Welcome to: Access Independence


Access Independence


Charlie Conway

Executive Director

Mr. Conway has spent the vast majority of is life working in the non-profit sector. His deep concerns for others and innovative approaches have lead to great success in his career. As the Managing Director of Fairfield County SAFE KIDS, an organization working to prevent childhood injuries,  he was instrumental in taking the organization that started off with a $10,000 grant into a nationally recognized leaded in childhood safety issues. He was able to get five competitive hospital in the region to work cooperatively, create two local programs that became nation models and cultivate a volunteer pool of over 200 individuals that were able to implement programing that was responsible for saving countless lives and injuries.

After leaving SAFE KIDS Mr. Conway took over as the Executive Director of Abilities Without Boundaries which is an organization that helps adults with Developmental Disabilities. This is done through providing meaningful work opportunities, as well as social interactions and activities of daily living. During his three years as the Executive Director he was able to develop a strong atmosphere of teamwork that completely reenergized and reshaped the impressions of the organization. Mr. Conway is a strong believer in the team approach. The leader often gets the credit or the blame, but it is the team working together that makes the difference. Through a systematic approach many initiatives were undertaken and successfully completed during his tenure. These include but are not limited to:

  • A rebranding campaign that revitalized the company image.
  • New and innovative job opportunities were created for those we served such as a hot dog cart, dog biscuit program, and fire wood program.
  • Company revenue increased from 1 million annually to 2 million.
  • Staff increased from 25 to nearly 50.
  • Increased the organizations signature event by 600% and developed new avenues for development and recognition.
  • Successfully developed and implemented the organizations first strategic plan.
  • Development of the organizations first annual report.
  • Built a reputation of quality care and were know for being able to handle difficult cases.
  • Worked to change the perception the general community had toward individuals with Developmental Disabilities.

Mr. Conway stated “My greatest achievements and joys stemmed from having the opportunity each and every day to make a difference in someone’s life. Adults with Developmental Disabilities have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. They are capable of so much more then society often gives them credit for.”

Since excepting the position of Executive Director at Access Independence Mr. Conway has taken the agency through a successful rebranding campaign, implemented cost save procedures, changed the organizational structure for greater efficiency. Currently he is implementing a 3D printing program to help generate revenue for the organization as well as provide jobs to the disabled community and help to create new and innovative 3D printed items to assist those with disabilities.

Joe Eckert

Operations Director
Money Follows the Person Supervisor

As Operations Director and MFP Supervisor at Access Independence, Joe is responsible for overseeing general operations including staff supervision, program development, grant writing, maintenance and Information & Technology Services.  In addition to his work in the Operations Director capacity, he is also responsible for Access 3D Printing & Scanning Services.  Joe is a State Certified Aging & Disability Specialist and has an Associates Degree in Human Services from Housatonic Community College.

Yohanna Williams

Money Follows the Person Housing Cooridinator

Yohanna Williams has been working in human services sector for over 20 years in several different capacities. Initially working with preschool children on inclusion and tolerance of disability and differences. She has experience in the  mental health community where she worked with adults on personal and vocational goals. Most recently working with the geriatric/institutionalized community and assisting people who wish to leave skilled nursing facility by finding appropriate accessible housing under the Money Follows the Person program. She holds a M.A. in Organizational Psychology and Development.

Julie Ferrucci

Money Follows the Person Transition Coordinator

Julie Ferrucci is a Transition Coordinator for the Program Money Follows the Person . Helping Elderly or disabled people transition from skilled nursing facilities to live independently in the community. She attended Assumption College and graduated with her Bachelors of Human Services. She is innovative, trusted and possesses the determination necessary to get the job done. Previously, Julie was a Case Manager at Abilities Without Boundaries. This program sought to help individuals with disabilities to seek employment and improve their quality of life. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how non-profits seek to improve the quality of life for others.

Shayla Del Giudice

Independent Living Advocate

Shayla in an Independent Living Advocate who teaches a wide range of skills needed to live independently and manage life with a disability. She works with individuals to increase their skills which can help them gain more control of their lives. She also educates individuals on better approaches with health insurance (e.g. Medicare A & B, Medicare Savings Program). Shayla coordinates two loan closets for Durable Medical Equipment.

Chris O’Brien

Independent Living Advocate

Chris O’Brien is one of the Independent Living Advocates at Access Independence, working to empower and educate individuals with disabilities. Before working for Access Independence, he spent 2 years in Georgia proving Peer Support to individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury. Chris was injured at the age of 18 in a diving accident, which has left him as a quadriplegic. In his free time, Chris performs motivational speeches promoting the importance of determination and hard work. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree from the Harvard University Extension School with a concentration in Government.

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