Our Team

INW employees may be reached at 503.546.2950. Our email addresses are first name @ independencenw.org.

We serve customers in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties. County assignments are indicated in the case management staff biographies below.



Adrienne Akin
Personal Agent  (ext. 131)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties

Adrienne Akin moved to the Portland area from Hood River in 2007 to work toward her degree. Adrienne graduated from Mount Hood Community College with an Associate of Applied Science in Mental Health & Human Services in 2009 and in 2012, Adrienne received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW) from Concordia University. She has been working with low income adults and seniors living with disabilities in low income housing and residential care facilities for the last 10 years. She has worked as a case manager through non-profit organizations, Impact NW and YWCA and most recently began working as a Personal Agent with Independence NW in January, 2017. Adrienne enjoys swimming, day trips to visit her grandma, playing with her 7 year old cat and chasing waterfalls near the Old Columbia River Hwy.

Andrea Ochsner
Lead Personal Agent (ext. 117)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties
Andrea graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2001 in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. She has 14 years of experience working in various non-profits including child welfare services, children with disabilities CES Program, and for a prevention program assisting families in need. She joined INW in March of 2016. In her personal life she enjoys camping, hiking, and mountain biking in the great outdoors. She also loves live music, animals, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Angeline Frank
Lead Personal Agent (ext. 122)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Angeline (Angie) Frank has been working with people with disabilities since 2004. She first began working with the DD community in 2004 at United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon & SW Washington (UCP) in 2004 as a Support Specialist and then an On-Call Relief Worker. While working at UCP, Angeline received her Bachelor degree from Portland State University (PSU) in 2009 and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Hatfield School of Government – PSU in 2012. She is also a graduate of AmeriCorps NCCC* (2002- Maryland). In February 2014, Angie joined the Independence | Northwest team as a PA. She has extensive experience working in Supported Living programs where she helped support over three dozen clients with DD in the home setting. Angie’s extracurricular interests are watching classic movies and reading British literature (especially Jane Austen).

Bernice Celino
Personal Agent  (ext. 132)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Born in the Philippines and raised in Canada, Bernice moved to Portland after high school to study Psychology and Sociology at PSU. She has over 20 years of experience working with people with disabilities, most recently the last 9 years assisting adults with disabilities and seniors living in public housing. On her time off you can expect Bernice to be out enjoying the Portland food scene, traveling or catching up on movies from the previous year.  She enjoys cooking, baking, listening to podcasts and hanging out with her two cats.  She also hopes one day one of her cats will rise to internet stardom. 

Brenda Cooper
Administrative Assistant (ext. 127)
Brenda has lived in the greater Portland area since 2001, having moved from her home state of Michigan with her husband.  She brings with her a background in the medical / mental health field, and she also has a working experience with individuals with developmental disabilities.  In her free time, Brenda enjoys camping, reading, listening to music, and petting her two kitties.

Carie Shumway

Assessor (ext. 118)
Carie has been working within the developmental disabilities community since 1998. Her experience includes early behavior intervention for children with autism, direct care for children with extreme behavioral and mental health needs, special education classroom support, and internships in child counseling and self-advocacy for people with I/DD working to influence disability policy. Carie has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Work. She joined the Independence Northwest team as a Personal Agent in 2009. Carie enjoys travelling, meeting new people, thinking outside of the box, empowering her customers and spending time with her cat, Bruce.

Carl Fischer
Personal Agent  (ext. 121)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties
Living in Portland and having a career in social services had been a dream for Carl ever since he graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) in 2012. Three years later, Carl and his wife packed their two door Honda with their cat and belongings and began their drive across the country to settle in a robust inner southeast neighborhood. Within two weeks after arrival, Carl started his career with Goodwill as a skills trainer assisting people experiencing I/DD to build independent living and employment readiness skills. Carl was quickly promoted to position of vocational case manager where he worked for two years assisting clients with employment path services including job development, Discovery, and job coaching before joining INW in spring of 2018. In his personal life, Carl enjoys gardening, cooking, fishing, spending time with his cat Tippy, maintaining his aquariums, and hot yoga.

Chris Psota
Personal Agent (ext. 120)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Since moving to Portland from Nebraska in 2002, Chris Psota has been working in various roles in supporting people with developmental disabilities. Chris began this work at Goodwill Industries in 2004 when he accepted a position as an enclave supervisor. From there, Chris went on to become a vocational case manager at Goodwill where he worked for 7 years. During that time, he also completed the Masters of Social Work program at PSU, focusing primarily on employment and social supports for people with disabilities. After graduating in 2013, Chris became a personal agent at Independence NW. Chris has also volunteered with local women’s shelters and has been an organizer for the Cascade AIDS Walk for several years. In his free time, Chris can be found walking Ava, his bossy Huskie/German Shepherd, or riding his bike around town.

Clover Mow
Personal Agent  (ext. 115)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties
Clover Mow has been supporting the disabilities community in many capacities since 1994. Clover brings over twenty years’ experience of working with youth and adults with disabilities providing community supports, career coaching, and job placement and retention services. She’s worked on a number of local, state, and federal grants related to employment services for youth and adults who experience disabilities, are English Language Learners, in addition to those impacted by the criminal justice system or homelessness.  She previously worked for the Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC) through the Institute for Educational Leadership and provided technical assistance to state VR offices around youth transition services. Additionally, Clover was the Director of Programs for SE Works Inc, an American Job Center, where she was responsible for the organization’s programs in the Youth, Reentry and Workforce Development Centers. In her free time, Clover enjoys listening to music, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Emily Dinwiddie
Lead Personal Agent  (ext. 119)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties
Emily grew up in Oregon, obtaining her Bachelors in Science from Oregon State University in Human Development and Family Sciences, starting her human services career in Bend. Since 2006, Emily has worked with various service organizations to provide education, outreach, and support services. Her case management experience includes supporting individuals in Supported Employment, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Emergency Housing, In-Home Care, and even one year as a Personal Agent for another Metro Area Brokerage. In 2013, Emily completed her Masters of Education and Human Resources Studies with emphasis in Adult Education and Training from Colorado State University. She has lived in the Portland Metro area since 2010,  and loves attending Trail Blazers and Timbers games with her family. On the weekends you can find Emily enjoying the outdoors –  camping, hiking, swimming, or playing at a local park.

Finch Raffa
Quality Assurance Coordinator (ext. 125)
Finch Raffa has been working for Independence Northwest since 2012. Utilizing his degrees in English and Latin, he juggles many responsibilities, chief among them processing piles of paperwork, ensuring providers are properly paid, and correcting his coworkers’ mistakes. When not at work, Finch enjoys art films and monster movies, epic poetry, and brown liquor.

Jamie Lyzell
Lead Personal Agent / Assessor (ext. 114)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Jamie has been working in the social service field since 2005. She graduated from Oregon Institute of Technology with a BS in Psychology in 2005. While in school she was an extern with the Klamath County Juvenile Department and also worked as an on-call group worker in their detention facility. She then moved back home to Portland and started working for Albertina Kerr Centers in their girl’s residential program. In 2006, she began working for the Clackamas Education Service District in a behavior classroom with youth ages 8-12. She also began coaching softball and basketball at a local high school. In 2010, Jamie was moved to a Native American residential program called Cedar Bough. In that same year, she also began working for the Clackamas County Juvenile Department as relief worker. In 2012, Jamie began working for SE Works in a job development program for young adults 18-25. She started with Independence Northwest in 2014. When not at work, Jamie enjoys working out, softball, being with her family, and doing anything outside.

Jenna Holt
Personal Agent (ext. 129)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Jenna, her son, and two cats moved to Portland in 2015 from St. Louis, Missouri.  She studied Psychology and Political Science at the University of Missouri St Louis and has over 18 years experience working in the human services field.  Jenna started her career as an assistant in a special education classroom, and the last 12 years working in and managing Supported Living programs for adults with I/DD. On the weekends you can find Jenna spending time with her family, catching a movie at the Hollywood Theater, cooking, or working in her garden.

Jesse Raposa
Personal Agent  (ext. 124)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Clackamas counties
Jesse arrived at INW with several years of both professional and personal experience within the realm of social services. After she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2012, she moved on to become a Service Coordinator for people with I/DD in Texas where she was born and raised. She moved to Olympia, WA in 2014 and worked for the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration as a Case Resource Manager. Upon chasing her childhood dreams and relocating to Portland in January of 2016, she began her career with INW as a Personal Agent. When she is not talking your ear off about music, she’s likely trying to do some good in the world or dancing in the streets.

Jessica Kral
Senior Program Supervisor (ext.11)
Jessica has been involved the disability and social service field for twenty years and has been with INW since 2008.  In addition to working with individuals with disabilities, Jessica has worked youth in the justice system, survivors of domestic violence and people living with HIV/AIDS.  With a BS in Psychology and Masters in Social Work, Jessica has dedicated her personal and professional life towards community change and social justice.

Joe Connell
Personal Agent
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Joe relocated to Portland from San Francisco, bringing with him over ten years’ experience working in the social service field.  He has served in a variety of roles including resource center support, representative payee, and case manager.  Joe has been employed by several non-profits in diverse settings such as drop-in centers, medical clinics, and supportive housing environments.  He started as a PA with Independence NW in August 2019.  Outside of work, Joe enjoys exploring Oregon with his wife and dog.           

Larry Deal
Executive Director (ext. 110)
Larry Deal has been engaged in the intellectual and developmental disabilities community since 1996. While attending the University of Washington, he began work with the I/DD community via a volunteer position. Larry served in a variety of roles at Supported Living agencies in Seattle and Tucson until a move to Portland in 2001 brought him to Oregon’s progressive brokerage system at its inception. Early on, he worked as an independent provider, a Personal Agent, and as the director of one of Oregon’s first brokerages. In 2006, in concert with peers, self-advocates, and community members, he co-founded the nonprofit Independence Northwest. Ever since, he has served as the Executive Director of INW and is immensely proud of the agency’s impact on and engagement with this extraordinary community. He is the Communications Director for the Oregon Support Services Association, which represents Oregon’s fourteen community-led support services brokerages.

Rachel Kroll
Plan of Care Coordinator (ext. 113)
Rachel will always be a Canadian at heart but moved to Washington State in 2008 after living in western Canada her entire life. She spent 4 years in Olympia, WA working in hospitality and volunteering within the local arts community at The Olympia Film Society. In 2012 life brought her to Portland, OR to be closer to friends and after 8 years spent working in the hospitality industry Rachel joined the INW team as Office Manager in 2013. Rachel enjoys reading, board games and spending time with her family – she looks forward to raising her family in Portland and getting more involved in her neighborhood and community.

Ron Spence
Operations Director (ext. 112)
Ron Spence has being working for Portland area brokerages since 2003 and was a founding member of Independence Northwest in 2006. He has a passion for common sense and focuses his professional energy on reducing the bureaucratic red tape that creates obstacles to quality human services work. He spends his spare time inventing ridiculous nicknames for his cats and reading long books.

Rondi Grace
Personal Agent (ext. 133)
Serves customers in Multnomah and Washington counties
Rondi has been working in service of people with disabilities full time since 1983, after receiving her BS in Psychology from Carroll University in Wisconsin.  Although raised in Illinois, she lived and worked in Arizona for 23 years prior to moving to Portland to raise her family.  Rondi has held a wide variety of positions through the years and has had a front row seat to the dramatic and positive evolution of the I/DD field. She remains optimistic and open minded.  She enjoys music, movies, audio books, and crafting with driftwood and brass.  Her dog Ziggy and cats Mrs. Patty and Holly provide a  never-ending supply of love and comedy – two essentials for Rondi’s life.