The Columbus Organization

Phone

  • (800) 229.5116

Meet The Indiana Team

Keith Digman, Indiana Executive State Director

Experience: I have had the pleasure of working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for nearly 23 years in a variety of roles, which is my professional passion. I enjoy advocating for others and working with them on self-advocacy in my business and personal life. 

Why I joined Columbus: I will start by stating that it is extremely difficult to explain why I joined The Columbus Organization in an abbreviated fashion. There are a countless number of reasons why I was, and am, drawn here. Over many years of my professional life, I have worked alongside a lot of Columbus Organization team members (leadership, management, front line personnel) as a representative of other provider agencies or the Indiana trade association for providers, INARF. If these experiences have shown me anything, it is that The Columbus Organization and it’s team operate at the highest level of professionalism and ethics that I have experienced. The culture represented by the company is one that sets the bar for all other agencies and one which I want to be a part and to which I want to contribute. 

How I explain Columbus to others: I simply describe The Columbus Organization to others as a strong company with an impactful mission that goes above and beyond to ensure that customers and stakeholders are treated with the upmost respect and that everyone involved experiences nothing but positive outcomes. Simply put, if it needs done and it is the right thing to do, it will become a reality.

Outside of The Columbus Organization: I have the luxury of doing a lot of volunteering with my children’s school and sports, from coaching to substitute teaching, which they appreciate greatly and tend to enjoy. I enjoy golfing and hanging with my Boxers when I am not working and spending time with my family. I come from a large family, four sisters and two brothers, and I am also an identical twin. We have been a close family as long as I can remember, and I can credit them with who I am today.

Education: Bachelor of Science, Ball State University   Contact: kadigman@columbusorg.com

Cari Bieritz, Team Leader Case Manager

Experience: I have 8 years’ experience in case management and 5 years’ experience as a Case Manager supervisor. I have over 20 years’ experience total in this field working as a QIDP before becoming a Case Manager.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined the Columbus Organization because their values match closely with those of my own and the personable nature of the administrative staff really makes me feel at home.

How I explain Columbus to Others:I describe The Columbus Organization as a great Social Services organization that assists people with Intellectual Disabilities in achieving the life they desire.

Outside of Columbus: When I am not working, I enjoy time at home with my family consisting of my life partner, my 2 sons, our 2 dogs, our reptiles, and our chickens. I enjoy time outdoors and enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga, and the beach.

Education: BA in Psychology, Alma College Contact: cbieritz@columbusorg.com

Esteban P. Hillyard, Medicaid Waiver Case Manager

Experience: I have been employed with The Columbus Organization for 5 years now, and have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with and help those receiving waiver services.

Why I joined Columbus:I joined Columbus because it is my passion to use my skills to help consumer’s develop and maintain a unique waiver plan that is best suited to their individual needs. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: I take pride in my role as Case Manager with The Columbus Organization, because I know I’m working for a company that strives to ensure all consumers have the support and resources needed to live their best possible life.

Outside of Columbus: I am a dedicated family man. In my free time, I enjoy going camping, fishing, and grilling out with my wife and two young sons. I also enjoy playing the piano and guitar.

Education: Masters Human Resource Management, PF | BS Psychology, PFW   Contact: ehillyard@columbusorg.com

Molly Evans, Case Manager

Experience: I have been with The Columbus Organization since 2019. Prior to working at The Columbus Organization, I worked in the behavioral health field for 10+ years. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I wanted to work at a place where I felt I was making a difference between individuals and families in and around my community. I enjoy being able to help connect consumers with resources and support systems that will be beneficial to them. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: The Columbus Organization is like a family in the way that all team members support each other and our consumers.  

Outside of work: I enjoy spending time with my family. If it is nice outside, we spend most of the time boating, kayaking and swimming. I also enjoy reading and watching Disney movies with my daughter. 

