Ability360’s executive team is comprised of individuals with extensive experience and education. The team has over 70 years of collective experience in the nonprofit and independent living market.
President and CEO
Christopher Rodriguez has an extensive history advocating alongside and on behalf of individuals with disabilities on the local, state, and national levels. Before becoming the President & CEO of Ability360, Rodriguez served as the Executive Director of Disability Rights Louisiana (DRLA), an organization that aims to empower and advocate for the human and legal rights of people with disabilities. In addition, Rodriguez has held several other positions in the disability advocacy community, including Director of Public Policy for National Disability Institute, Director of Governmental Affairs and Media Relations for the Michigan Protection and Advocacy, and Director of Chapter Services at The Arc of Texas.
Rodriguez received his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his graduate degree in Public Affairs at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. Rodriguez also holds a graduate minor in Disability Studies. Rodriguez’s passion for advocating comes from his experiences as the younger sibling to a person with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Vice President of Advocacy
April Reed is the Vice President of Advocacy and Designated Legislative Lobbyist at Ability360. Reed received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University in May 2005. Reed creates programs that empower individuals with disabilities and their families. These programs include advocacy-related workshops, one-on-one mentoring, facilitating wellness groups, providing technical assistance to develop consumer-driven initiatives, and developing community partnerships that address barriers to consumer choice, equal rights, and self-determination.
At Ability360, Reed supervises several programs, e.g., the 65-member peer mentor volunteer team; Benefits 2 Work Program for Social Security beneficiaries working or seeking employment; This is MY Life self-advocacy educational program for individuals receiving services through the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities: the Community Leadership Academy; Theatre360 and the Living Well with a Disability Program.
Vice President of
Darrel Christenson serves as the Vice President of Community Integration at Ability360. In his position, Christenson oversees Independent Living skills training, home modifications, information and referrals, and Independent Living services to individuals with disabilities in Valley rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. All services aim to empower persons with disabilities to take responsibility for their lives and live independently in their community.
Before his post with Ability360, Christenson was the outreach coordinator for the Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living (SEMCIL). During his time with SEMCIL, Christenson was responsible for the center’s expansion, which included opening three additional branch offices to serve the community better. Christenson also provided direct services in rural counties to persons with disabilities, their families, and the community at large.
Christenson, a Minnesota native, graduated from Mankato State University, Mankato, Minnesota, with bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. Christenson also earned his master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Since July 2014, Christenson serves on the Board of Directors for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL).
Vice President of Finance
Feng Chiou joined the Ability360 team in 2002, when the agency budget was $6.5 million. She now oversees financial operations for a budget exceeding $40 million. After earning a bachelor’s in Accountancy at NAU, Feng applied her financial/accounting knowledge in positions at Maricopa Integrated Health System and St. Luke’s Health System. When she’s not crunching numbers, Ms. Chiou lends her expertise as a volunteer tax preparer for low-income individuals and has volunteered for Tzu Chi Foundation, an international humanitarian organization.
Vice President & General Manager, Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center
LaZear’s background includes more than 18 years of experience managing major programs and initiatives in rehabilitative medicine, recreational therapy, outdoor adventures and other adaptive programming for people with disabilities. For the last six years, LaZear handled responsibilities as lead therapeutic recreational therapist at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. LaZear earned a master’s of Business Administration, with an emphasis in Health Systems Management, from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from California State University Northridge.
Meghan E. Fable
Director of Development
Since 2013, Meghan Fable has been the Director of Development for Ability360. In this position, she oversees fundraising events, online giving campaigns, annual appeal, planned giving, major gifts and corporate relationships. She brings over 27 years experience in all aspects of public relations, event planning, community relations and non-profit fundraising. Meghan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona.
In addition to her professional experience, Meghan has significant volunteer leadership experience. She is a board member of PANDA, the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, since 2004. She is a current Advisory Board member and co-chaired the Annual Children Helping Children Luncheon and Fashion Show in 2011. She is also an active member of the Desert Foundation Auxiliary.