Welcome to our Staff page where you will find some of the individuals that make Cortney’s Place a success!
Chief Executive Officer
Donnette Hermes has extensive leadership experience in the nonprofit industry. Her background includes 20+ years of service between the YMCA and the Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout her career she worked at YMCA’s in North Dakota, Connecticut & the Valley of the Sun YMCA in Arizona which has 17 operating units. Donnette served in the capacity of Executive Director at 4 YMCA branches in Arizona and finished her YMCA career as the Senior Vice President of Operations for Valley of the Sun YMCA with responsibility for 9 branches and $19M of the $38M operational budget.
Donnette was President and CEO for the Chandler Chamber of Commerce for 18 months prior to taking a two (2) year cultural sabbatical in Europe where she and her husband, lived in the Czech Republic. During her two years abroad she traveled to 15 countries, studied the Czech language and culture and started an international women’s expatriate group.
Donnette is a graduate of Jamestown College with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts & Business Administration. She and her husband live in Phoenix and enjoy hiking, dancing, reading, fine arts & movies.
Chasidy Gray joined the Cortney’s Place team with 20 years of non-profit industry experience. In the most recent years, Chasidy held the position as Executive Director of Early Childhood Education and Out-of-School-Time Programs for the Valley of the Sun YMCA, Corporate Office.
Over her career she has succeeded with strong administration and continually successful program development achievements. Chasidy worked as the direct contact to the Arizona Department of Health Services; OCCL and Department of Economic Security; CCA. Year-round National and State Legislative involvement incorporated with her YMCA Public Policy work lead to be successful when she was invited to participate in the Rules/Regulations Review Committee. She was honored to work with the highest level of individuals to revisit and rewrite the State Licensing Regulations for the first time in two decades.
Some of Chasidy’s recent volunteer offices include: Arizona Character Education Foundation; Board of Directors, Glendale/Peoria Family YMCA; Board of Managers, Arizona Center for Excellence in After School; Board of Directors, Arizona Department of Economic Security; Advisory Council Member, Arizona Child Care Association; Member and National Farm Workers Service Center; SSP Advisory Council Member.
Chasidy grew up in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, staying close with family and friends still in the islands. Chasidy’s pride and joy is her son, Chase who is a senior at Sunrise Mountain High School. Chase is in the Fire Science Program and plans to become a Firefighter upon graduation. The Grays are members of Christ’s Church of the Valley.
Sarah is a 2006 graduate of Arizona School of Massage Therapy. After a few years as a Massage Therapist, she decided she wanted to work in a larger range of therapy. She began volunteering at a safe house for women of domestic violence. Advocating on behalf of victims was rewarding and Sarah continues helping to make a difference.
She is certified in Respite and Attendant Care, American Sign Language, (ASL) and volunteers as a Special Olympics coach. Sarah comes from a large family, always doting on her niece, Brennan and nephew Jackson. She recently adopted 2 kittens from the Humane Society, Bentley and Boots.
Starr graduated from Tomlinson School of Fine Arts in 1986. She began her career in the Graphic Design field and dedicated 25 years to the profession. In 2005 she completed schooling for Real Estate, earning her Arizona Real Estate license.
Within the most recent years, Starr discovered her passion for caring for others. Her father-in-law suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She began caring for him and another family member. Returning to the workforce, she entered the non-profit world working with preschooler children and seniors.
Starr is an artist, wife and mother. She has volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House and believes in giving back to the community. Starr and her husband Jay have been married 20 years. Her youngest son, Jimmy is exploring the idea of a military career. Her oldest son, Jonathon is an AZ State Representative after serving 5 years as a Marine.
Direct Support Provider
Aurelia is a Native American, full Navajo born and raised in Tuba City, Arizona. After graduating from Tuba City High School, she attended Dine College studying liberal arts. Aurelia worked with PARC in Peoria, Illinois. Working with individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities lead to a passion to help others. After six amazing years with PARC, Aurelia returned home to Arizona.
In 2012 Aurelia began working with Dine Association managing a group home for disabled adults. She also volunteered with developmentally disabled juniors and seniors at Tuba City High School.
Aureila is the proud mother to her one year old son Luca. She is engaged to be married in 2014. The Tahy family is very traditional and values Navajo cultural beliefs. Aurelia enjoys making a difference in the lives of others and it is her belief that it is in the giving that we receive our rewards.
Direct Support Provider
Heidi joins the Cortney’s Place team with seven years’ experience working with adults with disabilities. She has served as a board member with Live the Dream, an adult day program in Virginia.
Heidi and her family moved from Norfolk, VA to Arizona in 2014. She has been married for eight years and has a five year old daughter. The Coit family moved to Arizona to expand their adventures of exploring the outdoors. Heidi is also a certified Nail Technician. She enjoys enriching the lives of others.
Direct Support Provider
Heather is married with two children. While her husband was in the Army their family spent the past four years living in Germany and traveling throughout Europe. Heather currently volunteers at her son’s school and with The Wounded Warrior Project.
While living in Killeen, Texas, Heather created a program for students with special needs at Extreme Cheer and Tumble. She coached both cheer and gymnastics teams with successful completions’ completed for both.
Heather came to Cortney’s Place so she can continue her work with special needs individuals, giving more of her time to making a difference in the lives of others. During her personal time, Heather volunteers as a professional face painter and has been certified as a Zumba instructor. She enjoys new adventures and outdoor activities.
Direct Support Provider
Justin was born and raised in Northern California; he is the youngest of seven children. After graduating High School he chose a path which would lead him to helping others and began a volunteer position as a Social Instructor at Lighthouse Living Services in Sacramento. With hard work and dedication, Justin was promoted as a full-time paid Social Instructor for the company. He has continued with a career in the field of Developmental Disabilities as an Independent Living Skills Instructor, Personal Support Attendant Facilitator and a Live-in Assistant.
While not working at Cortney’s Place, Justin enjoys detailing vehicles and reading business leadership books. Justin aspires to become a business owner and continue to serve the DD community in Arizona.
His personal mission statement is, “To strive to serve people within reach by providing excellent customer service and high quality results while leaving a lasting impact on their lives”.
Michelle and her husband, Joe, volunteered for Cortney’s Place events for several years before Michelle was hired as the Executive Assistant in 2014. She had a 20-year career in the mortgage industry, but was fortunate to be able to stay home or work part time in various positions for many years while focusing on her most rewarding job: raising her children, Ian and Suzanne. During this time she enjoyed volunteering at their school and extracurricular activities. Currently Michelle volunteers as the Bookkeeper at Genesis Church, enjoys cake baking and decorating, and is figuring out what life with grown children looks like.