Catherine Blakemore is the Executive Director of Disability Rights California. She previously worked as DRC’s Director of Litigation and the Managing Attorney of the Los Angeles office. Before joining us, Catherine was an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Disability Rights Legal Center. Catherine received her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. Her work as an attorney specialized in the area of special education and she continues to work as one of the counsel in the Chanda Smith vs. Los Angeles Unified School District.
Steve Haas joined DRC as the Human Resource Director in January 2015. He brings over 20 years of experience from a variety of human resources, training and management roles. Steve has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Master’s Degree in Human Resources, both from Golden Gate University. He is certified by the HR Certification Institute as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, with an additional certification in California employment law (SPHR-CA). He serves on the faculty of UC Davis Extension, teaching a variety of HR courses.
Katie Hornberger is the Director of the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy. She has been with OCRA for more than fifteen years, working as a supervisor and as the Clients’ Rights Advocate for clients of both Harbor Regional Center and North Los Angeles County Regional Center. She has also represented clients in a variety of matters including public benefits, education, regional center, and discrimination cases. Katie has conducted community trainings and served on many committees.
Karen Keene joined DRC as Finance Director in April 2016. She has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, finance, and administration in both corporate and non-profit organizations. Karen is responsible for all accounting functions at DRC including fiscal audits, budgeting, financial reporting and analysis, and strategic financial planning.
Jesse Magano is the Information Technology Director of Disability Rights California. Jesse provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative and diverse information technology team. His primary responsibilities for the agency include strategic technology planning, governance and policy, resource allocation and security compliance.
Virginia Knowlton Marcus returned to DRC as Director of Legal Advocacy in 2017, after 11 years successfully leading our sister organization, Disability Rights Maryland, as the Executive Director. In addition, Virginia has worked as Executive Director of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation in Washington, DC. Virginia is a nationally known disability rights attorney who has been advocating for people with all types of disabilities on a broad array of issues at the state, federal and international levels for 25 years.
Leslie Morrison is Director of the Investigations and Grants Administration. Leslie directs investigations of allegations of abuse and neglect involving persons with disabilities. She also coordinates DRC’s grants administration and fundraising programs.
Michele Mudgett is the Director of the California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR) with direct oversight for the five Department of State Hospitals advocacy programs. She provides statewide mental health trainings for Patients’ Rights Advocates about advocacy basics and new laws. She also oversees county advocacy program reviews.