Education: BSW, Ball State University, LSW   Contact: maevans@columbusorg.com

Thomas Bennett, Care Manager

Experience: I have 12+ years of experience with the Aged and Disable Waiver population. I am fully committed to advocating and care managing my southern Indiana caseload of individuals supported.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined the Columbus Organization due to when Katie Sloan reached out to me about the open position she was very professional and informative on what the position entailed. The privilege of working with such great people, the benefits, and also the perk of being able to work from home was also a key as to why I wanted to join The Columbus Organization.

How I describe Columbus to others: The Columbus Organization is such a great organization. My coworkers and supervisors are so supportive, understanding, professional, and courteous. The benefits, Paid Time Off, technical support, and employee support are outstanding. 

Outside of Columbus: My hobbies are cooking, gardening, reading, and outdoor activities such as camping and fishing. I live in Bedford, Indiana with my Fiancé and all of my close family members live nearby in this same area.

Education: BA Psychology, Purdue University    Contact: tdbennett@columbusorg.com

Latashia Flannery, Case Manager

Experience: I have a combined thirteen years of Healthcare, Mental Health and Child Service experience. I have worked as a dedicated Case Manager for five of those thirteen years. 

Why I joined Columbus: This experience gave me a deep appreciation for advocating for individuals with disabilities. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: The Columbus Organization is a rewarding company to be a part of. 

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy vacationing, helping with community youth groups, spending time with my family and enjoying/living life.

Education: LBSW from the University of Indianapolis  Contact: lflannery@columbusorg.com

Katelyn Taylor-Case Manager

Experience: I have been a case manager since 2019. Starting at DCS, I moved to the  waiver world once my son received his Prader Wili diagnosis. I have  experience working with a wide range of individuals from all walks of life.  My passion is rooted in advocating for those who may otherwise be overlooked or unheard. We all deserve to live a life we love.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined The Columbus Organization because as a special needs mom, I  understand how confusing the waiver process can be. I strive to provide  families with resources they may otherwise be unaware of. I always say,  “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and make it a priority to change  this for wavier individuals and families.

How I describe Columbus to Others: The Columbus Organization is person-centered, putting every  individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities at the heart  of what they do. Columbus believes that everyone deserves a  meaningful life.

Outside of Columbus: I am a mother of soon to be three, with two boys and a little girl that will  be making her appearance, Spring 2022. My husband, John, and I love  to be outside, camping, corn hole and bonfires. When we are not exploring the outdoors, I love to DIY, I have been slowly renovating my  1930s home and loving every step of it.

Education: BS Science , Indiana University Purdue University, Columbus   Contact: ketaylor@columbusorg.com

Nikki Furry, Team Lead Case Management Supervisor

Experience: I have worked as a Social Worker for 28 years. I’ve served families who were considered at high risk of abuse and neglect of children. I have helped many children find their forever families.In 2017, I joined the TCO team and since then, I have found my passion in helping individuals live their best lives.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus after many years with different social service providers. I wanted to continue to learn and expand my skills as a social worker. Working with this population was a new experience and so much more rewarding than I expected.

How I describe Columbus to others: We are consumer and family focused.  We want everyone to live their best lives and try to provide them with the tools to live their life to the fullest.

Outside of Columbus: I really enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also love to travel and read.

Education:MA and BS, Ball State University   Contact: nfurry@columbusorg.com

Jodie Buckley, Case Manager

Experience: I have been a part of the Columbus Team since April of 2019. I have 2.5 years’ experience working for a provider before joining the Columbus Team. I have two boys with one that is on the autism spectrum. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined the Columbus Organization because I have a passion for helping others. I want to provide the resources to families to make sure they have the best care for their loved ones. I enjoy helping others and I am committed to advocating for my consumers.

How I describe Columbus to others:  The best part of being on the Columbus Team is being able to work with fantastic people and doing what I LOVE, helping others!

Outside of Columbus: I am very passionate, caring and family focused. I enjoy spending time with my family and supporting my children in everything they do.

Education: BA Criminal Justice, Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University    Contact: jdbuckley@columbusorg.com

Jessica Dudley, Case Manager

Experience: I have been a Case Manager for the Waiver program for 13 years, and with Columbus for the last 8 years. I also have experience in working with at risk families and youth involved in the child welfare system. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I am passionate about helping others. Working as a Case Manager for Columbus allows me to connect with, advocate for, and help others achieve their goals. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: I would describe Columbus as an employer that is supportive to the community and its employees. They encourage continued training and embrace a team environment. 

Outside of Columbus: I am married with 3 children. I enjoy watching my kids in sports and traveling. I am also involved in animal rescue and a CASA volunteer.

Education: BSW, Ball State University   Contact: jdudley@columbusorg.com

Loretta Gross, Care Coordinator

Experience: I have worked in this field for 20 years and have seen the spectrum of services, including working as a day program director, a special education classroom aide, in the church ministry for persons with disabilities, providing personal care in the home and community, and as a QIDP and personal care assistant in a long-term care facility for this amazing population. I have also worked as a teacher in grades 3 and 4 before transitioning my career to a care coordinator. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because a family member highly recommended the company, my team lead, and the case managers. My family member uses TCO for her son’s waiver case management needs and has always been satisfied with the services provided. To me, working for The Columbus Organization means that I have an opportunity to serve the population so dear to my heart.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe The Columbus Organization as a company who is individual-centered and always strives to be available for the people we serve.

Outside of work: I enjoy spending time with my husband and son, and extended family. I also enjoy listening to music, hiking, swimming, and generally being outside.

Education: BA Elementary Ed, Anderson University  Contact: llgross@columbusorg.com

Rebecca (Becke) Nauyokas, Case Manager

Experience: I have worked in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 1996. During that time, I had worked in a Severe-Profound school as a Classroom Aide, a Job Coach for both students and adults and supervised the Community Employment, PAC, and Respite programs before becoming a Case Manager.

Why I joined Columbus:  I joined Columbus because I am the mother of a child on the Waiver and know firsthand how confusing it can be to navigate Waiver services. I wanted to assist and advocate for clients and their families and Columbus had been providing quality services to my family for over 10 years.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as Professional, Responsive, and Compassionate. Columbus Case Managers receive continuous ongoing training to give clients knowledgeable, informative services quickly and professionally.

Outside of Columbus: I am a mother of an adult son with autism who participates in services provided by the Medicaid Waiver. In addition, I volunteer at church as a lead for the Special Needs Ministry and lead Small Groups through church as well. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, camping and being surrounded by family.

Education: BS Psychology   Contact: rsnauyokas@columbusorg.com

Stacey M. Ray, Case Manager

Experience: I have worked in social services for more than 15 years working with all ages. I am focused on delivery of services and use a strength based approach.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I want to be able to assist/support others in living their best life. I like that my TL and state director have case loads of their own which keeps them in contact with the community and understanding my experiences.  

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is supportive to employees and individuals we serve. 

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy spending time with family, hiking trails, reading and furniture restoration. I also enjoy volunteering with youth, city cleanliness and attending local events that support the community.

Education: BS in Physiology and Health, Ball State University  Contact: smray@columbusorg.com

Heather Royse, Case Manager

Experience: I have been working in social services since 2013. I began my career at an Area Agency on Aging working with older adults and individuals with disabilities coordinating in-home care. I have enjoyed assisting individuals with disabilities work towards their desired goals with Columbus since 2015.

Why I joined Columbus: I  joined Columbus because I wanted to be a part of a team dedicated to helping people live their best life.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is an organization dedicated to helping individuals live their desired life by utilizing personal networks, state programs, and community resources.

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy spending quality time with my children, being outdoors, genealogy, and taking day trips.

Education: BSW, Ball State University  Contact: hroyse@columbusorg.com

Sarah Stults, Case Manager

Experience: I have a total of 15 years of experience in social work. My experiences range from working with youth in residential treatment facilities, independent living for older youth, foster care, and case management.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus to be able to help individuals in my community live their best life! I love building relationships with consumers and getting to know their unique qualities and traits that make them special. I also was drawn to the flexibility Columbus provided me to have a good work/life balance.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is a community of people with a common goal of assisting people live their best lives in their communities. My experience has shown that Columbus brings a diversity of people with unique gifts and talents that serve our community in a way that empowers our consumers and supports our team.

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy being in a leadership role in my church’s children’s ministry as well as advocating for foster families and youth in my community.  My spare time is spent with my husband and two children who enjoy being with their extended family or having movie nights together.

Education: BS, Ball State University  Contact: slstults@columbusorg.com

Lisa Worley, Case Manager

Experience:  2 years with the YMCA’s Pre-Kindergarten Program, 4 years with Hamilton Southeastern Schools as a Special Education Instructional Assistant and 2 years with First Steps as an Intake Coordinator. I have been a case manager since 2017.

Why I joined Columbus: The Columbus Organization has proven to be rewarding both professionally and personally. I love seeing individuals making progress on their goals and working on achieving their dreams. Knowing that I can assist in those steps is so fulfilling!

How I describe Columbus to Others: The Columbus Organization is a company full of compassionate professionals who truly want individuals to see their strengths and capitalize on them so that they can live up to and beyond their potential in life.

Outside of Columbus: My interests include being a wife and mom to three kids as well as hiking, fitness and traveling.

Education: BS Business, Ball State University  Contact: lworley@columbusorg.com

Pat Herrera, Case Manager

Experience: I have been a waiver case manager for over 21 years. I’ve worked for the DCS system as a therapist and completed supervised visitation. I have experience working for several waiver providers who manage staff and I have also been a foster case manager. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because after talking to Carlos Hernandez I realized that Columbus cares for the people they serve and wants a better quality of life for people with disabilities.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is a great company to work for. They value what we have to say as employees. The most important is that they want us to deliver quality care to our individuals. 

Outside of Columbus: I spend a lot of time traveling back and forth to Indianapolis to see my 9 children and grandchildren. All of their ages range from the ages 4 to 22 years old. They are my biggest joy and I am so proud of all they have accomplished!

Education:  BS Psychology and Sociology, Calumet College | MS Healthcare Management, Phoenix University  Contact: pherrera@columbusorg.com

Nelida Arreola, Case Manager

Experience: I have four years of Case management experience with Mental health, and Domestic Violence. I have six years of experience working with consumers with developmental disabilities.  

Why I joined Columbus: I want to continue to make a difference for our disabled population by supporting, assisting, guiding and advocating. I want my consumers to have a meaningful day based on their wants and needs. I want to continue to educate parents/guardians by providing them with community resources and direction to accomplish desired goals for their loved one.

How I describe Columbus to others: I describe Columbus Organization as an agency whose goal is to provide a meaningful day and empower consumers with developmental disabilities as well as families and local communities.

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy spending time with my family, knitting, cooking, outdoor activities, wine tasting, refurbishing homes and furniture.

Education:BS, Criminal Justice, Indiana University Northwest Indiana  Contact: narreola@columbusorg.com

Doribell Nelson, Case Manager

Experience: I have extensive experience working with infants, children and adults with special needs. My primary language is Spanish. I love to serve and build trust with families by providing high quality services.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus in 2016 because of our commitment to excellence, integrity and work ethic. Columbus has a great Leadership team who provides knowledge and expertise in the field.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is a great company , provides both professionalism and compassion to serve and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

Outside of Columbus: I love to travel and do humanitarian work overseas. I also love going fishing with my husband and son during the summer.

Education: BS International Relations, National University of El SalvadorContact: denelson@columbusorg.com

Guadalupe Cabrera, Case Manager

Experience: I have more than 4 years of experience working with clients in a social work setting. 

Why I joined Columbus: I am passionate about advocating for clients and helping provide support.  

How I describe Columbus: I describe Columbus to others as an organization that cares about its clients and always goes the extra mile.

Outside of Columbus: I love spending time with my family and cooking. My hobbies include reading, embroidery, and playing the ukulele.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Law in Liberal Arts from IUPUI   Contact: gcabrera@columbusorg.com

Irene Gonzalez, Case Manager

Experience: I have been in the social work field for the past 8 years. My humanitarian mission has always been to support with compassion and understanding. 

Why I joined Columbus: I enjoy working with a diverse population and specializes in the Hispanic community. 

How I describe Columbus: I describe Columbus to others as an organization that cares about the individuals and always goes above and beyond!

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy live music and I am always up for a weekend trip. I enjoy spending time with my 2 cats and watering my many houseplants.

Education: MS Leadership, BSW, University of Indianapolis  Contact: igonzalez@columbusorg.com

Adrienne Jessie, Case Manager

Experience: I have been a Case Manager for 7 years. Prior to that I was a Developmental Therapist through First Steps.

Why I joined Columbus:  I joined Columbus because they are dedicated to providing person centered plans based on the needs of the individuals we work with.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as a great place to work, where one enjoys team collaboration and support to be able to provide the best services possible. 

Outside of Columbus: I have 3 children and enjoy spending time with them. Our family enjoys various activities such as hiking and swimming. I also enjoy reading as much as I possibly can.

Education: BA, Early Childhood-Primary Education,  Ball State University.Contact: ajessie@columbusorg.com

Michelle S. Boller , Case Manager

Experience: I have over 20 years of experience in social services, education and customer service. I use my skill set and education to provide compassionate care to those she serves.  

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I love helping people access resources in my community that helps them live their best life.

How I describe Columbus to others: Columbus is a great organization that fosters a healthy work-life balance and encourages corporate culture.

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy cooking, travelling, fishing and playing tennis with my family. I also enjoy working with stepfamilies through my local church.  

Education: BS Public Affairs, Indiana University in Public Affairs  | MDivI Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan    Contact:mboller@columbusorg.com

Jenna Davis, Case Manager

Experience: I have worked as a Case Manager since graduating college in 2015. I have experience working at Children’s Bureau for the Community Partners program as well as Cicoa with the Aged and Disabled waiver.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I wanted to make a difference for those with disabilities in my local community. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus Organization is a great company to work for, allowing a flexible work schedule, a positive work environment and a rewarding career. 

Outside of Columbus: I love to travel and go hiking in my spare time. I am a huge animal lover and have 3 dogs of my own. 

Education: BS, Indiana State University  Contact: jldavis@columbusorg.com

Penny E. Nephew, Case Manager

Experience: I joined the Columbus Organization in October 2018 after working in the WrapAround Program with Valley Oaks in Montgomery County and Community Partners with the Children’s Bureau in Indianapolis.

Why I joined Columbus: I have always enjoyed serving the community in a variety of ways.  

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is an organization who not only care about their consumer and families, ensuring they get the quality care they need, but also for their employees. The quality of care for their employees is what makes Columbus a thriving organization. They give their employees the resources they need to thrive and in turn, that success is carried over to the consumer and family.

Outside of Columbus: I live in Montgomery County with my husband; we have been together over 24 years; we have five children, three grandchildren, a dog and a cat.

Education: AA Criminal Justice, BS Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Western Illinois UniversityContact: penephew@columbusorg.com

Penny S. Thomerson, Case Manager

Experience:  I have many years of experience providing support, intervention, and prevention to families through my work as a community liaison, case manager, and mental health therapist. I am involved with organizations in my community promoting wellness and access to services.

Why I joined Columbus: I enjoy providing case management for families with developmental issues for Columbus serving Boone and surrounding counties.

How I describe Columbus to Others: At The Columbus Organization, I am able to provide my consumers with resources in and outside of the waiver and am able to assist them with achieving their best life. The Columbus Organization strives to have case managers fully involved with their consumers’ needs.

Outside of Columbus: My hobbies are spending time with my children, being outdoors, vacationing, and working with my golden retrievers.

