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Who We Are

Easter Seals Dixon Center is a clearinghouse for ideas, strategies and innovation that facilitate understanding, alignment, action and advocacy to more efficiently and effectively enlist and organize needed services, supports and opportunities. A myriad of interests, stakeholders and decision-makers identified for engagement include: employers, service providers, faith-based leaders, government officials, labor leaders, educators, philanthropists, foundation executives and members of the media.

Easter Seals Dixon Center Leadership

The Easter Seals Dixon Center team works closely with Easter Seals' staff and stakeholders at the national and local affiliate levels, creating synergies and a multiplying effect that dramatically enhances real access to services and advocacy, benefiting military service members and veterans, their families and the families of the fallen.

COL David Sutherland

David W. Sutherland
Chairman

Colonel David W. Sutherland is the co-founder and Chairman of the Center for Military and Veterans Community Services (Easter Seals Dixon Center) and actively contributes to numerous national veteran and military family committees and boards. Sutherland speaks in communities at universities, businesses and conferences around the country as a vocal advocate and leader for transformational change. He is a vocal advocate for our service members, military veterans, their families, and the families of our fallen.

Colonel Sutherland culminated his 29 years of service following Brigade Command, as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with principle focus on Warrior and Family Support. By visiting hundreds of communities and assisting thousands of organizations, he created a nationwide network of support utilizing grassroots solutions for veterans and their families.

Awards and decorations include, among others, the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman's Badge Second Award and Senior Parachutist Badge. He is also the 2008 Freedom Award recipient presented by the No Greater Sacrifice Foundation and the 2011 Meritorious Service Award recipient presented by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for his work on behalf of returning service members, veterans, military families and families of the fallen.

He holds a Bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in History and Economics and a Masters in Strategic Studies.

Team Sutherland’s roster includes Colonel Sutherland, his wife Bonnie and their two sons, Andrew and Patrick.

Kimberly Mitchell

Kimberly Mitchell
President

Kimberly Mitchell serves as the President of the Easter Seals Dixon Center. Her 17 years of service in the U.S. Navy included a commission as a Surface Warfare Officer, service aboard several surface Navy combatant warships, and multiple shore tours in Washington, D.C. Her last active duty assignment, which began in 2010, was Deputy Director for the Office of Warrior and Family Support in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Carly BrasseuxCarly Brasseux
President, Carly Brasseux Consulting

Carly Brasseux is President and Owner of Carly Brasseux Consulting. As a relationship and problem-solving enthusiast, she currently works with clients in marketing and sales strategies.

As the former Director of Community Relations at a Dallas-based nonprofit, Allies in Service, Carly raised awareness and promoted the needs of veterans. By proactively building and maintaining community relationships, solidifying brand position and identity, developing and executing the marketing and communication plans, she established an organization for one of Dallas’ most respected businessmen.

Before Allies in Service, Carly worked with the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee as the External Affairs Manager. As the first full-time staff member, she contributed in the areas of government relations, public safety, transportation, aviation, accommodations, stadia, practice sites, city décor, volunteers and overall office operations. 

John A. BreastJohn A. Breast,
President, Addison Strategic Consulting, LLC

Mr. John Breast is a retired Captain in the United States Navy and former Naval Flight Officer serving in carrier combat operations.  His professional career spans over 27 years of operational military experience to include three tours at the Pentagon, Joint Staff and the nonprofit sector.

Today, he works with organizations, nonprofit and corporate, to evaluate and implement alternative solutions that help them understand the value proposition and diversity that Veterans bring to the private sector.  Working within local communities to improve understanding of these key issues, we can assist in the community-based approach for our Veterans.

Latrese DixonLatrese Dixon
Blue and Gold Star Family Partner

Latrese Dixon is the mother of four children and a Gold Star wife. After marrying Staff Sergeant Donnie D. Dixon in 1994 she proudly lived the life of a military spouse. She understands the challenges, solutions, and joys of being a Blue Star family. Since Donnie's death (Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2007) she understands the challenges of a Gold Star wife and family. She always displays courage, resilience, pride, and a compassion that is enabling her children to achieve their life goals.

