The board is made up of ordinary citizens, who volunteer their time and expertise to support the work of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb.
Bo Gaiason, President
Classical guitarist Bo Gaiason is an Atlanta native. Bo currently works on the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. “Serving on the Board of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb is a way to embody the ideal that a community that neglects even one of its members is no community at all.”
Paula Rafferty, Vice President
Paula is a civil trial lawyer who began representing people with developmental disabilities and actively participating in the disability movement in 1990. She served on the Board of Citizen Advocacy some years ago and is pleased to return to the Board this year to support its work and mission.
Woodrow (Woody) A. Hall, Treasurer
Woody has been involved with Citizen Advocacy for more than 25 years. Having formerly served as Board Chair, Woody is now contributing his skills and expertise as Chair of the Fundraising and Finance Committees.
Les Klemperer, Secretary
Les is a former VP and Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Delta Air Lines. He currently teaches contract law at Emory University.
Donald is an Atlanta native who works for the Atlanta City Council. He sees “servant-hood” as his highest calling. “I enjoy being a servant to the Public. My role as a Citizen Advocacy board member allows me to echo the voice of those often not heard.” When he is not serving the Public, Donald can be found admiring Japanese Cherry Blossom trees. He is even growing his own.
Russell is a local business owner and has been in a citizen advocacy relationship with Bill Jackson since 2012. “Citizen Advocacy is practical and direct. Citizen Advocacy builds community by connecting people at the most basic and fundamental level, one on one. That’s what makes it work, face to face, one on one.”
“Dr. King said, ‘It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all.’ I believe that this statement , this sentiment is at the heart of my understanding and conviction for building community with Citizen Advocacy. It really speaks to the golden rules that I was taught as a child that have become the overarching creeds that I live by today; Do unto others and love one another. Life is too much for any of us to do without others walking with and beside us in friendship and love and fighting the good fight…for ourselves and for each other.”
Ryan is the cofounder of Traktion a local digital marketing firm, and lives in Decatur with his wife and two young boys. Citizen Advocacy “is an opportunity to help shine light onto circumstances too often left in the darkness. It’s positive change, one person at a time, for both the one who is being advocated for, as well the advocate. There’s something special about working to help expand this type of action in our community.”
“Through my personal experience and my professional experience, I’ve learned the value of having a support network During my time at the GAO, I learned about Citizen’s Advocacy and learned that there are many individuals living with disabilities that are not as fortunate as I have been. With that being shared, I’m excited to have an opportunity to be a part of an organization that connects people with people so that everyone can achieve their full potential; so that they too can thrive in their community.”
Nicole is an organizer and communications strategist working with Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. She has spent her career focused on organizing communities and voters to to advocate for a wide range of social justices issues. “I believe human connection is at the center of create power, vibrant, and equitable communities. Citizen Advocacy is a leader in how we center compassion, dignity in the creation of just communities where our neighbors and friends labeled with a disability can thrive.”
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I have been a Georgia resident for 32 years. I recently retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 30 years of service. Now that I’ve retired, I am looking to support and volunteer with an organization that helps navigate people through vulnerabilities they have occurred in life due to a disability. “I know from experience how important it is to have interpersonal relationships. I have seen the benefits of this network through my son being able to complete college, work a full-time job, and enjoy his life as an independent young man.”
Garrick is the former president of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia, and former board chair for the Georgia Library for Accessible Services advisory group. He is the father of 1 daughter and 2 grandchildren. He is active in baseball for the blind as well as the co-founder of an organization designed to help blind students and adults in other countries. Along with serving on the board of directors for Citizen Advocacy he also is a citizen advocate for a young man in DeKalb county.