Meet the Team
Our staff is dedicated to creating an environment that allows the individuals we serve to thrive, succeed, and live their lives as independently as possible. Our direct service team consists of compassionate employees with extensive experience working with the developmentally disabled. We are always ready to help and assist those in need!
Meet Jim Westlake
Jim has been the Chief Operating Officer of Living in Family Environments since August 2017. He originally joined the company as its Chief Financial Officer in November 2016 before being promoted to his current position. He holds a degree in Finance from The Ohio State University and started his career in the retail field working for Big Bear Stores Company. Upon leaving Big Bear as its Director of Accounting Operations in 1997, Jim embarked on a new career path focusing on non-for-profits and healthcare. Since 1997 Jim has worked for various mental health agencies and skilled nursing facilities primarily as a financial executive.
It was the 13 years he spent at nursing facilities that fueled his passion for working with the Developmentally Disabled. Jim has been deaf since childhood and has long been an advocate for the Deaf, hearing impaired and all individuals who live their lives with disabilities. While Chief Financial Officer at a skilled nursing facility that serves the Deaf and hearing impaired, he developed polices and programs that championed independent living rights for the Deaf residents, and equal employment opportunities for the Deaf staff.
“Coming to Living in Family Environments with the opportunity to use my position to advocate and promote independent living options for the Developmentally Disabled has been extremely gratifying. It is my goal to continue our mission of providing services to people with disabilities that enables them to live their lives independently, and as fully as possible. Of equal importance, I strive to create a positive working environment and culture for all our caring employees. Energetic and motivated employees are key to our consumer’s success.”
Meet Shannon Kinsella
Shannon Kinsella has been the Program Director for Living In Family Environments since September 2017. Shannon currently oversees the programmatic and staffing needs of the agency to ensure that families and the individuals they assist receive ongoing quality care and supports. He was originally brought onto the team in the role of Program Manager in January 2017.
The desire to help empower those with developmental disabilities extends back more than twenty years, where Shannon began his career as a Habilitation Specialist within an Intermediate Care Facility. He has held various positions during his time in this field, which include tenures as an Activity Director and Site Supervisor. Shannon has experience working within day programs as well as supported living and family settings throughout Ohio which have shaped his outlook on the desire to provide exceptional services.
“Living In Family Environments is exactly that to me… we are a family. This extends from the individuals that we assist, to their own families which surround them, to the staff who take an active role in their lives. It is our goal to provide the best supports we can for those who may have barriers in their lives overcome them. To our staff, it is my intention to create a welcoming and positive atmosphere that people excel in their roles and have the ability to grow in their respective field. All these things work symbiotically to create what I hope is an agency that succeeds on numerous levels.”
Meet Jean Turner
Jean Turner has been the Office Manager for Living in Family Environments since July 2016. Jean is responsible for the agency’s billing, payroll, the maintaining and general upkeep of records as well as being the customer service liaison during office hours. It is her mission to ensure that the ‘back end’ component of the agency is compliant while still paying close attention to the more immediate needs of our individuals, families, and staff. Jean brings with her a wealth of experience in office management which includes a long-standing position with a realty company in the Columbus area.
In August of 2009 Jean joined the Living In Family Environments team within the Gahanna School District where she was part of their children’s program. She then segued into assisting individuals within their own homes as a Direct Support Professional before taking on her current role. In fact, Jean continues to be present in many individual’s homes providing guidance and supports while still performing her duties as Office Manager as that continues to be her passion.
“Living In Family Environments is such a close knit organization. In my time here I’ve had the amazing opportunity to see people I’ve known over the years grow and develop as individuals and met many wonderful families. We’ve had so many success stories that I’m happy to have played a part in and see people achieve their dreams, be it from being able to living on their own, to going to places they may never have been, or to finding the job they’ve always wanted.
I take my job here and its responsibilities very seriously. We are here to help others, and it’s my goal to set that tone for everyone. A friendly smile and a listening ear go a long way. I also want to ensure that when people come to the office it’s a positive experience. I love what I do and simply want to pass that along to others.”
Meet Karen Ackerman
Karen has been with Living In Family Environments since 2006. She provided IP nursing care for the owner’s children since 2000 and was asked if she would like to broaden her talents by teaching as well. Knowing the joy of working with her own clients, Karen was happy to enter into a greater family circle where she could help others provide quality care. She completed the Train the Trainer certification and has taken on the role as lead trainer for Medication Administration classes as well as delegation of nursing oversight for staff. Karen also directly supervises Living In Family Environments’ nursing team.
Karen holds a Bachelor’s of Science in education from OSU and she has held her nursing degree and R.N. license since 1982. Her previous working experiences include Grant Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and Riverside Hospital. Karen spent several years with the Ohio Department of Health doing required yearly hospital licensure visits. Karen has been a foster parent for a teenager and later for a medically fragile baby and understands from personal experience some of the challenges families face. Over the years she has been involved in several committees for rules and regulation changes and been a strong advocate for children and adults with developmental disabilities to live and flourish at home and in the community.
As of 2016, Karen no longer is directly involved with IP nursing but loves to meet families with Living in Family Environments regarding their medical needs. She prepares and assists with assessments, information and ongoing issues while working alongside the agency’s other nurses to address them in a timely manner. She feels it is incredibly important to give individuals and their families peace of mind that their loved ones will be supported.
"I am grateful for the services that LIFE offers. They are truly committed to doing the best job they can."
"My daughter receives great care and guidance from L.I.F.E. They assist her in living her best independent life. I trust them to do what’s best for her."