I am Cheryl Ryan Chan. I am a public speaker, trainer, community organizer, person-centered practitioner, facilitator, change agent, positive agitator, and rum drinker. I am Mom to Nicky. My gift is bringing people together and empowering. I’m passionate, loud and have messages that inspire!
I moved to Massachusetts with my husband, son and daughter in 1999. Immediately immersing myself into the autism and disability community for the purpose of building a network of support for our family, it didn’t take long before my extroverted nature, passion for human and civil rights for all, natural capacity for leadership and my love of all things “community” opened many doors of opportunity for me.
One of those opportunities led me to a training in person-centered planning and philosophy in Toronto, Canada. That was it for me; I had found my heart project, my highest calling and my passion!
I spent the last many years learning and practicing the arts and philosophy of being person-centered, and created my own person-centered planning business; the first independent practice of its kind in New England. My work took me well beyond the northeast to New York, Wisconsin, Maryland and California. I closed my individual planning practice at the end of 2021. My practice and my personal journey with my son, Nicky, brought me to a heightened awareness of the system-centered nature of life for people who rely on supports to maintain the quality and dignity of life they have the right to enjoy. These have motivated me to become a voice for change. They are the seed that was planted and has grown into the menu of services I now provide to organizations, groups and families.
My voice reached one of its peaks over the last 8 years in particular as I became the voice for Nicky’s Law, a bill drafted in collaboration with my legislators and key stakeholders in Massachusetts that established an abuser registry to identify and stop abusive caregivers from being rehired after their crimes. Nicky was brutally beaten in 2012; the bill was signed into law in 2020.
Now I serve on the Advisory Council to The Natalie Project in California, I am the Board Chair at Nicky’s day program The Center of Hope Foundation, I serve on the Advisory Committee for the Massachusetts Disabled Person’s Protection Commission am the past Vice-President of Autism Housing Pathways. It is an honor to serve in any capacity those who share my values and passion to build better lives.