Board of Directors
“Barb is for the former Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2018 and her platform was “changing ignorance with education and inclusion”. Barb is from Windber, Pa and studied Veterinary Technology at Johnson College in Scranton, PA. She currently works as a Consumer Advocate at Laurel Medical Solutions, serves on various boards and is the President of the South Central PA United Spinal Chapter. Barb is passionate about building community for people with disabilities and educating the public about issues people with disabilities face.
Barb says that her time as Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2018 has changed her life in ways that she could never imagine. She did 68 appearances to and through 7 different states, traveling 20,000 miles during her 10-month long reign. Some highlights include: An accessibility event she coordinated with key stakeholders in Johnstown to navigate the city in manual wheelchairs to demonstrate the lack of accessibility in downtown Johnstown, traveling to the Boston Abilities Expo, serving as a judge for Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey, and speaking at various high schools across the keystone state. She is grateful to have participated in the national competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan because she made friends from all over the country and continues those friendships today. Her future goals are to continue to build the Ms, Wheelchair Pennsylvania Organization, the South Central PA United Spinal Chapter, and attend college for Disability Studies.
Kristin lives outside Pittsburgh with her husband Justin and children Natalie and Zach. She works full-time at Aetna as a quality analyst within their Medicare division. She was a titleholder in 2010 and currently serves as MWPA vice-president and ambassador coordinator.
In early 2010 I was contacted by Mark Wellman, the first paraplegic climber to ascend the rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He wanted to rent a mobile rock wall that I owned to allow wheelchair users to try out adaptive climbing at an Abilities Expo. This seemed absolutely impossible in my world, but I said yes. I was hooked on helping him after I saw the emotional breakthrough as climbers moved from “I can’t” to “maybe I can” to “I just did it.” Maybe not everyone would leave that experience and become a rock climber but perhaps something they never dreamed possible they might actually try.
While in Boston at an Abilities Expo in 2018 two ladies rolled up wearing crowns and sashes. This was obviously going to be another “I didn’t know that is a thing” experience. Here I was in Massachusetts meeting the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania and Ms. Wheelchair America. I am not a fan of beauty contests so when I heard this was a competition about advocacy I was intrigued. I could relate to these women on an intellectual level and respected their ability to communicate. As I learned more I realized this was the type of organization I wanted to get behind and support.
While I do not know what it’s like to do life with the assistance of a wheelchair, I can use my financial skills and connections to support these women on the front line of advocacy. I have a bachelor of science in economics with a concentration in accounting and entrepreneurial management from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and an MBA from Penn State. Monday through Friday I am a corporate controller, but my real passions are volunteering and giving, which I juggle with adopted and natural children who range in age from 7 to 29 living in PA, VA, and CA.
Because of my skill set, I have naturally gravitated to the treasurer responsibilities and building the Ms. Wheelchair PA Fund at the Lancaster County Community Foundation.
It is a pleasure to serve this organization and see the growth in and impact of the titleholders and ambassadors. I appreciate learning from them and being challenged to see life from a different perspective.
Member at Large
Marty Dombrowski is the Assistant Director of the Center for Independent Living of South Central PA. She is mom to three incredible children, Elyse and husband, Robert of Washington County, PA, Ethan and Joseph, both of Blair County. Marty and her husband, Chuck, reside in Altoona and enjoy cycling and kayaking and being grandparents to Lucy.