People Who Influence My Life David Zwyer

There have been many people who have helped me on my path to advocacy; including my family, school members, friends, and a very important mentor in advocacy, David Zwyer!

I first met David in my early thirties when I became involved with the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. David was a tall man and very well-spoken.   I would always bump into David when I was attending conferences and meetings on advocacy.  He’s a walking index of information and his presence was requested everywhere.

When I was selected to be on the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council back in 2004, David held the position of Executive Director for the council. Although I was brand new to the council, I could tell by the way David expressed himself that he was all about helping people with disabilities achieve their independence.

After a few years on the council, David presented me with the opportunity to sit in on a few National Developmental Disabilities Council Board of Directors meetings. His term was coming to an end so he wanted to mentor me on the functioning of the organization; in hopes that I would be able to fill his seat on the board.

When I attended my first board meeting in Washington, DC, I was overwhelmed. Not only was I the only person on the board with a visible physical disability but I was the only one of color. The information was extremely in-depth; I had a heck of time keeping up with all the acronyms board members kept throwing around. David could tell that I was feeling frustrated, but assured me that if I kept attending meetings and did my homework, I would catch on.

Turned out David was right. Not only was I elected as a member to the national council, but I ended up becoming vice chair as well. Being on the national board is just what I needed to strengthen my voice!

I met many amazing people through David. I also learned the ropes through his mentorship.  David helped me to become more confident in myself and in my capabilities.

I later found out David was a lawyer by trade which explained why he is so well-spoken. Along with his many professional skills, he also assisted families on setting up special trusts for their love ones with disabilities.

I now sit and have sat on many boards, councils and commissions that serve people with disabilities. David challenged me to become a leader and I’m so glad he did. He helped me enhance my passion of advocacy and I’m actually good at it.

I would like to thank David for being a great influence in my life and for believing in my capabilities. I am soaring in my advocacy efforts because of him! Thanks for throwing me to the wind so I can fly David. I salute you.


4 comments on “People Who Influence My Life David Zwyer

  1. Mike Koesters on

    Shari: We are so lucky to have people like David in our lives. As I read all that David has done for you it made me stop and think of all the people I’ve learned from over my 50 plus years in the workforce. Thanks for bringing back to me so many fond memories.

  2. Jerome Haney on

    Shari I always recall a line in this one movie with Ryan O’Neal, the lady said,; “I always depend on the kindness of a stranger.” Whereas this was a line in the movie, I have always shared it, humorously as well as with humility. While growing up we were taught, “You never know who you will need to bring you a glass of water, be careful how you treat others.” Thanks for sharing the impact David made in your life. One song has lyrics that say, “It only takes a spark to start a fire.”

    Thanks for sharing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *