We welcome Yvonne Fleener as the new President & CEO at Disability Network Southwest Michigan. Yvonne has over thirty years of experience in human services and has been an active and dedicated advocate on behalf of people with disabilities in a variety of roles. Prior to joining Disability Network Southwest Michigan, Yvonne served as the Executive Director of LAP Respite Center in Lansing. Her experiences have also included Director of Development and Communications at University Rehabilitation Alliance, and the Michigan Assistant Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Office of Services to the Aging, and Director of Advocacy Services at Disability Rights Michigan (formerly Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services).
Yvonne has been instrumental in ensuring critical changes in Medicaid health care in Michigan through her health policy advocacy and coalition building; advocacy to ensure voting education, rights and accessibility for people with disabilities; and spent years working in state institutions supporting people with disabilities as they return to community-based living. She also worked with law enforcement to create a forensic interviewing protocol to improve the interviewing process of people with disabilities who have been victims of crimes.
Yvonne has been appointed to serve on several councils by various Governors, including the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, the Michigan Adult Foster Care Advisory Council, the Michigan Council of Rehabilitation Services, and, most recently, she served as Chairperson of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council. Yvonne is a board member of the Michigan Disability Action Committee which works to educate employers on successfully employing people with disabilities and serves on the IMPART Alliance Leadership Council working to develop a competent and fairly paid direct care workforce.
Yvonne has personal and family experiences with disabilities which has been a driving force in her advocacy efforts. She received two bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s in Public Administration, all from Michigan State University.