Learn more about our staff and the work we do
Jennifer Martinez, Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of Texas, Jennifer Martinez is committed to promoting the vision of The Arc of Texas through the creation of innovative policy recommendations and building on the strong partnerships that exist with self-advocates, as well as state and federal agencies.
With more than 20 years experience in the nonprofit sector, Jennifer brings a rich and vibrant vision to the organization. She began her career with The Arc of Texas more than a decade ago as Program Coordinator for the Texas Microboards Program; served as a board member for the organization beginning in 2017; and began her role as CEO in 2019.
Jennifer is inspired by the work The Arc of Texas does to promote the civil rights of everyone in our community, and the role we play as an advocate with and for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Prior to joining The Arc of Texas as CEO, Jennifer worked in a variety of roles, serving most recently as the Director of Operations and System Management in the Office of Mental Health Coordination. She earned a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Ethics from St. Edward’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Texas A&M University.
A true Texan, Jennifer enjoys exploring the beauty that the Texas Hill Country has to offer: hiking, camping, swimming, and kayaking every chance she gets. As a fervent college football fan, she doesn’t miss an opportunity to cheer on her Aggies.
Contact Jennifer if you are interested in partnering with The Arc of Texas to meet our mission of promoting, protecting, and advocating for the human rights and self-determination of Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or if you are interested in serving as a committee or board member.
Ashley Ford, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
As Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, Ashley Ford engages people with disabilities, advocates, and decision-makers about disability policy issues. Prior to joining The Arc of Texas, she was public policy and communications specialist at the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD). She earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Texas State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in technical communication from Texas State. Prior to joining TCDD in 2015, she served as a legislative intern for Texas State Representative John Zerwas. Her hometown is Paris, Texas.
Contact Ashley to to become an advocate for systems change in Texas.
Alex Cogan, LMSW, Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy
As Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy, Alex Cogan supports statewide criminal justice and mental health reform through advocacy, research, and education.
Alex joined The Arc of Texas in 2019, bringing with her a variety of experience in nonprofit communications, criminal justice reform, and education. She is passionate about using her skills to contribute to a team of advocates who fight to ensure all Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) can create a life of their own choosing and with access to supports, services, civil rights, and justice.
Alex received her Bachelor of Arts in Science in sociology and Bachelor of Journalism in advertising from the University of Georgia in Athens and her Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the team at The Arc of Texas, Alex worked in nonprofit communications in Boston, taught English abroad in Colombia, supported girls’ empowerment in Austin, and worked in local criminal reform advocacy in Austin.
When she is not in the office, Alex enjoys being outside, whether hiking around Austin, bike rides to coffee shops, or long walks to the park with her pup. When the weather gets in the way, you can find her reading, working on craft projects, and baking&mdashshe loves a good chocolate chip cookie.
Contact Alex with questions, concerns, or ideas about how to support the holistic well-being for individuals involved in the criminal legal system or engaging with mental health services.
Wendy Ward, Leadership & Advocacy Coordinator
As Leadership & Advocacy Coordinator, Wendy Ward directs The Arc of Texas Partners in Disability Leadership program and supports grassroots advocacy efforts.
Wendy has a background in advocacy and public policy and joined The Arc of Texas in 2021. Prior to joining the team, Wendy worked at American Red Cross National Headquarters where she advocated for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Measles & Rubella Initiative, and the protection of international disaster assistance, and previously at the Central Texas Food Bank and Generations United, where she supported various public policy initiatives.
Wendy is originally from Atlanta, GA, and attended the University of Georgia, where she majored in English and studied French.
Wendy is inspired by the work of The Arc of Texas to promote the self-determination of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and is excited to work for an organization that actively cultivates leaders throughout Texas to be stewards of the disability rights movement.
Wendy loves spending time with her family, hanging out with her dog Gizmo, cooking, and doing yoga.
Contact Wendy to learn more about how you can get involved with The Arc of Texas Partners in Disability Leadership program.
Summer Mandell, Director of Communications & Marketing
As Director of Communications & Marketing, Summer Mandell spreads the word about the important work The Arc of Texas does, as well as provides Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), their families, and their supports with trustworthy, timely information on the issues that affect them most.
