Every FORWARD board member has been touched by someone with autism, and several board members have children or other close relatives with autism. Our board members also have a host of specific skills relative to the project, including land development and construction, social work, nonprofit administration and housing creation.
Board of Directors (President)
Kathy McNamara Ohman the Founder and Board President of FORWARD. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, (LICSW), in Massachusetts. She has experience working with children & families. She is also the Owner/Operator of Kate’s Seafood & Ice Cream, a classic Cape Cod Clam Shack, celebrating over 30 seasons of business, on Route 6A, in Brewster.
As the mother of two young men with Autism she has served as the Chair of the Dennis-Yarmouth Special Needs Advisory Council, participated as a member of the Autism Commission’s Transition Committee, & as an advocate for the needs of the developmentally disabled in the Cape Cod community.
With her husband John & oldest son, Liam, she continues to guide the path of two uniquely talented young men.
1980 – MSW, Boston College Graduate School Of Social Work
1978 – BA, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
- Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, LICSW
- Member; National Association of Social Workers, ACSW
- Board Member; Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
- Member; Sons of Erin, W. Yarmouth, MA.
- Member; Dennis Conservation Trust
- Past President & Current Board Member; Cape & Islands Democratic Council
- Member; Dennis Democratic Town Committee
- Member; Cape Abilities Positive Behavioral Supports, (PBS), Leadership Team
Board of Directors (Treasurer)
Finance/Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
I’ve been a South Dennis Resident since the early 80s. I’m currently employed by a small liquor chain in South Dennis. I am a member of the Dennis Board of Health. In my recent past I delivered Department of Housing Community Development Block Grants to the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard. Through these grants we rehabbed many homes belonging to low to moderate income homeowners. We also purchased a vacant church and rectory converting them into four affordable one bedroom apartments and a 3 bedroom home. I have become involved with F.O.R.W.A.R.D for many reasons. The most important of which is to see that young adults with developmental disabilities have a safe and comfortable place to live and receive the services that they need.
Board of Directors (Clerk)
Governance Committee (Co-Chair)
Finance/Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
I have been coming to Dennis regularly since the 1970’s and owned a home here since 2002. For many years I worked in the Financial Services industry as the Human Resources Director for a large, global corporation where I partnered with business and support units to deliver Human Resources services. I took an early retirement, making Dennis my home, with the intent of becoming more involved in community services.
My interests are in working with non-profit community-based organizations and on economic development issues, specifically affordable housing. I have also done some consulting work with ESC of New England, a group that provides consulting services to non-profits. My assignments with ESC have included an evaluation of the HR function for Cambridge Family and Children’s Services and working as the HR Manager for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. I am active on housing issues as the Chair of the Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, a member of Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) and have attended training sessions conducted by the Cape Housing Institute and Mass Housing Partners.
I am excited to be part of F.O.W.A.R.D as I get to work closely with an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young adults with developmental disabilities by providing a safe place for them to live, with the proper services they require.
Board of Directors
Building Committee (Co-Chair)
Robert L. Brennan, Jr. is an award-winning real estate developer, with an accomplished background in the law, politics and community development.
Rob is the President of CapeBuilt Development, LLC and the developer of Heritage Sands in Dennis Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (www.HeritageSands.com). Located on 8 acres of Nantucket Sound shoreline, Heritage Sands is Cape Cod’s first oceanfront cottage community in more than 50 years. Heritage Sands has been recognized as “Best Residential Development in the Americas” by the International Property Awards, and received four 2015 PRISM Awards from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston for “Best Land Planning” (Gold), “Best Home Under 2500 s.f.” (Gold), “Best Sales Model Under $650,000” (Gold) and “Best Residential Development” (Silver).
Prior for founding CapeBuilt Development, Rob practiced as a land use attorney for almost 20 years and represented regional and national real estate developers on a variety of resort, residential and commercial properties and a wide range of transactions, permitting, environmental compliance and property operation matters.
Rob was a founding partner of the Boston law firm Brennan, Dain, Le Ray & Wiest (now Dain Torpy)and began his career practicing in the Real Estate Development, Environmental Law, and Litigation practice areas of Goodwin Procter LLP, Edwards & Angell and Palmer & Dodge.
Bar Admissions and Licenses: Rob is admitted to the bars of Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also a licensed MA Real Estate Broker.
Ashley Yehl Flanagan lives in Dennis Port with her husband, Chris Flanagan. Ashley grew up in Austin, Texas, and lived and worked in Washington, DC before moving to Cape Cod. Ashley had been in DC since 2004 where she graduated from American University and started working for the federal government and continues to work to this day. Her job specializes in press logistics and public affairs, and she’s been lucky enough to have had her public service career take her to over 100 countries. Ashley’s interest in FORWARD comes from her strong enthusiasm for social issues affecting our community at local, state, national, and international levels. She aims to help with FORWARD’s social media, press, public outreach, and event organizing.
Board of Directors
Rick Presbrey was the President, CEO and Founder of the Housing Assistance Corporation until his retirement in March of 2017. Under Rick’s leadership the agency grew from one and a half staff members and an annual budget of $32,000.00 to 125 staff members and total annual expenditures nearly $30m.
