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Karen L. Le’Que Founder and Executive Director of Kee to Independent Growth, Inc. Karen has an extensive background in service coordination and ongoing experience working with individuals with disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and geriatric clientele.  In addition, Karen has widespread knowledge in recovery, alcohol/substance abuse programs and working with those struggling with mental illness. 


She became a service coordinator in 1997 and received her CORE training Certificate, required MSC (Medicaid Service Coordinator) as well as New York State Department of Health trainings.  Karen was employed at a contracted OPWDD (Office for People with Disabilities) agency for several years, was manager/client advocate of a mental health business office, alcohol and substance abuse office manager, was a nurse at a large assisted living facility, and supervised at a local licensed home care agency, before building KIGI.



   Karen is an LPN, has a Bachelor's Degree in Human and Community Services, and has earned CASAC-T (Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training).  Karen is dedicated and passionate about the Veterans program.  She has had close ties with the military for the majority of her life. Karen's husband served in Iraq as a Combat Infantryman in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Two of Karen's brothers were also active in the military.  Sadly, one of them died a homeless Veteran. This has greatly affected Karen's life; it has given her the inspiration and motivation to help other homeless Veterans who have courageously fought for our country.


Founder, President, E.D


   Martha Devaney brings experience that blends human services with business administration. She has worked in assorted industries in both the private and public sectors, where she focused on strategic planning and business development.  Martha applies a compassionate, yet analytical approach, to deliver solutions leading to improved circumstances. Martha is particularly interested in all aspects of health care and public policy.  Her hobbies include everything outdoors and, especially, hiking, biking, swimming and gardening.

Director of Finance

Director of
Agency Operations

   Amy Leininger is the Director of Agency Operations. Amy graduated from Empire State University with a Bachelor’s in Community and Human Services. Amy has years of experience working with people with disabilities and caring for people in a variety of capacities. Amy has worked/cared for diverse populations including those with developmental disabilities, IDD, ADHD, Spina bifida, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Behavioral Health, and more. Amy has professional as well as personal experience caring for those with complex special needs. She has enjoyed working with children and adults with disabilities through the OPWDD waiver programs (day program, day program county supervisor, residential services, residential management, clinical assistant and service coordination). She has also worked with other populations such as those with dementia and geriatrics. Amy has extensive management experience and training since 2008. 

   Amy enjoys helping people improve their quality of life by giving people respect and dignity while providing positive quality services to those who are in need. Amy grew up with a sibling who had special needs that included physical as well as intellectual disabilities. Amy’s sister has inspired her to care for others and improve the quality of services being provided with the same expectations that she expected for her sister and more.


    Beatriz Aviles-Giannone Director of Case Management Services, brings over 25 years of experience in human services and client advocacy. She brings decades of experience of work dedicated to making lives better for children, adults, and families in our communities.  Beatriz has a Bachelor's Degree in Theology. Bea has worked with children with serious emotional disturbance for over three years at Northeast Parent and Child Society where she was promoted to Clinical Supervisor.  Bea worked for Catholic Charities for over 12 years.  While at Catholic Charities she worked endless hours with the Prevention Program through Albany County Department of Social Services, Bea translated at Albany, Troy, Schenectady Family Court, provided anger management, and parenting classes to families at risk of losing their children.  Bea worked as a Youth Director for Hispanic Outreach Services.

Director of Case Mgt Svcs

    There she addressed all of the needs of the Hispanic youth and their respected families. She obtained housing, furniture, summer programs, after school programs, and built a tutoring program with the support of volunteer student from Siena College. Bea is also a therapeutic foster parent. She fostered many children through Saint Catherine's Center for Children.  Bea's reputation as a tireless advocate sets the high bar in serving clients, while setting her apart in the field of human services.  She is a true leader who is respected by her peers and co-workers and, most importantly, the people she serves. Bea models professionalism perfectly blended with compassion and fortitude.  It is a distinct honor to have Beatriz as a Director at Kee to Independent Growth, Inc. On Beatriz's free time she loves to make memories with her family.

