Light It Up! For NDEAM Ambassadors League

Light It Up! For NDEAM is more than an annual, one-night awareness special lighting event that happens during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

It’s a nationwide movement that sparks continuing conversation about:

Light It Up! For NDEAM is owned and led by ODEN. But it happens nationwide through collaboration with and participation by many other people in regional and local community-based organizations in the disability sector.

The third Thursday of every October, many hundreds of locations in hundreds of communities across Canada illuminate purple and blue.


The success of Light It Up! For NDEAM is fuelled by the passion, enthusiasm and excitement of people who get involved in the event. Who start those conversations. And who enthusiastically encourage others to participate in Light It Up! For NDEAM.

The Light It Up! For NDEAM Ambassadors League is a select group of these people who are passionate about being involved in Light It Up! For NDEAM and getting others involved in it.

These Ambassadors are passionate about Light It Up! For NDEAM because of what it represents and the impact getting involved in the annual event — and talking about it year-round — can have on disability inclusion conversation and action.

They are committed to:

Inaugural Light It Up! For NDEAM Ambassadors


Tami Logan (British Columbia)

Lisa Malowany (Saskatchewan)

Ashley Omichinski (Manitoba)


Dan Lachance (Ontario)

Leela Thomas (Ontario)

Dean Askin (National Campaign Co-ordinator)


Lesley Dunn (Nova Scotia)

Courtney Abbott (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Wanda Butler (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Meet the Ambassadors

Tami Logan

Western Canada — British Columbia
Langley, BC

Tami Logan has been supporting individuals who have a developmental disability in the pursuit and attainment of their career goals for the past 35 years. Tami continues breaking down barriers that people who have a disability face in the work force. Her experience includes being an online worker in a Community Inclusion site; a job developer; and a job coach. Currently she is the Supervisor of Employment Services for Inclusion Langley Society.

Tami has sat on many committees over the past 36 years. She is currently part of the Supported Employment Advocacy Network group, Rotary at Work, Focus Disability Network, Langley Dance Connections and the Langley Vocational Committee.

Email Tami about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Lisa Malowany

Western Canada — Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK

Lisa Malowany has worked in the disability service sector for over 30 years and has been with SARC for over 20 years. Lisa believes there is a job out there for everyone, you just need to find the right situation and provide person-centred supports which help lead to successful outcomes. SARC is honoured to lead the Light It Up! For NDEAM campaign in Saskatchewan and look forward to increasing participation every year.

Email Lisa about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Ashley Omichinski

Western Canada — Manitoba
Beausejour, MB

Ashley has worked for the Association for Community Living – Beausejour Branch since 2020 after completing an Advanced Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba, holding various roles within the organization, including Residential House Manager and Direct Support Professional.

She joined Supported Employment Options in June of 2022, and has been filling the role of Employment Counsellor since then. Ashley is passionate about inclusion and diversity, not only within the work force, but in all aspects of community life and engagement. With a passion in mental health and disability services, Ashley continues her education at the University of Manitoba as she pursues a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.

Ashley lives in Beausejour with her husband, two cats, and German Shepard. When she is not at work or school, she can be found working out in the gym, running, or going for walks with her dog. She has a passion for fitness and the outdoors, and will often be at the race track with her husband in Gimili or CPTC in Beausejour.

Email Ashley about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Dan Lachance

Central Canada — Ontario
North Bay, ON

Dan is a Manager with Community Living North Bay. He oversees the Employment First and Community Transition programs. He has worked with Community Living North Bay for 26 years in various roles. Since 2018, Dan leads a team connecting youth and adults who have an intellectual/developmental disability with competitive and meaningful employment opportunities in the North Bay community. For Dan, helping young people find their confidence through employment is one of the single most rewarding experiences he’s had in his long career in Development Services.

Dan is always helping to share the message of inclusion. He is very active in committee work. Dan sits on several committees including the Northern Employment Services Table (NEST); and The Labor Market Groups “Work Force Week” Planning Committee. And most recently, he founded the newly developed NDEAM – North Bay Community Committee.

Dan is a member of the Temagami First Nations, and the Royal Canadian Legion for over 25 years. He served 10 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Reserve Officer.

When he’s not helping youth who have a disability find employment, Dan enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and dog; and participating as much as he can in his love of photography and music — especially playing his drums.

Email Dan about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Leela Thomas

Central Canada — Ontario
Walpole Island First Nation, ON

Leela Thomas lives in Wallaceburg, ON with her husband and two children. She is a proud member of Walpole Island First Nation and is of Ojibway, Pottawatomi, Cherokee, and Tohono O’odham descent. She has an educational background in psychology, philosophy, accounting, and career professional development. Leela has held various management positions on Walpole Island First Nation over the years and worked with Canada Revenue Agency as an Aboriginal Tax Officer. She currently works as the Program Manager for their Employment and Training Program.  For the past five years, she and her team have re-branded the program, built capacity within, and are focusing on developing an inclusive environment for everyone, including those with disabilities. She is passionate about contributing to the success of the community and supporting community members in achieving their career aspirations.

Email Leela about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Lesley Dunn

Atlantic Canada — Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS

A dedicated community builder and agent of change, I am committed to developing connections that enrich our human, social, economic, and cultural fabric. My passion is fueled by the pursuit of transformative change, and I am deeply thankful for the opportunities that have allowed me to make a meaningful difference in my life, community, and places I have and continue to work and volunteer.

I am a collaborator committed to the sharing economy and meaningful engagement, I am devoted to an ongoing journey of listening, learning, and evolving. I strive to create welcoming spaces, and places for those who feel marginalized, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.

I live with a hidden disability. I am determined to push the boundaries of my comfort zone, sharing knowledge and cultivating relationships that inspire fresh ideas and open doors to new possibilities. My biography is not just a story of personal growth but a testament to the collective progress we can achieve when we come together.

Email Lesley about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Courtney Abbott

Atlantic Canada — Newfoundland & Labrador
St. John’s, NL

Courtney joined the Avalon Employment team in 2023 as the Regional Co-ordinator for MentorAbility Newfoundland and Labrador. She is responsible for facilitating mentorship opportunities between job seekers and employers, as well as increasing awareness for disability inclusion in the workplace through community events and activities. Courtney has previous experience working as a job coach and as community connector, where she was responsible for implementing Avalon Employment’s brand-new program for neurodiverse clients. She is passionate about making meaningful connections that benefit both job seekers and the business community. 

Courtney has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and recently graduated with her diploma in Human Resource Management. She is also a big believer in giving back to the community and has been a volunteer with her local hospital since 2013 and Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2018. In her spare time, she can be found exploring Newfoundland with her camera in hand or playing with her cats.

Email Courtney about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

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Wanda Butler

Atlantic Canada — Newfoundland & Labrador
St. John’s, NL

Wanda has been operating in the finance and divorce industry as a divorce financial analyst for over a decade.

Currently, she is the principal of Happily Never After Inc., a consultancy in St. John’s that works with individuals and family-law professionals in both Canada and the United States to help them navigate financial disclosure required in the divorce process.

Her mission is to simplify the separation and divorce process that can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. She developed We Decide Technology, which automates financial disclosure. Wanda wants to eliminate barriers and increase access to justice for separated couples and their families.

She has a deep passion for helping others, and understands the divorce journey because she has been through divorce herself.

Wanda is also passionate about accessibility; it is one of the core values of her business practice. Living in the oldest city in North America, she has first-hand, lived experience with physical and other barriers that have limited her mobility. She knows that infrastructure often isn’t conducive to accessibility.

She is also a passionate disability awareness advocate who believes that Light It Up! for NDEAM plays a critical role in advancing disability inclusion conversation, action and awareness in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Wanda has been involved with Light It Up! For NDEAM since its inception in Ontario, in 2020, when she canvassed 14 local businesses in St. John’s that also participated in the first-ever Ontario wide event.

Email Wanda about Light It Up! For NDEAM:

Dean Askin

National Campaign Co-ordinator
Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, ON

Dean Askin

Dean is the Communications Strategist for the Ontario Disability Employment Network, and the National Campaign Co-ordinator of Light It Up! For NDEAM. He is also the co-host and associate producer of ODEN’s podcast, You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D. Dean has been a communications professional for almost 35 years. His career experience also includes radio current affairs B2B journalism. He is an ENFP personality type, which means building great, strong, long-lasting relationships with others is important to him. He’s passionate about what he does, and about Light It Up! For NDEAM. Dean is constantly humbled by how the event has grown, and the impact it is having across Canada. He lives in Toronto with multiple invisible disabilities, his wife Susan and their dog Tilley. He became a first-time grandparent in May 2024.

Email Dean about Light It Up! For NDEAM: or

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