News & Events

Dr. Katie Arnold Appointed New Executive Director of Our Place of New Trier Township

Posted On by

Our Place of New Trier Township (“Our Place”) has appointed Dr. Katie Arnold, a widely respected leader and expert in the field of disability services and programs, as its new Executive Director.

“We are thrilled to have Katie join us and lead Our Place into the next phase of developing innovative programs to help our participants be engaged and contributing members of the community,” said Jane Gallery, the founder of Our Place and its first Board President.

Now 16 years old, Our Place is a privately funded nonprofit in Wilmette, Illinois that provides opportunities for participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to build meaningful, productive, socially connected lives as fully engaged citizens. Serving more than 120 participants, Our Place offers a participant-centered program accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), the leading accrediting and certifying body for organizations serving the needs of individuals with IDD.

Assuming her new role effective Monday, July 22, 2024, Katie Arnold brings more than 20 years of experience in the disability field and over 10 years of experience building and growing a national disability advocacy-focused nonprofit organization. The impact of Katie’s work for individuals with IDD and their families is seen both in Illinois and nationally as she is a strong disability advocate with a sense of social justice.

In her most recent roles as a faculty member in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and the Director of Stakeholder Engagement for the Institute on Disability and Human Development, Katie has taught graduate and undergraduate courses and conducted inclusive research on family support, future planning, and self-determination of people with IDD.  A distinguished expert in her field, she is a highly sought-after speaker who has presented at more than 100 national conferences.  She has also authored numerous publications, including 29 articles in peer-reviewed journals.  In addition to her work at UIC, Katie served from 2012-22 as the founding Executive Director of the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN), a national nonprofit that support siblings of people with disabilities across the life course.

“My personal experiences have shaped my worldview and influenced my career path while anchoring my work in the IDD field. I am passionate about supporting individuals with IDD to live meaningful and productive lives in communities of their choice,” says Katie. She grew up in a large family alongside her sister with IDD. Katie’s husband is a disability advocate with physical disabilities, and they are now raising their child with developmental disabilities. These experiences have strengthened Katie’s dedication to enhancing systems of support. “The mission of Our Place is personal to me, and I am excited to lead Our Place and advance the mission of the organization.”

Grounding her work in her previous experience living in L’Arche, a community based on mutual relationships between people with and without disabilities, Katie truly immerses herself in the disability community to listen deeply, learn from others, and guide her work. Katie has a long commitment to community education and information dissemination, and she is a bridge builder between academia and the community.

“Katie is the ideal person to help Our Place build on our strengths and move forward into the future,” said Stephen D. Schutt, the incoming Chair of the Our Place Board. “She’s a collaborator and community builder who will work with the Board, staff, participants, families and community stakeholders to make Our Place still more effective in enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.”

“We can’t wait for everyone at Our Place to meet Katie,” Jane Gallery added. “She will be an inspiring new leader for our entire community.”

Our Place’s Board of Directors retained KEES, a premier executive search firm specializing in executive searches for top nonprofit executive positions such as Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, and President roles, as its executive search partner in February 2024. A comprehensive search was launched, and Katie was ultimately selected from a passionate, motivated, and talented pool of finalists. Our Place’s search efforts were led by a Search Committee including Board President Jane Gallery (Our Place Founder), Stephen Schutt (retired from Lake Forest College), Ann Dronen (retired from Northwestern Illinois University), Mark Feinberg (retired, Our Place volunteer), and Dan Moran (American Medical Association).

“KEES is thrilled to see the results of this executive search and the leadership Dr. Arnold and the Board will bring to Our Place,” says Laura Weinman, Vice President of KEES. “Congratulations to all, and especially to the participants, families, and staff at Our Place who will benefit greatly from Dr. Arnold’s experience and leadership. We enjoyed partnering with the hard-working Search Committee and Board of Directors on this important search.”


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit

As a premier search firm, KEES specializes in executive searches for top executive positions such as Chief Executive Officer, President, and Executive Director roles and has a successful history of placing accomplished nonprofit executives nationwide. This partnership builds upon KEES’ executive search history, commitment, and growth to building meaningful partnerships and relationships with nonprofit organizations serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

# # #


Jamie Sheffler,