Guidelight Group is a collective of seasoned professionals specializing in person-centered services for transition-aged teens and adults with developmental disabilities.
Together our team has decades of expertise in person-centered planning, advocacy, community resource navigation, service coordination, benefits counseling, special education and more.
We are innovators who are setting the standards of excellence for the future of disability services. We love what we do.
MEET OUR TEAM
SONNI CHARNESS, Founder
Sonni Bendetson Charness brings over a decade of experience serving teens and adults with developmental disabilities and is an expert in community integration and employment supports. Sonni leads the team at Guidelight Group and also works personally with clients.
Sonni's work on transition-to-adulthood and employment has been published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation and in Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. Sonni has been a featured expert on the Lomah podcast and as a presenter at countless conferences including TASH, the Supported Life Conference, and the Statewide Conference on Self-Determination.
Sonni is a member of the Board of Directors for California APSE, the state chapter of the nation’s leading advocacy organization promoting employment for people with disabilities. Sonni is a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP), and is trained in Person-Centered Thinking and Independent Facilitation.
Sonni obtained her master's degree in special education at Vanderbilt University, where she specialized in transition-to-adulthood and employment outcomes for students with moderate/severe disabilities. Sonni earned her bachelor's degree in child development from Tufts University.
BRITTANY ROBINSON, client coach & independent facilitator
Brittany Robinson is an experienced special educator, employment specialist, and program manager who has spent the past decade helping teens and adults with disabilities and their families maximize their potential and successfully navigate the transition to adult life. Brittany brings experience as a Special Educator for middle school, high school, and transition-aged students, where she built and led cutting-edge programs to develop students’ skills and confidence. Brittany is an expert in Customized Employment, a proven approach to helping individuals with even the most complex support needs find meaningful, integrated employment and earn competitive wages. Known for her outgoing and engaging style, Brittany builds long-lasting connections with her clients. She works to guide and support her clients to help them realize their dreams and goals.
Brittany serves on the Board of Directors for California APSE, the state chapter of the nation’s leading advocacy organization promoting employment for people with disabilities. Brittany holds a B.A. in Sociology and Education from the University of Washington and an M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in transition services from San Francisco State University. Brittany is certified in Person-Centered Thinking.
DEBRA JORGENSEN, client coach & independent facilitator
For over 20 years, Debra Jorgensen has focused her career on advocating for the rights of the disability community, and she is excited to bring her expertise to her role as Client Coach and Independent Facilitator at Guidelight Group.
As a former attorney at Disability Rights California and the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego, Debra has deep knowledge of disability, employment, and public interest law and expertise supporting underserved communities. As a consultant, she continued to collaborate with self-advocates, families, providers, and government and other non-profit agencies to identify the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and tackle system reforms to increase access to those services and supports.
Debra is a member of the Board of Directors for California APSE, the state chapter of the nation’s leading advocacy organization promoting employment for people with disabilities. She is also a member of San Diego's Local Advisory Committee on Self-Determination Program (SDP) implementation and the Cardiac Family Advisory Council at Rady Children's Hospital. Debra is trained in Customized Employment by the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE), Person-Centered Thinking and Independent Facilitation.
Debra earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego, and her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. In addition to her work at Guidelight group, she is currently an Adjunct Professor at University of San Diego School of Law.
Taleen Khatchadourian brings a unique skill set to her role as client coach and independent facilitator at Guidelight Group. She spent ten years as a leader in supplemental education, contracting with school districts to provide specialized programs, working with children and families to tackle learning and developmental delays, supporting them through the IEP process.
As a parent of a now-transition aged teen with autism, Taleen has had the privilege to sit on the Board of the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center (FDLRC). She currently serves as a Peer Support Partner and an active member of three parent support groups. Taleen is also on the Board of the Armenian Autism Outreach Project (AAOP) where she supports families throughout their journey and helps the community promote an atmosphere of inclusion.
Taleen has been an active volunteer and board member for such organizations as the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, & the Los Angeles Shushi Friendship Association.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Taleen received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. She is certified in Person-Centered Thinking and has completed all relevant training for Independent Facilitation in California. With over 100 hours of cumulative training, Taleen holds certifications from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Autism Society of Los Angeles, FDLRC, Disability Voices United, Council of Parents, Attorneys & Advocates, and Guidelight Group.
taleen khatchadourian, client coach & independent facilitator