Latrese will receive her BSB/M in Business Management in June 2013. She assists Easter Seals Dixon Center with program and solution development, and research. A soft spoken women, Latrese provides insights and expertise on the practical needs of our military, and Gold Star families. Her expertise is the result of living the life of both joy and tragedy, but never giving up.

Daniel ForresterDaniel Patrick Forrester
Chief Strategist

Daniel Patrick Forrester is an author, strategist and navigator of organizational and cultural change impacting commercial, not for profit, and government entities. He has worked with the top leaders of organizations from every facet of American life and commerce. He supports the Executive Director and Deputy Director in animating the end vision for Easter Seals Dixon Center through business analysis, strategy development and planning. Forrester has worked with numerous nonprofit leaders and boards focused on Veterans. For example, he is a special advisor to the Chairman of the Board for No Greater Sacrifice. Forrester is the Founder of Thruue Inc, a consultancy that helps client's develop high performance cultures. He also holds a BA from The Catholic University of America and an MBA from the University of Rochester's William E. Simon Graduate School of Business.

Linda MayoLinda Mayo
Senior Vice President of Operations

Linda Mayo serves as Senior Vice President of Operations for Easter Seals Dixon Center and Easter Seals Military Veterans Initiative. Her role is to advance the Easter Seals Dixon Center and Easter Seals partnership in the delivery of and delivery to quality services in the areas of education, employment and access to healthcare. Linda is presently on assignment with Easter Seals Dixon Center from Easter Seals NJ where she is the Chief Operating Officer. Linda holds degrees in social work (BSW) and social work administration (MSW) from Rutgers University, and a MS in health policy and nonprofit management from New York University.

Ismael Ortiz, Jr.Ismael Ortiz, Jr.
President, Junior Ortiz, LLC

Mr. Junior Ortiz is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Marines and the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment. His professional career spans over 30 years of working in government, corporate and the nonprofit sector.

As the Principal advisor to the Secretary of Labor, Mr. Ortiz designed and implemented all policies and procedures for the coordination and oversight of all employment, training, and transition assistance programs for Veterans - with a particular focus on reaching hard to serve populations, including homeless, disabled, rural, and disadvantaged.

Today he works with organizations to evaluate and implement alternative solutions that help them understanding the value proposition and diversity that Veterans brings into the private sector.

Marie ManningMarie Manning
Marketing Communications and Content Development

Marie Manning assists Easter Seals Dixon Center with marketing communications and content development.

Marie is an award-winning marketing communications professional with 20 years’ experience developing and implementing regional and national programs for government, non-profit and private sector organizations. While at Ogilvy Public Relations and Porter Novelli, she gained extensive expertise with organizational branding, community/public outreach, social and multimedia communications, media relations, large-scale events and crisis communications. Marie is an accomplished writer, presenter and spokesperson.

In April 2010, Marie was selected to embed with U.S. Special Operations Command for a week as part of a civilian outreach program operated by the Department of Defense. In 2012, she was one of only two women to participate in the Marine Corps Executive Forum. From 20102011, Marie served as a civilian volunteer for the Command Sergeant Major of the NATO Training MissionAfghanistan.

Marie holds bachelor's degrees in English and Communications from Boston College and is a black belt in tae kwon do. Her husband, Sgt. Sean Rohe, spent three years in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army and currently serves in the Illinois National Guard.

Sara Heidenheimer Sara Heidenheimer
Administrative Coordinator

Sara Heidenheimer is the Administrative Coordinator for the Easter Seals Dixon Center team. She is originally from Texas where she received her Bachelors of Business Administration from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Sara brings with her an array of skills in the areas of business administration, marketing, special events, and social media. Her background includes work with the military and their families as the Newsletter Editor and Community Services Coordinator at Lincoln Military Housing in San Diego for five years. Prior to that Sara worked at the San Diego Armed Services YMCA as an Administrative Assistant and Program Coordinator. In these positions she helped facilitate volunteer activities, provided giveaways and crafts at homecomings, led tours of San Diego for those new to the area, and planned many events large and small to entertain and enrich the lives of those in the military community.

Sara has been married to her husband J.G., currently serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, for 12 years. They have two sons, Zachary and Ryan, and currently live in Maryland after relocating from Hawaii.