It is estimated that HAC helped approximately 100,000 unduplicated people through its 37 different programs. HAC was known to be creative and caring and committed to helping anyone and everyone in the region that is facing a housing crisis. Funding, always the key to success of any enterprise, came from a variety of sources including local, county, state and federal governments, donations, sponsorships, fees, services, events, rents and grants from foundations and businesses. Through the years HAC, and Rick on behalf of the agency, received many awards and recognitions for the accomplishments in its especially client centered work often most successfully in partnership with other organizations.
Board of Directors
Events & Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
Sheila Lyons recently stepped down from her elected position as Barnstable County Commissioner, a position she held for eight years. As Commissioner, she represented the County on various intergovernmental and non-profit boards. During her time in office, Sheila was an outspoken advocate for Cape Cod, leading the County’s influence in areas of the environment and wastewater remediation, poverty, opioid addiction and smart economic growth.
A Boston native, Sheila began her career as a geriatric social worker, working in the communities of South Boston and Cambridge. She relocated to Maryland to work as a Director of Social Service and staff development in the long-term healthcare industry. Over the years, Sheila was always politically active and is the former Chair of the Democratic Women of Howard County, Chair of the Wellfleet Democratic Town Committee and Vice President of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council.
Sheila lives in Wellfleet and has one daughter who lives in New York City.
Boards & Government
- Barnstable County Commissioner: 2008 – 2016
- Chair: 2009, 2015 & Vice- Chair: 2012, 2014
- Chief Elected Official, (CEO), Workforce Investment Board: 2011- 2016
- Chair, Barnstable County Ad Hoc Committee on Risk Analysis of Vegetation Management 2010
- Chair, Regional Network To End Homelessness: 2008 – 2016
- Convener & Chair, Regional Task Force on Substance Abuse: January 2014 to 2016
- County Representative, Cape Cod Commission: 2008-2011
- County Representative, Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative: 2008 – 2015
- County Representative, Barnstable County Cooperative Extension: Jan 2011- 2016
- County Representative, Children’s Cove: 2009-2012
- County Representative, National Seashore Advisory Committee: 2009 –present
- County Representative, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod: 2012 – 2015
- Representative to the Assembly of Delegates Wellfleet: 2006-2008
- Delegate Alternate, Human Service Advisory Council: 2006- 2008
- Board Member, Cape Cod American Red Cross: 2010 – 2013
- Board Member, Wellfleet Preservation Hall: 2008-2011
- Board Member, Veterans Outreach Grace Center2009-2013
Rose Marie Strippoli
Events & Community Engagement Committee
Rose Marie is a retired educator and administrator from Tappan, New York. Her BS and MS degrees in art education from The State University of New York/New Paltz enabled her to teach art to students at all grade levels.
Developing and teaching high school curriculum, speaking on Gifted and Talented Education in Art, and exhibiting student work in her community, were all components of her work as an art teacher. Rose Marie’s accomplishments included getting her students to think through art, to enjoy creating art and to develop an awareness of the world of art. Her students also had fun writing and acting in plays focused on various artists. Their outdoor art happenings were enjoyed by 150 or more students at once!
During her career in education, Rose Marie also designed and implemented a progressive program entitled “Humanities in the Elementary School,” for which she was awarded a New York State Grant.
Rose Marie later earned a School Administrator and Supervisor (SAS) Professional Diploma from Bank Street College and became Director of the South Orangetown Central School District Extended Educational Care Program. Her innovative morning and afternoon program for children of working parents was recognized by The New York State Education Department. Rose Marie was also invited to attend the 21st Century Schools Project at the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.
Rose Marie served as a consultant in Humanities to the American Bar Association, with a focusing on Law-related Education through the visual arts and humanities.
- Cape Cod Museum of Art: Art instructor (1998 – 2000), Educational Consultant (2003 – 2009).
- Art Teacher Association of Cape Cod (2004 – 2009).
- Massachusetts Cultural Council: Site evaluator (2008).
- The Educational Foundation for Dennis & Yarmouth, Inc.: Board member.
- Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation: Board member (2013 – 2015).
- Yarmouth Democratic Town Committee: Vice Chair & Treasurer (2007 – present).
- Theta Phi Gamma Alumnae Association: President, 2005 – present.
Following a career in publishing in New York and Massachusetts, David and his family moved to Cape Cod in 2003. Upon arriving on the Cape, he entered the real estate business, eventually holding a Brokers License and representing tenants and landlords for both residential rental properties and commercial leasing, and was active in Rotary and Chamber of Commerce committees in both Dennis and Yarmouth. As his engagement with the community grew he joined the boards of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Eventide Theatre Company, the Town of Dennis Arts & Cultural Committee, and the Dennis Village Improvement Society. In 2014 David was asked to be the Executive Director of the Cape & Islands Theater Coalition, which started his transition out of real estate and into nonprofit administration. Along the way he also served as the interim Executive Director of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and as a freelance grant writer. Today, in addition to his work with FORWARD, he is President of the Eventide Theatre Company board, Treasurer of the Dennis Arts and Cultural Council, and continues to serve on the Dennis Village Improvement Society board. David is deeply committed to FORWARD and its work. He lives just a mile from the site where FORWARD at the Rock will be built, and a few hundred yards from the FORWARD office in the heart of Dennis Village.