He received his PhD and Masters degrees from University College London, and his Bachelor’s degree from Bard College. He lives in West Henrietta with his wife and four children.

Sandra Lamb

Peer Mentor

My name is Sandra Lamb. I am a CDPA Peer Mentor with the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS). I have been successfully using the CDPA program myself for over 30 years. My years of experience and knowledge have led me to become a seasoned peer mentor. I get tremendous satisfaction from aiding callers in problem solving and successfully directing their own care.

I attended the State University at Albany and have a degree in Communications and a minor in Business. I was an active member of the disabled students organization. Under my leadership, a higher degree of architectural accessibility was achieved on campus. After I finished my four year degree, I continued on an advisory basis. During my final year at the University, I worked directly with the University Administration to continue the push to ensure greater accessibility would continue long after I graduated.

Since college, I have volunteered at several organizations supporting causes that I feel strongly about. I am dedicated and committed to lobbying state and county representatives to ensure that they’re aware of the vital role that CDPA and other necessary programs play to the disabled and elderly communities, and the need for lawmakers to strengthen them.

Athena's Photo

Athena Savides

Peer Mentor

My name is Athena Savides. I am a CDPA Peer Mentor with the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS) from Brooklyn, New York. From December 2014 to March 2016, I worked as a Peer Mentor as part of CDPAANYS’ Balancing Incentives Program project, Using Peer Mentoring to Increase the Availability and Effectiveness of CDPA.

When I am not working, I enjoy studying French and singing. I graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in French in 2014. I joined the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program in 2012, and have been managing and directing my own personal assistants since then. 

Becoming a Peer Mentor was a natural extension of my experience teaching French. I have taught in a variety of settings: a public library, public schools, and informal meetup settings. Working with these varied groups of people, I have been able to build upon my skills in guidance and collaboration.

As Peer Mentors, we guide people through their learning experiences every day. I strive to help the consumers and families who reach out to the CDPA Peer Mentoring Program work to find their own solutions. I feel that by helping others, I am more fulfilled, knowing that I can use my own experience as a Consumer to empathetically help to navigate Consumer Direction.  

Board of Directors


  • Kendra Scalia
    Consumer Board Member
  • Maria Dibble
    Southern Tier Independence Center
    Vice President
  • Carlos Martinez

    BRIDGES of Rockland County

  • Julian Hagmann
    Caring Professionals

Board Members

  • Tammy Papperman
    Center for Disability Rights
  • Angela Gioia

    Companion Care of Rochester

  • Anthony Caputo
    Concepts of Independence, Inc.
  • Jessica De La Rosa
    Consumer Board Member
  • Christopher Graber
    Consumer Directed Choices
  • Angela Harmer
    Consumer Board Member
  • Marcus Johnson
    Consumer Board Member
  • Alexander Litman
    Ideal Home Health
  • Robert Offe
    Consumer Board Member
  • Shannon Zawiski
    Independent Living, Inc.
  • Vincent Reiter
    Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, Inc.
  • Therese Brzezinski

    Long Island Center for Independent Living

  • Jennifer Watson

    Southern Tier Independence Center

  • Stephen Engel
    Sterling Staffing, Inc.
  • Eveline Derosia
    Venture Forthe, Inc.