​​​​Meet our Staff

Marisa Cantu'

Community Education Advocate

Marisa was first hired at the center in 2002. She is our Community Education Advocate and is a member of the Community Education Team. Marisa provides Disability Awareness Trainings to businesses, agencies, and individuals who are interested in learning more about how to work with People with Disabilities. She works closely with a Network of Community Organizations including the chambers of commerce where she offers presentations about services offered here at the center. She also provides marketing and publicity expertise through outreach that promote our annual events and activities. Marisa has held a number of positions over the years including Independent Living Advocate. She is fluent in Spanish and available to interpret for Spanish speaking consumers. She is currently attending Western IL University where she will Graduate with a Bachelors in General Studies with an emphasis in Communications and Marketing. 

Jennifer has been employed at the center for over 18 years, and has provided interpreting services for over 25 years. She is a member of the Administration/Support Team. Jennifer is responsible for scheduling interpreters for various job assignments in the community. She has a variety of interpreting experiences including but not limited to: medical, mental health, legal interpreting, post-secondary education (from people attending a community college to someone attaining a PHD). Jennifer is also a member of the Resource and Development Team and is responsible for developing the quarterly newsletter “News and Views.” She is also responsible for overseeing our news releases; organizing promotional materials, annual reports, and other informational resources about the agency programs and services. Jennifer received her RID Certificate of Transliteration in 2001 and her RID Certificate of Interpretation in 2004. She holds both a Master Illinois Interpreting license and a Permanent Iowa Interpreting license. Jennifer has a 4.7/5 on the EIPA (Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment), and a Level 5 Transliterating/Level 3 Interpreting on the ISAS (Interpreter Skills Assessment Screening). 

Doreen Jackson was assigned to the IICIL through the assistance of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging. This program places seniors with community-based organizations and government agencies across the country. While in there positions, employees are paid 20 hours per week. In her position at IICIL, Doreen is responsible for clerical duties including, answering phones, maintaining office files, copying, managing incoming mail, assists with the construction of flyers, consumer handbooks, and other duties.

Tammy Duett has been with IICIL for over 18 years. She is a Community Education Advocate and a member of the Administration/Support Team. Tammy is responsible for assisting our advocates with needed transportation on their day-to-day schedules. As a member of the Administration Team, she provides support to our Staff Assistant by handling incoming calls, information and referrals, interpreter requests, ITAC phone interviews along with appointments and duties throughout the center as needed.

David Stewart

Community Reintegration Specialist

Kathy started with the center when it opened in 1988 and has been here for over 28 years. She is an Independent Living Advocate and a member of our Direct Service Team. As an advocate, she provides a number of services which includes Peer Counseling, Information and Referral, Advocacy, and Independent Living Skills Training. Kathy is very knowledgeable about information on housing and benefit programs, both locally, statewide, and nationally. She assists people with identifying transportation resources and educates them on how to access and utilize local public transportation services. Kathy also works together with Hershel to offer options counseling to consumers when needed. Our options counseling program helps to provide consumers with assistance in making decisions on their Long-term care. She is an active member in a number of local organizations and participates in numerous community events and social service activities that support the center. Kathy’s educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Social Work, and a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice. She recently received her AIRS CIRS-A/D Certification as well. 

Shirley Holgorsen has been with IICIL for twelve years. She is the Staff Assistant here at the center and is responsible for providing a number of clerical duties necessary on a day to day basis. Shirley is a member of the Administration/Support Team and provides our staff with needed assistance. She offers hands-on support to walk-in consumers in our ITAC selection center, which is located in the Technology Library. Shirley assists in various financial related activities and manages our CIL Manager database that generates consumer related programs and activities conducted by staff. Shirley’s past experience includes 27 years in the Payroll Department at Beling Consultants. 

Liz has been employed by the center for over 27 years and became the Executive Director in 1998. She is a member of the Administration/Support Team and the Resource and Development Team. Under her leadership, the agency transitioned itself to a Team Management style of operations. As a member of a team she works along with other members to guide the direction of the agency.  She oversees other team members under the guidance of the board of directors and manages annual assets of 1.4 million dollars. Liz conducts community training on the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and other legislation that protects the rights of people with disabilities (PWD). She has been a national trainer and facilitator for both the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the Association of Programs on Independent Living (APRIL). She developed a plan to improve services for unserved and under-served populations that addressed urban and rural communities with significant African-American and Hispanic population. The center was awarded recognition for these services by ILRU for Outstanding Rural Outreach Services in 1992. Liz is also a member and past president of the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois as well as past president of APRIL. She is the current President of the Iowa Association of Independent Living, a member of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living Board, and governor appointee to the Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), the Illinois Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), as well as the IDOT Coordinating Committee on Transportation for Illinois. Locally, she is a commissioner on the Bi-State Regional Commission, Rock Island Liquor Commission, Martin Luther King Community ACTIVE Club, Housing Council Board, a member of the Rock Island County Chapter of the NAACP and Treasurer for the 11th Street Business District.

Christy Hultgren has been a volunteer at the IICIL since 2016. She volunteers for 6 hours each week, and assists in the office with needed clerical duties including, answering phones, maintaining office files, copying, assists with consumer handbooks, and other duties as assigned. Christy was recently asked to become a member of  the Illinois Statewide Independent Living Council, which consists of representatives throughout the State of Illinois.

David is a new team member at IICIL. He is our Community Reintegration Specialists, and a member of the Direct Service Team.  David is responsible for providing assistance to individuals with disabilities who are interested in transitioning from nursing homes to independent living.

Tammy Duett

Staff Assistant

Doreen Jackson

Christy Hultgren

Hershel has been with IICIL for over 13 years. He is the Independent Living Advocate for Deaf Services and a member of the Direct Service Team. He is responsible for providing a number of services specifically to our Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers such as Peer Counseling, Advocacy, Information and Referral, and Independent Living Skills Training. He works with Kathy Starling to provide Options Counseling, which is a program that assists consumers in planning their future Long-term care needs. Hershel participates in local TAB’s (Transition Advisory Boards) that address the needs of students with disabilities by providing parent/teacher workshops and other training. He advocates for students with disabilities, teaches them to be more independent and to advocate for their individual rights through the IEP process. Hershel is fluent in both English and American Sign Language (ASL), and teaches basic ASL to community groups and individuals who have a hearing loss and want to learn the language. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Illinois Telecommunication Access Corporation (ITAC). His educational background includes an Associate's degree in Elementary Education, and a Bachelor's degree in Deaf Rehabilitation Counseling.

Liz Sherwin

Execuive Director

Jennifer Gerischer

Sign Language Interpreter Coordinator

Shirley Holgorsen

Staff Assistant

Kathy Starling

Independent Living Advocate

Hershel Jackson

Independent Living Advocate for Deaf Services