With more than a decade of experience in print communications and at trade associations, Summer joined The Arc of Texas in 2020. Prior to her role at The Arc of Texas, she was managing editor for Texas REALTOR® magazine, printed 10 times a year with a 120,000+ circulation. Before moving to Austin, she was the associate editor for Associations Now, the business magazine for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Washington, DC.
Summer graduated from the University of Georgia’s College of Journalism with an ABJ, Magazines, and a minor in sociology. When she is not sharing the program successes of The Arc of Texas, Summer enjoys traveling, hiking, UGA football, and a good cup of coffee.
Contact Summer if you’re a journalist interested in reporting on or connecting with Texans with IDD.
Luci Bates, Membership & Communications Manager
As Communications & Membership Manager, Luci Bates is committed to cultivating and strengthening relationships with current and prospective members and coordinating communications initiatives.
Luci attended The University of Texas at Austin, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies with a concentration in International Security and European Studies. Luci fell in love with Austin while attending university and made it her permanent home after graduating.
Luci was introduced to the nonprofit and advocacy world through various internships and part-time employment, and as an undergraduate, Luci recognized her passion for building community and client relationships through storytelling. Prior to joining The Arc of Texas, she was able to apply this passion with employment for an Austin-based nonprofit as their communications coordinator where she worked to enhance their ideas and expand their impact through internal and external communication strategy and operational support.
As a sister of an individual with IDD, Luci is passionate about creating and supporting spaces that promote inclusion and is excited about applying this passion and her gifts as a communicator to the mission of The Arc of Texas.
When Luci is not supporting the vision of The Arc of Texas, she enjoys live music, Longhorn football, cooking all the Molly Baz recipes, and collecting stamps in her passport.
Contact Luci if you want to learn more about becoming an ally of The Arc of Texas.
Kathy Pham, Director of Finance & Operations
As the Director of Finance & Operations, Kathy Pham contributes to the vision and mission of The Arc of Texas by providing financial stewardship and oversight of business operations.
Kathy brought her skills in accounting and management to The Arc of Texas as a part-time accountant in 2015 and has been a part of the team in a full-time capacity since 2016. Kathy’s time at The Arc of Texas has been a rich learning experience, and she is passionate about the work she does to support the initiatives and priorities of this organization.
Prior to her work at The Arc of Texas, Kathy served in a variety of accounting and management positions for other Austin-based organizations, including business manager of an open-enrollment public charter school in East Austin; an accountant for the Texas Health & Human Services Commission; and Operations Manager for Austin Partners in Education. Kathy received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from St. Edward’s University.
When Kathy is not supporting The Arc of Texas, she loves spending time with her growing family of two fur babies and two furless babies.
Contact Kathy to learn more about how you can become an ally of The Arc of Texas.
Evelyn Aguilar, Manager of Operations
As Manager of Operations, Evelyn Aguilar ensures that the operations of the organization are maintained so that the team is able to function at its most efficient. Evelyn brings more than a decade of experience in administration and operations, supporting various organizations in positions such as legal assistant and project manager.
Evelyn began working for The Arc of Texas in 2016 as an executive assistant. Evelyn is excited by the mission of this organization and the part she plays in advocating for the civil rights of all Texans.
When she is not keeping the gears of the organization running smoothly, Evelyn enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, discovering new restaurants, and driving in the rain.
Contact Evelyn if you have a question regarding board membership, need assistance with anything operational, or have questions regarding TARC Group Home.
Kyle Michaels, Finance Coordinator
As Finance Coordinator, Kyle Michaels provides administrative support to the Director of Finance & Operation on entry-level accounting functions and works to ensure that operations run efficiently.
Kyle has a background in management and operations and joined The Arc of Texas in 2019. She loves working for an organization whose mission she is passionate about and witnessing the advocacy work that The Arc of Texas provides and supports.
Prior to joining our team, Kyle worked in a variety of roles that refined her operations and administrative skills, including office manager of an office supply company and tour manager and promotions coordinator for several bands and indie labels. Kyle studied psychology at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Kyle enjoys all the opportunities living in Austin provides, including live music and comedy. When she is not in the office, you will likely find her attending a live show or baking something delicious.
Contact Kyle with questions regarding accounts payable/receivable or purchasing.
