Learn about NDSS 2015 Federal and State Legislative Agenda and how to get involved in NDSS advocacy programs, such as the NDSS DS-Ambassador program and forming an NDSS State Government Affairs Committee.
Ginny Sessions Siller is the Manager, Grassroots and Development Programming at the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in Washington DC, where she manages the organization’s DS-Ambassador Program. Ginny joined NDSS in April 2013 and brings a wealth of business and government experience to her nonprofit sector role. Prior to joining NDSS, Ginny worked for Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and managed his Capitol office during the 2010 GOP Transition Team Leader. Most recently, Ginny worked for Vocus, Inc. where she managed a portfolio of clients and consulted on effective techniques and processes to help clients manage their grassroots and government relations efforts and political action committees. Ginny has a 19 year-old cousin with Down syndrome who motivates her to advocate for people with Down syndrome.
Heather Sachs is the Director of State Government Affairs for the National Down Syndrome Society. She is responsible for leading NDSS efforts on state legislative issues impacting people with Down syndrome and their families, developing and managing NDSS and Down syndrome public policy on state issues, and serving as the liaison between NDSS and state legislatures as well as the point of contact for all NDSS Government Affairs Committees. Heather has nearly a decade of experience doing advocacy work in the disability community on the national, state and local levels. Prior to joining the NDSS staff, she served on the NDSS Affiliate Advisory Board and was an NDSS State Ambassador for Maryland; a founding member of the Maryland Down syndrome Advocacy Coalition (“MDAC”), which was one of NDSS’ first Government Action Committees (GACs), formed in 2009. Under Heather’s guidance, MDAC planned and led a successful state legislative initiative in 2010 to pass a bill on Un iversal Design for Learning, rendering Maryland the first state to pass a UDL bill. In 2014, Heather spearheaded MDAC’s effort to pass a Down Syndrome Information bill in Maryland. She subsequently served as the Maryland Down syndrome community representative on the Maryland Department of Health work group charged with implementation of this bill after it was passed. Locally, Heather has been an active board member of the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County for over five years, serving as its first Advocacy Chair and most recently as the Education Chair. She has co-chaired the acclaimed Techniques for Success Education Conference for the past five years, which has grown from 75 initial attendees to over 500 in 2014. She also oversaw the creation of the first and second editions of the DSNMC Education Resource Guide. Heather received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, and she is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. Heather lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and three children, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome.