Our Board Members
Dan Ensminger, Co-Treasurer
My wife Teri and I have been blessed with two lovely Daughters who continue to provide joy and happiness and make me proud every day of their lives. Our youngest daughter Mallory was born in 1987 with Cerebral Palsy leading us to a life of working with her one-on one, seeing her through the many challenges, and being her advocate in every aspect of her life. Having a child with Special Needs has made us stronger as we have worked with various agencies in our area to get her the care and assistance she needs to become the productive member of society that she is today. She continues to make us proud, recently receiving a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from San Jose State University. Seeing what our Daughter with all of her challenges can accomplish has inspired me to become more involved in the organizations that help and guide these truly special individuals. Joining the Board of DSCBA gives me the opportunity to share my experiences and become part of that guidance, building more inspirational stories like my Daughter’s. As my 33 year career winds down this opportunity just felt like a perfect fit. I look forward to making a difference for DSCBA and more importantly for all of our clients.
My family and I moved to the Bay Area in 2015. Shortly after, we began attending classes and events at the Down Syndrome Connection in anticipation of adopting a fourth child, a little girl with Down syndrome from China. The DSCBA has been invaluable in helping our family navigate the complex world of developmental needs. They've helped us get plugged in with doctors, therapists and other medical professionals who don't just treat, but specialize in, persons with Down syndrome. In addition, our daughter greatly enjoys and benefits from the many classes the DSCBA offers, like music therapy and peer development. I joined the Board because I want to live in a world where the DSCBA's mission statement isn't just a statement but a way of life.
Martha is one of the cofounders of the Down Syndrome Connection and the proud mother of four boys, the youngest one born with Down syndrome. She continues to facilitate the Grandparent Group and loves to be involved in the DSCBA by serving as a board member. She has a passion for golf and life in general.
My wife Alicia and I along with our 5 kids moved to the Bay Area from NY State in 2013. After many years working for software companies in CA, it was time to move closer and travel less. We were lucky to quickly find the Down Syndrome Connection and establish a community of families with children with Down Syndrome. One of our boys, Simon, now 9 years old, loves the friends he has found through the connection and looks forward to the step-up walk fundraiser each year. After observing firsthand the impact the connection can have both with individual families, schools, and the medical community I joined the board to help directly in 2017. I started my career in the tech industry in 1996 and currently work as an engineering executive at Facebook.
Jonas (Kriks) Kriksciunus
My wife and I have enjoyed the Bay Area for over ten years. We were introduced to the DSCBA in 2010 and were impressed with the leadership team. Our family has grown with the Connection and during this time we’ve had the privilege to meet and work with some of the best educators, service providers, and advocates. I have worked in Information Technology for the last 20 years and lead an IS team in San Francisco. I completed my degrees in Communications and Accounting in Northern California. As our family grows older, I hope to give back some of the guidance we were fortunate to get. I'm proud to be part of an organization focused on awareness and achieving the goals of academic and social success.
First and foremost, Nathan is a husband, father of 3 and a friend to many. His family joined the DSCBA five years ago when they were solution seeking to better serve the needs of their youngest daughter Saige.
At the DSCBA he found a community of advocates and educators that passionately served their members. Nathan was immediately impressed with the organization’s leadership, plethora of programs and strategic approach. The DSCBA’s “can do attitude” and attention to detail shines through and through.
Nathan has served the Heavy Industrial sector (refineries, chemical, power) for 15 years with proven experience in strategy, thought leadership and business acumen. He received his Executive MBA from Saint Mary’s and has coached the city of Clayton’s Challenger Little League team for 8 years. Let’s Go Rockies!!
Dana Morris, Board Chairperson
My husband and I met at Cal and have been fortunate to raise our three kids (ages 19-25) in the Bay Area. I had been working either full or part time Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream in the marketing department over this same time period, but was fortunate to recently retire from there. With my extra time, I now work at UC Berkeley, Haas in the admissions department.
Through my kids’ “growing up” years, I had been actively involved in several volunteer and non-profit organizations related to my kids and served on the various executive boards. As I became an “empty nester”, though, I was looking for an opportunity to contribute to my community in a way that was meaningful to me. I discovered DSCBA through several friends who have special needs kids and rely on their services, and it immediately seemed like the perfect fit. I am thrilled to now be part of such an amazing organization and hope to use my non-profit and marketing background to contribute further.
Steven Pugsley, Co-Treasurer
A new career opportunity brought my family and I to the East Bay in July 2015. Immediately, we sought the services of the Down Syndrome Connection to help support our daughter who was born with Down syndrome in 2011. Through participating in events, we've met many new friends in the community who share in the joys and challenges of raising a child with special needs.
Joining the board of the DSCBA is one way I'm hoping to give back and support people (and their families) with Down syndrome. My career as a health insurance broker has given me a unique insight and perspective on the medical needs and challenges living with Down syndrome can present, especially early in life. I'm proud to support an organization helping to educate our medical providers and teachers in the community who provide the love and care people with Down syndrome need.
I’m helpful and friendly to others and I love to be well organized and kind. I can also lend a helping hand when others need my help. I’m brave and proud, love to smile to brighten up the room. I am well positive and love to make people I love dearly, to laugh!
Education: Gabe is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri's THRIVE program,
Employment: Sprouts Farmer's Market
Hobbies and Interests: Social media enthusiast. Enjoys working out, watching movies, and attending the DSCBA's peer development classes.
Family: Gabe and his wife Alex have been married 5 years.
Jennifer Schmid, Board Secretary
I am currently a Lieutenant with the Oakland Fire Department where I’ve worked for the past 25 years. I’m also the proud mother of my 19 year old daughter who is attending college at the California Maritime Academy.
I was introduced to the DSCBA while volunteering for 10 years with another local nonprofit, supporting the families of fallen peace officers and firefighters. I wore many hats with that organization which included logistics, graphics, website management, I.T. and event planning. I also served in the capacity of Board Secretary for 4 years.
It was through my work with this nonprofit that I was able to attend several DSCBA events and got to know the wonderful mission and focus of the organization, as well as seeing the drive and dedication of their Executive Director. DSCBA puts children and families first. I knew this was an organization that I would be proud to commit my energy and time!
In addition to working with the DSCBA, I am also in my 2nd term serving as a Commissioner on the California State Board of Pilot Commissioners.
Rick Vandenberg, Vice Chairperson
Managing Director, CIBC Private Wealth Management
Rick Vandenberg is a business development officer and head of CIBC Private Wealth Management's San Francisco office, with more than 35 years of investment management experience.His primary responsibilities include leading the client service team and the firm's business development efforts in the Pacific Northwest.
Most recently, he was a managing director and business development officer for Bessemer Trust's San Francisco office, where his responsibilities included client account management and business development in northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to joining Bessemer in 2007, Rick was a senior vice president and wealth advisor for the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch & Company, where he provided wealth advisory services to ultra-high net worth clients on the West Coast. Earlier, he spent more than 16 years with Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he worked with ultra-high net worth individuals and families. In 1981, he began his career at Salomon Brothers Inc. as a taxable fixed-income specialist covering institutional accounts in the Pacific Northwest.
Rick received a Bachelor of Science in finance from Brigham Young University and a Master of Business Administration in finance from the Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles.
He is a member of the San Francisco Estate Planning Council and serves on the board of the John Muir Health Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the investment committee of the United Religions Initiative (URI).