Media & Community Relations 

Facilitated by:

Kristen McKiernan, Sarah Bal, and Michael Chittenden

Thank you for your interest in joining a Special Interest Group (SIG).

SIG Description

Communicating what The Arc is and why people with I/DD deserve to live a life just like everyone else is core to accomplishing our mission. This group will pull together chapter staff dedicated to raising public awareness of The Arc through the media and through community engagement. We will aim to share best practices, prepare for crisis situations that will require effective communications, explore ways to engage the media and the public to enhance our role in the community, and promote The Arc as the leader in the disability movement.

SIG Facilitators

  1. Kristen McKiernan

    Senior Executive Officer for Communications, The Arc, Washington, DC

    Kristen joined The Arc in 2011 after working on Capitol Hill and on various Congressional campaigns for ten years. She most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5), who is now a U.S. Senator representing Connecticut. Kristen also served as Communications Director for Resources Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (WV-3), representing his views on issues including energy policy, conservation and other environmental matters to national and local press outlets. Kristen grew up in Connecticut and has an uncle with Down syndrome who has been a big part of her life. Kristen found The Arc as she was looking for a professional opportunity that allowed her to use her crisis and policy communications skills honed on Capitol Hill and on political campaigns, and granted her the opportunity to work for a mission driven organization.

  2. Sarah Bal

    Communications Manager, The Arc, Washington, DC

    Sarah started working for The Arc in July of 2011. Before joining the Communications team at The Arc she served on Representative Mazie Hirono’s staff doing legislative and press work, she held that position for over 3 years. Prior to her time on the Hill, she worked for The Roosevelt Institute doing communications work and at the Hawaii State Legislature doing legislative work.

  3. Michael Chittenden

    Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

    Michael is responsible for developing and implementing The Arc of Nebraska’s strategic plan. This includes the strategy for Media & Community Relations. The current plan calls for increased membership throughout the state, increase use of media contacts and increased use of social media. Additionally, Michael currently is a co-convener for the Nebraska Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities and a statewide adviser for People First Nebraska. As a professional in the IDD field with 30 years’ experience, Michael has been a Behavior Management Coordinator and Executive Director for Mosaic, an Executive Director for ResCare and a Regional Director for Bethesda Lutheran Communities, where he established and maintained positive relationships with governmental, social service, advocacy, religious, and other business leaders within the region.