Education: MSW, Indiana University, LSW  Contact: pcthomerson@columbusorg.com

Erika Birchler, Case Manager

Experience: I started my career as a case manager with SWIRCA & more in 2013. I was there for 4 years before joining The Columbus Organization as an Indiana Medicaid Waiver Case Manager.  

Why I joined Columbus: I joined The Columbus Organization to advocate for those who couldn’t advocate for themselves. I describe Columbus as a company that provides support to individuals that allows them to lead their best, independent lives.

How I describe Columbus to others: I believe that working for The Columbus Organization has been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had!

Outside of Columbus: I have been married for 8 years to my wonderful husband. I am the stepmom of 2 teenagers. I also have 3 rambunctious dogs!

Education: BS Psychology, University of Southern Indiana   Contact:ebirchler@columbusorg.com

Stephanie Duncan, Case Manager

Experience: I have been in Case Management with The Columbus Organization for 3 years. The majority of my career has been spent working with Medicaid Waivers. I also have additional experience working with Individuals with Special Needs in the academic setting. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I had friends who worked for them and their reputation as an Employer was phenomenal. I have since experienced how much they value their Employees. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus cares about who they are employing to do this important work. I always tell people that they can’t go wrong with Columbus. If I am not the choice as a Case Manager I can stand firm that my Co-workers can and will take great care of any Consumer. They hire good people that truly care and work hard for our Consumers.

Outside of Columbus: I believe meditation is the key to emotional balance. I enjoy being in nature, travel, lunch dates with friends, and sports photography.  

Education: BSW, Western Kentucky University  Contact: smduncan@columbusorg.com

Hillary Sue Essig, Case Manager

Experience: I have worked in case management for the last five years. I have previously worked as a Substance Abuse Counselor.  

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus to help individuals live their best life. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as a team of individuals that are compassionate about serving and helping their consumers.

Outside of Columbus: I love spending time with my family and swimming. I volunteer as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana. 

Education: BA Psychology  Contact: hessig@columbusorg.com

Paige Fanok, Case Manager

Experience: In the past, I have worked in a special education room at Newburgh Elementary School. I have been with the Columbus Organization since February of 2020. 

Why I joined Columbus:I joined Columbus to help others. I want to help people with special needs find services that allow them to live the best life possible.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is a great Case Management company that hires wonderful people. I love working with Columbus; I enjoy growing and learning with my co-workers.

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy being with her family, friends, and two cats. I also enjoy staying active and going to the YMCA.

Education:  BA Psychology,  Eastern Illinois University   Contact: pcfanok@columbusorg.com

Larissa Hart, Case Manager

Experience: I have been employed with TCO since August of 2018. I have a combined 7 years of hands-on experience in the field of IDD spectrum. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because it has always been my passion to serve individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. My position allows me to help individuals envision and live their most meaningful life, while creating a meaningful relationship with them. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as a personable case management provider that always has the best interest of the consumers in mind. Columbus strives for continuous growth of quality in all that we do. 

Outside of Columbus: In my free time, I enjoy being with family. My hobbies include hiking, singing, and reading. 

Education:  BA Psychology, Indiana University Purdue University of Columbus   Contact:ljhart@columbusorg.com

Alexandrea “Alex” Higdon, Case Manager

Experience: I have over 10 years of experience working in the social services industry including, mental health/ psychiatric services, addiction services, in-home service coordination, and case management. 

Why I joined Columbus: I am passionate in advocating and supporting individuals to achieve their personal goals and lead meaningful lives.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe The Columbus Organization to others as a case management provider committed to helping individuals with varying abilities lead the lives they love. 

Outside of Columbus: When I am not working, I enjoy gardening, cooking, shopping, drumming, exploring new places, and spending time with my friends, family, and kitties.

Education: BA Sociology & Criminal Justice, University of Southern Indiana  Contact: alhigdon@columbusorg.com

Amy Lee Hoehn, Case Manager

Experience: Before joining Columbus, I had worked as a case manager for River Valley Behavioral Health, where I worked with individuals on the Kentucky state waivers. I also have enjoyed working as a respite caregiver for the last 7 years. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I want to make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Growing up with a sister with a disability, I understand that it can be difficult to find the resources that are available to help. Columbus helped connect my family with these resources and I wanted to do the same for others.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as a company that puts the people they serve first. Columbus connects individuals who have disabilities, with the resources available to assist them to live their best life. We are all capable of great things, it’s my job to find out what each person I serve wants and help connect them with the services that can best help them get there.

Outside of Columbus: My husband and I have been married for 12 years, we have 3 school aged children and live on our family farm in Posey County. Together, we enjoy camping, running, fishing, and we are very involved in our community, church, and children’s sports and activities.

Education: BS Psychology,  The University of Southern IndianaContact: alhoehn@columbusorg.com

Shannon Nicole Jones, Case Manager

Experience: I have been employed with The Columbus Organization since 2019. I have previous Case Management experience, having worked directly for the State of Indiana for approximately 3 years. Between my experience working for the State and coming to TCO, I have worked as a behavioral therapist, specializing in children with Autism.

Why I joined Columbus: I find fulfillment in my current role, through creating a personalized approach and deeper understanding of each of the individual clients/families that I serve.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I tell other people that I work for an agency that is extremely family and people oriented. We help provide guidance and additional support, to families and individuals in the (ID/DD) disabled community.  I work with a group of people that are very caring and devoted to their consumers and look out for ways to assist one another, as a team.

Outside of Columbus: I spend my time with my husband and baby girl. Family is extremely important to me. As such, I work to honor and preserve this element with my client families, too. My husband and I both enjoy being outside and participating in activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, and canoeing.

Education: BA General Studies from IU Southeast  Contact: snjones@columbusorg.com

Mandy Schmitz, Case Manager

Experience: I have twenty plus years’ experience in the Social Work field. I have been in Case Management working with Medicaid Waiver Programs since 2010 and with The Columbus Organization since 2017.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I wanted to return to working with individuals challenged by intellectual or developmental disabilities as well as the families. I chose to work for Columbus because of their reputation of empowering the individuals and families we serve to reach their goals.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I described Columbus as the best Case Management provider in Indiana.  We have an amazing team of Case Managers that work hard to support the individuals and families we serve.   We also have great leadership and always work together as a team to support each other in supporting our individuals and families.  We are more than a team, we are family!

Outside of Columbus: I enjoy watching my daughter play volleyball and Lacrosse. I also love traveling and spending time with friends.

Education: BSW, University of Southern Indiana  Contact: aschmitz@columbusorg.com

Julie Varvel, Case Manager

Experience:  I have been a case manager with The Columbus Organization for over 3 years. I ensure my consumer’s voices are heard above all else. I also believe the team’s job is to work themselves out of a job, by assisting individuals to be so independent, they need minimal support. I have worked in this field, in some form or another, for the past 16 years. I have been a QDDP, customer financial manager, and a supervisor for both group homes and supported living homes and has also been a certified trainer in CPR and First Aid courses. I have experience in working as a DSP and writing behavior plans, as well.

Why I joined Columbus: I enjoy helping others and working with individuals to achieve their goals. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus to others as being on top of communicating to customers and ensuring they understand the waiver and the services.  We always make sure to help families with any questions they have, no matter how big or small.

Outside of Columbus: I am an animal lover whose hobbies include playing video games, reading, and motorcycle rides on the weekends

Education: BA Psychology, Indiana University  Contact: jvarvel@columbusorg.com

Nichole Mendenhall, Case Manager

Experience: I have served the ID/DD population for the last 21 years. I had started off working in group homes and supported living homes as direct care staff and worked my way up to upper management.

Why I joined Columbus: I realized that my passion lied in case management and went on to further my education to be able to help the very same people who inspired me.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is an organization that values each and every individual we serve. They go above and beyond to make sure that the individuals that we serve are always first and that they get the best quality of care. Columbus is a family oriented business and our individuals are the heart of what we do. I could not see myself working for any other organization out there.

Outside of Columbus: I can be found spending my days with my family and friends. I also enjoy reading, shopping, and spending time with the ones I love.

Education: AA Special and Elementary Education, BS PsychologyContact: nmendenhall@columbusorg.com

Nuria “Rhea” Romero-Whitton, Waiver Case Manager

Experience: I have worked with individuals with developmental disabilities for over 10 years. I have 10 years of DD waiver experience.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I had a working relationship with Columbus Case Managers while working for a provider. I was impressed by Columbus’s professionalism. Columbus’s Case Managers dedication for meaningful life for the individuals they served, and that Columbus strived to service the Spanish speaking community.

How I describe Columbus to Others: Columbus is the only Case Management company that makes it a priority to service families that are Spanish speaking as well as other languages. Columbus emphasizes and strives to ensure that the individuals we serve desires for a meaningful life is the company’s Mission Statement.

Outside of Columbus: In my free time I like to camp and go kayaking. I started White Water Kayaking in 2019 and I love spending time with my family.

Education: BA Pre-Law, Calumet College of St. Joseph  Contact: nromero@columbusorg.com

Robin Kegebein, Case Manager

Experience: I have been working in the field of developmental disabilities for thirty years. 

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because it is a well-established national company. 

How I describe Columbus to Others: As a Columbus employee, I am well supported by a team of leaders who are competent, caring, and accessible.  I know I am well informed with the best information in an ever-changing field.

Outside of Columbus: I love being able to make a positive difference in the lives of the families that I serve. I feel that they make a positive difference in my own life as well.  I have three adult children that I am very close with. We like to get together for family night at least once a week.

Education: Bachelor’s degree   Contact: rkegebein@columbusorg.com

Cassandra Straessle, Case Manager

Experience: I joined the Columbus team in July 2018 and work as a Case Manager for FSW and CIH clients. While receiving my education, I served as a liaison and advocate in the educational setting to help individuals with disabilities meet their academic goals. My experience provided me with the opportunity to create meaningful relationships and goal setting strategies to best fit the needs of individuals and their families.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because I wanted to be a part of a team to help individuals meet their vision of a meaningful life.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as an organization that values teamwork and collaborative problem solving.

Outside of Columbus: I  can most often be found at a park with my son, trying new restaurants with my husband or hosting a cookout at my home.

Education: BA Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, Purdue University  Contact: cstraessle@columbusorg.com

Jennifer Baldwin, Case Manager  

Experience: I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities at various levels from direct support to case management.  

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because my passion is providing resources and support that individuals and families need to make their lives better.  

How I describe Columbus to others: Columbus provides case management services that are focused on the individuals and their wants and needs.  Columbus has a nationwide presence but has a small-company feel to it.

Outside of Columbus: I really enjoy crafting, creating cards and spending time with family and friends in my free time. I am a 4-H leader in a club geared especially toward children with disabilities. 

Education:BSW, Eastern Mennonite University  Contact:jbaldwin@columbusorg.com

Gurinder Kaur, Case Manager

Experience: Prior to joining The Columbus Organization two years ago, I worked in management for a provider who specialized in residential and respite services. My favorite part of being a manager was providing staff with training. I have worked in the healthcare industry for over 20 years.

Why I joined Columbus: I joined Columbus because of the support available from my immediate supervisor and colleagues.

How I describe Columbus to Others: I describe Columbus as a person centered company. We look at the needs of every individual. Providing the best customer service is our goal, I always make sure I return all emails and phone calls the same business day

Outside of Columbus: In my free time, I enjoy dancing, taking trips with my family and recently I have been exploring meditating.I also enjoy volunteering when I am able to. I am married with three children and moved to Indiana from NYC about ten years ago.

Education: BS, Health Care Administration/Public Health, Saint John University   Contact: gkaur@columbusorg.com

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