Executive Director

Kathy Vecchioni, M.S.W.

Financial Coordinator

Beverly Rill

Administrative Assistant

Sandie French

For the past 30 years, Kathy Vecchioni has helped people with intellectual/developmental disabiities to build lives reflecting their preferences and dreams, while assuring their needs were addressed. She began work with By Their Side as a Personal Advocate in 2006, and became Executive Director in 2012. Kathy also worked with the Arc of Frederick County's Service Coordination division for 20 years. where she served as Service Coordinator, Supervisor, and a Director of Service Coordination in central and western regions of Maryland. During that time, the division grew from serving 200 to over 6000 Marylanders and their families. Highlights include Kathy's development of grants to assist aging parents to plan for the future of their relative, and work with statewide groups to establish individual and family control of funding and services.

Beverly Rill has served By Their Side for over 30 years, and worked with the Board of Directors to help the agency develop its advocacy program as needs changed. Following her retirement as Executive Director in 2012, Beverly has continued part time as an Advocate and Financial Coordinator.

With over 25 years experience providing Administrative and IT support, Sandie French is an asset to By Their Side. She works part time.

Advocates are listed in their region of primary service. They work from home offices.

Central Region Advocates

Susan Buehl, M. Ed. Baltimore, MD (also serving Western Region)

Catherine Raggio, M.Ed., Columbia, MD

Joan Rumenap, M.B.A. Glen Burnie, MD

Rachel Sye, M.A. Shrewsbury, PA.

Kathy Vecchioni, M.S.W. Phoenix, MD

Debbie Willis, B.A., Baltimore, MD

Susan Buehl has advocated for Marylanders with disabiltiies for 30 years, in positions such as Service Coordinator and Supervisor. Susan also has experience with issues and services related to aging and disabilities and has served as a Special Education Teacher.

In the past 30 years, Catherine Raggio has served as Executive Director of: UCP, Independence Now, and the MD Developmental Disabilities Council. Before starting as a By Their Side advocate, she served two terms as Cabinet Secretary of the MD Department of Disabilities. Catherine has a M.Ed in speech pathology with related work experience.

In her 25 years serving people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities, Joan Rumenap served as a Service Coordinator and Supervisor, DDA Statewide Quality Assurance Chief, and a Director for Abilities Network.

Rachel Sye provided Service Coordination and served as a Supervisor for almost 20 years. She has particular knowledge of issues and services for people with I/DD who are involved in the judicial system.

Kathy Vecchioni - see above.

Debbie Willis worked as a Service Coordinator and Supervisor in Baltimore City for over 25 years, and is co-founder of a support agency.

Southern Region Advocates

Kari Borgealt, B.A. Woodbine, MD

Karen Gipson, B.S. Gaithersburg, MD

Beatrice Rodgers, M.S.W. Greenbelt, MD

Portia Willis, B.S.W. Columbia, MD


Kari Borgealt served as a Service Coordinator and Supervisor for over 20 years, and provides support for people served by the Arc of Frederick County.

Karen Gipson has over 20 years of experience including Resource Coordinator and Program Manager for Montgomery County DHHS Resource Coordination and the Autism Waiver.

Beatrice Rodgers' 30 years of experience includes serving as Executive Director of: Prince Georges County Commmision on Disabilities, PG County Department of Family Services/Individuals with Disabilties Division, the Governor's Office on Disabilities (2 terms), and Resource Connections in Prince Georges County.

Portia Willis has 30 years of advocacy experience in Montgomery County, where she served as a resource coordinator and resource coordination program manager. She also serves children and families.

Western Region Advocates

Nancy Berger, B.A. Newville, PA

Beverly Rill, Hampstead, MD

Nancy Berger has 20 years of advocacy experience as a service coordinator and supervisor. She was also a Director of Social Work at a nursing home.

Beverly Rill - See above.

Eastern Shore Advocates

Paul Mysak, M.Ed. Allen, MD

Paul Mysak is well known for his tenure as service coordinator and Program Manager for the Wicomico County Health Department. Paul also has extensive experience in vocational services. He has 30 years of experience.