A portrait image of Catalina who is wearing red glasses and smiling.

Leadership Transition Announcement at Disability Rights Fund

Maria Ní Fhlatharta and Alberto Vásquez, Board Co-Chairs, Disability Rights Fund

A portrait image of Catalina who is wearing red glasses and smiling.
We thank Catalina for her valuable contributions and wish her success in her new journey.

We write to you with a mix of emotions as we announce the departure of Disability Rights Fund’s (DRF) visionary Executive Director, Catalina Devandas. After a dedicated and transformative leadership, Catalina is stepping down from her role to pursue an exciting new opportunity. DRF’s Board has unanimously appointed Lorraine Wapling, DRF’s outgoing Board Co-Chair, as the Interim Executive Director, and we have a strong transition team in place to oversee the process of hiring a new leader. Lorraine has been involved with DRF since its inception in 2008 and knows many of the staff members well. In her role as the Co-Chair, she has supported Catalina and the senior leadership team over the past few years and is looking forward to continuing this stewardship as the interim executive director. 

Under Catalina’s leadership, DRF achieved significant milestones: She led our team to develop a bold new 5-year strategic plan, significantly increased the organization’s revenues, and has strengthened our internal systems and structures that have laid a solid foundation for sustainable growth. Moreover, Catalina has built a strong senior leadership team who will work with the expertise of our global staff to implement our strategic vision. Thank you, Catalina, for your valuable contributions to DRF.

We will certainly miss Catalina, and we are also excited about DRF’s future. Our talented team is committed to cross-collaboration, participation, and an intersectional approach to open spaces for advocacy and collective learning. We are confident that we are in a better place than ever before. We will continue to support organizations of persons with disabilities in the Global South to unleash their power and build inclusive communities. 

Please join us in wishing Catalina much success in her new journey and warmly welcoming Lorraine to our team. We thank you all for your continued support and trust in DRF. Together, we are building a future where disability rights movements are creating their own transformative agendas for justice and wellbeing.