Structure of the Board

The Self-Advocacy Association Board of Directors is made up of people with developmental, or other, disabilities. SANYS Board members speak up for you and the region that you live in. They are your voice.

There are up to 18 Board members from around New York State.

The State is divided into six regions: Western, Central, Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City, Long Island.

Board members are elected by you, other self-advocates.

Executive Committee

Tony Phillips


NYC Manhattan

BJ Stasio

Co Vice-President

Western Region, Buffalo
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I have been involved for self advocacy Association one way or another for almost 20 years my first experience with SANYS started when I was searching for a way to get married and keep my benefits so I reached out to the Self-Advocacy Association for help and I ended up joining the self-advocacy AmeriCorps project Our Experience is the Best Teacher and that definitely changed my life for the better.

Self-advocacy as help me realize that when I advocate for something I want and need my advocacy might not only help me but someone else might be going through the same struggles that I am. I have definitely learned that advocacy takes many not just a few.
What does it mean to you to serve as a SANYS Officer (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary).

It is an honor to currently be self advocacy Pres. I have learned a lot from my fellow members and the people that I represent in Western region Buffalo I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the voices of change instead of always being on the sidelines my hope that through this experience many will see they can be leaders in their own life instead of always instead of always following the crowd.

Bernarda Rivera

Co-Vice President

NYC-Staten Island
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My name is Bernarda Rivera. I started participating in Self-Advocacy in 2015 and was first elected to the SANYS Board of Directors in 2017. I am now on my second term. Serving as a board member gave me a chance to work with many other self-advocates in my region. In 2022 I became the Co-Vice President of the board I am proud to say that I love working in my region of Staten Island. I enjoy helping others by teaching about self-advocacy and speaking in meetings and events. I love doing what I do it makes me happy.

Rob Baums


Central Region, Binghamton
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My name is Robert I have been involved in SANYS for 5+ years. Self-advocacy means a lot to me because I believe individuals with developmental disabilities should have the same rights as all people and that they should stick up for their rights.

I am honored to be Secretary of the Board and hope to help as many people as I can.

Michelle Rosenberger


Hudson Valley-Captial
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I first discovered self-advocacy in 2011 when I moved into family care. I started attending meetings with my local group; the Madison County Motivators. I became President of my group around the same time that I moved into my own apartment. I started attending SANYS Central region conference a few years ago and was elected to the SANYS board. I am now serving as Treasurer of the board.

Through my experiences with the Madison County Motivators and on the SANYS board I have become a more outspoken person. I know that it is really important to speak up for those who have a hard time speaking up for themselves because I used to be like that.

Now I speak up for others all the time, with the Motivators and as a member of the SANYS board.


Cathy Loquercio

Long Island Nassau

Joseph Dorr

Long Island-Suffolk

Thomas Kernehan


Ernest Walker


Kasheena Oatman


Brendan Klein


Joshua Santiago

Hudson Valley-Lower Hudson Valley

Jessica Granger

Hudson Valley-Upper Hudson Valley

Eugene Holmes Jr

Hudson Valley-Capital

Esther Dygert


Michael Coughlin


Ted Perry


Marilyn Stata

Western-Finger Lakes


LaRenz Pickens

Coleen Mackin

Chester Finn

Ann Hardiman

Tom McCluskey

Be on the Board

Elections for board members are held at SANYS Regional Conferences. Board positions last 3-years.

There are a number of requirements to become a candidate for the SANYS Board.  One of those requirements is to belong to SANYS Member Self-Advocacy group.

For more information on requirements and how to run for the SANYS Board please contact your SANYS regional office.


Board members at SANYS have a wide range of responsibilities. Below are three core responsibilities.

A board member is asked to attend four (4) board meetings a year. These meetings are two-three (2-3) days long. They are held in the Albany area.

SANYS board members are expected to represent their regions. Board Members attend regional self-advocacy meetings to hear from the self-advocates that they represent.

Board members speak in public and attend other regional or statewide events as necessary.

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