Debra Young is the owner of EmpowerAbility® LLC, an occupational therapy consultancy specializing in environmental modifications and assistive technology.
Debra Young is a certified specialist in environmental modification, aging in place, and assistive technology. She is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with 22 years of experience, holding a Master’s in Education degree with specialization in Assistive Technology (AT) from Bowling Green State University, a graduate certificate in AT from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College.
Debra is a Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Certified Aging-in-Place
Debra has been named a Fellow to the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA) and has also earned the Specialty Certification in Environmental Modifications (SCEM) from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Both distinctions have been accomplished by less than 1% of occupational therapists nationally. She is an elected Director to the American Occupational Therapy Association Board of Directors and is the 2014 recipient of the AOTA Recognition of Achievement Award for notable contributions to the profession and its consumers in the environmental modifications specialty area of practice.
Debra has published and presented on local, state and national levels. She previous work experience as an Assistant Professor and adjunct instructor teaching at post-professional doctoral, PhD, and Master’s levels.
Debra has also held external leadership positions as the NAHB State Associate Director, 55+ Housing and Industries Council Trustee, consultant governor to the CAPS Board of Governors and an NAHB approved instructor for the CAPS and Universal Design/Build courses. She is the recipient of the NAHB 2013 CAPS of the Year Award. Locally, she is the Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Delaware (HBADE) Executive Board and is the President of the HBADE Associates Council.
I am the current Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Delaware (2013—present) and an Associate State Director of the National Association of Home Builders Board of Directors (2013—present).
Upon becoming a member of the Home Builders Association of Delaware (HBADE) I met a wetlands scientist who has both shaped and supported my leadership with the local organization as well as the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). When I met Jim, he was the Associate Vice President of HBADE, a Director to the NAHB Board of Directors and the HBADE Associates Council President. Along with his decades of membership with both organizations, he is an accomplished leader within his own field.
As a woman and a health professional, I am not a typical member for a housing industry association. From the beginning, Jim made me feel welcome and invited me to participate where my talents would be best used. Jim has helped me to navigate the building industry and continues to be my unofficial mentor.
As a believer in 'seek first to understand, then to be understood', I became more involved within the local association. This involvement led to interest and then my election to the local board, the national board, and ultimately becoming Jim's successor as the HBADE Associate Vice President and Associates Council Chair. We continue to work side-by- side as NAHB Directors. Our similarities lie in the ability to find common ground amongst diverse viewpoints from a spectrum of professionals. It is an openness and receptiveness to the different perspectives with understanding that each person brings value to a project and their lens, although different, is complementary.
My active listening skills, ability to meet people where they are and my experience of working with diverse groups of people within and outside of my profession makes me a strong candidate for Vice President of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Be sure to check out Parts 1, 2, & 3 of My Volunteer Leadership Journey:
Part 1: SOTA President
Part 2: President Delaware OT Practice Board
Part 3: Delaware Rep to the AOTA RA
Part 4: AOTA Home and Community Health Special Interest Section