Torie Wiley, Administrative Assistant
Haley Greer, JD, Master Pooled Trust Director
As the Director of The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust, a supplemental needs trust that provides people with disabilities an ongoing source of money for supplemental wants and needs, Haley Greer is responsible for assisting families in establishing Trust accounts; keeping up with current Medicaid regulations; approving Trust disbursements; communicating with attorneys and judges; and educating interested groups about the benefits of the trust.
Empowering individuals to speak up and advocate for themselves drives her work, and she is passionate about the part she plays to improve the quality of life for individuals in the trust.
Prior to joining The Arc of Texas in 2011, Haley worked for many years in the Texas House of Representatives and focused primarily on legislation related to workforce development, health and human services, and school finance. Haley spent her formative years working in campaign politics and still enjoys watching … from afar.
Haley received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004, and her law degree from Saint Louis University in 2010. She was admitted to the Texas Bar in November 2010.
Haley loves a Texas road trip, especially one that leads to a scenic vista or a delicious meal.
Contact Haley for information on presenting about special needs trusts and future planning.
Yamina Gomez, Master Pooled Trust Administrator
As Master Pooled Trust Administrator, Yamina Gomez oversees the coordination of the Master Pooled Trust program for prompt and effective disbursement of funds to benefit Trust beneficiaries. With more than a decade experience in the nonprofit sector, Yamina joined The Arc of Texas in 2015. Yamina is continuously inspired by the organization’s ability to make a difference in the lives of individuals who need it.
Yamina received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal Poly Pomona, but now enjoys calling Texas home.
When out of the office, Yamina enjoys taking naps and hanging out with her pack of dogs.
Contact Yamina to learn more about The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust.
Ashley Melero, Master Pooled Trust Benefits Resource Specialist
As Benefits and Resource Specialist, Ashley Melero supports the Master Pooled Trust by providing case management and monthly presentations on Future Planning 101.
Ashley joined The Arc of Texas in 2018 and enjoys the opportunity working for this organization provides to help people with disabilities realize their full potential and ensure quality of life.
Prior to joining The Arc of Texas team, Ashley worked at Communication Services for the Deaf, translating phone calls for people who are deaf. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Texas Tech University and after graduating made Austin her home.
In her free time Ashley enjoys being outside. Some of her favorite pastimes include playing beep baseball, attending sporting events, playing with her dogs, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Contact Ashley if you are a care manager for a MPT beneficiary.
Colette Flormann, Enrollment Specialist
As Master Pooled Trust Enrollment Specialist, Colette Flormann provides operational support to the Master Pooled Trust program and educates individuals with disabilities, families, attorneys and judges on the program and the enrollment process.
Colette joined The Arc of Texas in 2013. With a personal background of having friends and family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Colette has a heart for the organization’s mission and is excited about the ways she is able to make quality of life better for those she serves.
Colette attended Eastern Washington University, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting. Colette brings to The Arc of Texas professional experience in funding and advocacy, with prior work experience at the Texas Center of the Judiciary and support for the Children’s Justice Act Grant, a grant designed to improve the investigation, prosecution and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect.
Colette loves a good adventure. When she is not in the office you can find her seeking thrills at an amusement park, rollerblading, or exploring Austin’s hiking trails with her two children.
Contact Colette for information on the Master Pooled Trust enrollment process.
Jessica Wright, Master Pooled Trust Coordinator
As Master Pooled Trust Coordinator, Jessica Wright supports clients and administers disbursements from the Master Pooled Trust. Joining The Arc of Texas team in 2018, Jessica brought with her five years’ experience in finance and management and an abundance of vision and thoughtfulness to equip her for this position.
Jessica is inspired by the ways The Arc of Texas is able to fill the gap for individuals who would otherwise have a hard time receiving help, and the role she plays in partnering with and advocating for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities excites her about the work she is doing.
Prior to accepting this position at The Arc of Texas, Jessica served as a branch manager for a financial services organization. Jessica received her degree in Business Management from Southern New Hampshire University.
Ahead of the Marie Kondo craze, Jessica enjoys organizing and reading in her spare time.
Contact Jessica regarding active accounts for Trust beneficiaries with last names starting with M-Z.