          " I would do for my clients as I would do for my mom, dad, brother's, sister's and children."  Bea


Director of Southern Region Clinical Services

  Nicole Miceli is the Clinical Director with a decade of experience holding a Masters in Anthropology and a PhD in Mental Counseling and Supervision. Nicole specializes in the knowledge of and ability to apply counseling and diagnostic theories and techniques to a full range of diverse client populations as well as co-occurring disorders. Nicole is passionate for the mission and philosophy of Kee to Independent Growth along with the knowledge of company history, culture, identity, and goals. Nicole enjoys a good Netflix binge, traveling, and a good bonfire.

Director of Day Programs

Kelly is a graduate of Skidmore College, with a BS in Fine Arts. She has worked in education, human resources, management and human services. She has taught art classes and provided residential counseling with local agencies. Kelly was the Manager of Structured Day program for five years. Kelly is passionate about helping others. She developed an art program for Structured Day that has helped expand New Journeys offerings and given the clients a resource for self-expression, creativity and communication. Kelly has worked with both children and adults with a variety of disabilities, she treats everyone with respect and kindness. Kelly and her knowledgeable staff have created a Structured Day program that promotes inclusion, community, respect and creativity.  


William Decker is the Director of Psychosocial Rehabilitation for CORE and HARP services. William is a Veteran of the Armed Forces, serving four years of active duty in the United States Army from 1986 to 1990 and reserves from 1990 to 1992. Bill is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose with a Master of Science degree in Education (M.S. Ed.) and a graduate of The State University of Albany with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Bill had worked in a school environment for over 21 years, 16 years in a public-school setting, teaching special education. In addition to public school, he has spent several years working in a vocational capacity in a private school setting, focusing on the success and graduation of individuals with Autism and developmental delays.

In Bill’s professional experience he has had the privilege of working with both youth and adults with physical and mental impairments, assisting them to become reacquainted with the community and its workforce. Bill has developed skills in differentiated instruction, assistive technology, and knowledge of the workforce. Bill has enjoyed helping people improve their quality of life and loves when someone he has assisted says that they appreciate him for what he does and are blessed to have him in their lives. In Bill’s spare time he enjoys umpiring high school and college baseball. “I’ve truly appreciated and learned from every person I have helped, assisted, taught and worked with."

Director of PSR


Director of Northern Region Clinical Services

Brandon Barton is the Northern Regional Clinical Director and has a background focusing on mental health counseling and psychology. Brandon received his master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and is licensed by NYS. Brandon has vast experience with crisis unit in-patient behavioral health and has worked at several crisis stabilization units for both adults and children throughout the Northeastern States.

Brandon is fascinated by phenomena that affect humans and how individuals process and experience those phenomena. Brandon has participated in several research studies; including experiences of minority women immigrants in Canada, the impact of life defeat and victory on mood and attachment patterns and adult experiences of gender-based violence.Brandon is fervent about the advancement of behavioral health and believes that all individuals deserve quality care, most especially vulnerable populations who lack basic access to these services and implementing ways of addressing the disparities. In his downtime, Brandon enjoys hiking with his rescue dog and spending time with his large family and friends.


Karen Le'Que – Executive Director

Martha Devaney – Director of Finance 

Amy Leininger- Director of Agency Operations

Beatriz Aviles-Giannone- Director of Case Management Services

Nicole Miceli- Director of Southern Region Clinical Services

Kelly Hanafin- Director of Day Programs

William Decker- Director of Psychosocial Rehabilitation

Brandon Barton- Director of Northern Region Clinical Services

Kristina Whitt – Assistant Director of Finance

Donna Nelson – Office Manager/HR Assistant

Alicia Donahue - Manager of HR 

Judith McKinnon- Community Outreach Coordinator

Alicia Donahue_edited_edited.jpg

Kristina Whitt

Donna Nelson

Alicia Donahue

Judith McKinnon
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