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Who We Are

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Executive Officers

  • Claudia Richarte - Board President
    Claudia Richarte - Board President

    Claudia S. Richarte is a Senior Academic Advisor at the Matador Advising Hub. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development and Psychology in 2000 and a Chicana/o Studies degree in 2009. Claudia further pursued her passion for learning by successfully obtaining her Master of Arts in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Higher Education in 2014 from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).
    Claudia has always felt a passion for service in the Down Syndrome community, having a nephew and three cousins with Down Syndrome. The focus of her work within this community emphasizes independent living, self-help skills, and personal empowerment. Claudia is dedicated to advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves and helping them to find their voice. Through her work, Claudia strives to educate others, break stereotypes, and eliminate negative stigmas associated with Down Syndrome. She is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness of the Down Syndrome community as a member of the DSALA Board.

  • Yesenia Holwager - Vice President
    Yesenia Holwager - Vice President

    Yesenia is a native of Los Angeles County and is a retired Deputy Sheriff. Her years in public service include 16 years as a civilian employee for the Santa Monica Police Department and 15 years as a Deputy Sheriff for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She took pride in serving her community for 31+ years and enjoys her involvement with DSALA. She loves being an advocate for her big brother with Down Syndrome, Buddy. They spend a lot of time together creating Down Syndrome awareness by sharing his smile and laughter on social media. She’s honored to be selected as Vice President for DSALA and looks forward to advocating with DSALA and making a difference in the Down Syndrome community.

  • Wayne Geffen - Chief Financial Officer
    Wayne Geffen - Chief Financial Officer

    Wayne Geffen began his career in accounting for corporate entities as an Accounting Manager and Senior Accountant. In 1984 he became Vice President and Controller for a multi-unit retailer. Wayne has held Vice President and Controller positions since 1984. In 2010 Wayne started his Consulting Firm, assisting existing and start-up businesses by providing strategic financial and operation guidance. In 2012, Wayne was hired as Vice President of Finance for a large international grocery company chain with several high-volume stores in Los Angeles.

  • Erin Moran- Board Secretary
    Erin Moran- Board Secretary

    Erin Moran is a dedicated educator who serves as the Director of Educational Partnerships at RethinkEd. Collaborating with LAUSD schools, Erin works to enhance joy and wellness for students, staff, and families. With a Bachelor's degree in Human and Family Development and a Master's in Special Education, Erin brings experience, caring, and understanding to the work we do at DSALA.
    As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Erin has had the privilege of supporting families and learners in developing essential life skills with care and compassion. Beyond her professional endeavors, Erin is passionate about community service and recently served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, working closely with children in foster care. Erin is deeply honored to be a part of the DSALA Board and is eager to contribute to their mission of raising awareness and providing meaningful support to the Down Syndrome community. She looks forward to building connections, fostering understanding, and making a positive impact through her position.

Board Members

  • Tom Cohenno
    Tom Cohenno

    Tom Cohenno is the Principal of Applied Learning Science, a management consulting firm that leverages organizational and industrial psychology to help clients build the teams and processes necessary to achieve their goals. Clients include the TRC Corporation, S&C Corporation, Think Together, the California Federation of Teachers, the Chancellors office of the CA Community College System, Futuro Health, among others.
    Prior to starting Applied, Tom was the Director of Learning, Leadership and Org Development for Southern California Edison. He has an EdD from Pepperdine University, an EMBA from Claremont Graduate University and a MA in Human Resources from Chapman University.
    Tom is also the father of Joshua, who has Down Syndrome and is 37 years old. Based on this experience, Tom would like to help others who are walking the same path. He is particularly interested in helping to reduce the risk of dementia for the Down’s population by focusing on lifestyle modifications for those with Down’s, as well as for their parents and caregivers.

  • Ranjani Reyes
    Ranjani Reyes

    Raised in Agoura Hills, Ranjani Reyes is a graduate of Agoura High School class of 2014 and Miller Transition Center. Upon graduating, she worked in retail for the Macy’s Department Store before deciding to pursue a career in acting with The Performing Arts Studio West, Born to Act Players, and the Triple Threat Program at The Miracle Project. Ranjani loves performing comedy, dance, writing, and singing. She has appeared in #NotSpecialNeedsPSA, The Politician, Atypical, Speechless, Jubilee, and the 48 hr film festival ‘Get Over Her Day.’ In her free time, Ranjani loves to volunteer and help other up-and-coming actors.

  • Jordan Nichole Wall
    Jordan Nichole Wall

    Jordan is a student at LA Harbor College and a working actress. She has been on shows like The Politician and Stumptown and in commercials for Comcast, Google TV, Instagram, FabFitFun, and Goodr. She is a Special Olympics athlete and has been a Special Olympics Global Messenger since 2016. She competes in swimming, bowling, tennis, and cheerleading and aspires to be on American Ninja Warrior. Jordan’s hobbies include singing, dancing (ballet, hula, hip hop, and tap), horseback riding, boogie boarding, painting, and playing the piano, guitar, ukulele, and tambourine. Jordan wants to help people with Down syndrome of all ages to chase their dreams.

  • Fanfan Wang
    Fanfan Wang

    Fanfan Wang is a film director, producer, and life coach. She earned her master's degree in filmmaking and was selected as a visiting scholar at USC. Fanfan has 16 years of international film co-production experience. She has four years of life coaching experience. Her feature film, Beijing Carmen, won numerous international awards. She was involved in the Award-nominated film Mongol and Mao's Last Dancer. Also, her documentary film, Taste Of Body, won multiple international awards.
    Fanfan's multifaceted career includes being a consultant for HBO and various Foreign Embassies in China. She is on the committee of the China Children's Film Association and a member of the China Film Producers Association. Her son, who has Down Syndrome, empowered her to become a life coach and an advocate and created You Are Awesome, Inc. Fanfan looks forward to bringing creative energy with DSALA into the DS community and furthering the awareness of Down syndrome to the public.

Past Presidents

Mike Federico
Jimi Vaughn
Colleen Bellitti 
Gina Vivona 
Lynne Shulim
Tom Von Der Ahe, Jr. 
Michael Muchin
Darryl Mikuni
Stephanny Freeman, Ph.D.
Theodore Feit, M.D. 
Sandra Finch
Joseph Hart
Susan Rackerby 
Kathryn Heukrodt
Michelle Shaw 
Nancy Hall
Marlyse de Laat
Deborah Bogen
Sandra Thlick