As part of DRNC’s unwavering commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, we are excited to announce that we have made some structural changes in our organization, including a restructuring of our leadership team. Our new configuration will add important capacities, integrate our teams and strategies, play to the strengths of our amazing staff, improve client services and make DRNC a more equitable organization.

Emma Kinyanjui, who has been leading the Community Inclusion Team for the past 4 years, was promoted to Legal Director.

Lisa Grafstein, who served DRNC with distinction as Legal Director for the past six years, is taking on a new role as Litigation Counsel. She will now have the opportunity to focus exclusively on developing and pursuing strategic legal cases, individual and systemic, in state and federal court. Grafstein will also assist DRNC attorneys in sharpening their litigation skills.

Iris Peoples Green, who has been leading the agency’s disaster recovery and preparedness efforts as the supervising attorney of DRNC’s Disaster Recovery Project is now DRNC’s Director of Constituent Services. This new position focuses on improving DRNC’s client services and increasing services to underserved populations and hard-to-reach communities. As part of her work to expand DRNC’s community engagement efforts, Green will oversee both the Disaster Recovery and Information and Referral Teams.

Cas Shearin joined the Communications and Development Team as Media Strategist / Senior Writer to increase DRNC’s capacity in journalism and media work. In this role, she will write and elevate stories to enhance public understanding and support for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities, and promote DRNC’s work in creative, innovative ways. Shearin, who has served as Director of Investigations and Monitoring since 2009, will continue to supervise the Representative Payee program into 2021.

Diversifying our organizational leadership is one of the many comprehensive, ongoing changes begun and planned at DRNC. These changes will equip our team and organization to promote racial justice in our internal operations and external advocacy, as we continue fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. We are bolstering our efforts to reach across cultures, grow authentic relationships, and pursue deeper engagement with our clients statewide, particularly those who are most disadvantaged and marginalized. Our success in this work will help all of North Carolina thrive.

Virginia Knowlton Marcus
Chief Executive Officer