Governor Abbott Appoints Eight To Rehabilitation Council Of Texas
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Patrick Sturdivant to the Rehabilitation Council of Texas for a term set to expire on October 29, 2024. Additionally, the Governor reappointed Jennifer Clouse and Gennadiy Goldenshteyn for terms set to expire on October 29, 2025, and reappointed Emily Robinson and appointed Jordan Smelley, Kiffany Jefferson, Michelle Harper, and Norine Gill for terms set to expire on October 29, 2026. The Council works with the Texas Workforce Commission to advocate for people with disabilities in the vocational rehabilitation process.
Patrick Sturdivant of San Antonio is vice president and principal strategy consultant with Deque Systems, where he promotes digital inclusion for people of all abilities by guiding global organizations to develop or maintain digital accessibility programs that foster a culture of equality. He is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, where he is a certified professional in Accessibility Core Competency, a former board member of the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, and former president of his homeowner’s association. Sturdivant received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from St. Mary’s University.
Jennifer Clouse of Temple is a manager for McLane Company, LLC. She is a board member for Disability:IN Central Texas. Additionally, she was recognized as a Disability Employment Champion of Change in 2014. Clouse received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Midwestern State University and a Master of Science in Leadership and Management from Western Governors University.
Gennadiy Goldenshteyn of Dallas is managing partner of First Principles, LLC, a boutique management consulting firm, and founder and managing partner of Dinemic Ventures LLC, a product development accelerator for technology-driven innovation in the foodservice and hospitality industries. He previously held leadership positions at Welbilt, Yum! Brands, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, and Ford, and has served numerous companies with McKinsey & Company. He is chairman of the Rehabilitation Council of Texas, sits on the board of directors of Deaf Action Center and ProductCamp Dallas, and is active in the Dallas-Fort Worth technology and start up ecosystem. Gennadiy received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Emily Robinson of Pflugerville is an educational program specialist at the Texas Education Agency. She is a member of the Texas Association of the Deaf. Robinson received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Sciences and Disorders and a Master of Science in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Texas Woman’s University.
Jordan Smelley of Burleson is a former mental health peer specialist with co-occurring intellectual and developmental differences with the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction. He is a member of the National Association of Peer Supporters, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Phi Theta Kappa International College Honor Society. Additionally, Smelley is a volleyball referee with the Special Olympics of Texas and a graduate of Burleson High School.
Kiffany Jefferson of Rowlett is a transition specialist with Mesquite ISD. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Sharing Life, Creative Kids Learning Center, and the Thompson Rehabilitation Center. Additionally, she is a board member and president of an Abundance of Love Enterprises, LLC. Jefferson received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Special Education from Southern University and A&M College and a Master of Arts in Special Education from The University of Texas Permian Basin.
Michelle Harper of San Marcos is the president and CEO of United Way of Hays & Caldwell Counties. She serves as vice chair of the San Marcos Academy Bear Network, board secretary for the Master’s School of San Marcos Foundation, board member for the First United Methodist Church of San Marcos Foundation, and a volunteer assistant tennis and basketball coach for San Marcos Academy. Harper received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Public Relations from Southwest Texas State University, as well as a teacher certificate from Texas State University.
Norine Gill of Taylor Lake Village is the founder and executive director of Imagine Enterprises, which guides individuals with disabilities in benefits planning, employment services, and consumer directed services. She is a member of the Association of Business and Professional Women and the Association of People Supporting Employment First. Gill received a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin.