Lena M. Hicks
Lena is a Southern Illinois native with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Mid-Continent University. She was hired as the Executive Director on July 1, 2017.
Lena was a Head Start child and a Head Start parent. Head Start and other WADI programs helped Lena to further her education and gain the confidence and skills necessary to apply for and obtain the Saline County Manager position at WADI in 2005. She was later promoted to Emergency Service Director in 2009, promoted to the Head Start / Early Head Start Director position in 2012, and promoted to the Deputy Director position for Wabash Area Development, Inc. on July 1, 2014.
Lena is a nationally Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP). She is also a Family and Community Development Specialist from the University of Illinois at Springfield and the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA). Lena previously received Care Coordinator Director certification from the Illinois Department on Aging and was a Nationally Certified ROMA Implementer.
She serves on the board for IACAA and co-chairs the Organizational and Program Development Committee for that board. Lena also serves on the local Workforce Investment Board. Previously, she served on the Family Selection Committee of the local Habitat for Humanity, served on the Southern Illinois Continuum of Care for Homelessness, and was the chairperson for the Saline County FEMA board for several years.
Fiscal Officer/Housing Director
Ashley Garlick is a Southern Illinois native with an Associate's Degree from Southeastern Illinois College in Business Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management with a minor in Marketing from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale.
Ashley started her career with WADI in 2013 as Hamilton County Manager and worked her way up through Energy Specialist (2016-2018), Service Support Coordinator (2018), Service Support Director (2018-2019), Critical Records/ Risk Management/ Marketing Director (2019-2021). and Executive Assistant (2021-2022).
Ashley now serves as our Agency's Chief Fiscal Officer and Housing Director.
Fiscal Officer In-Training
Dawn Money is Chief Fiscal Officer in Training at Wabash Area Development, Inc. She graduated from Southeastern Illinois College with an Associate's degree in Accounting. Dawn has 40 years of work experience, with a strong skill set in the standards of accounting and business management.
Currently, she is enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.
Dawn grew up in Central Illinois, moving to Southern Illinois twenty-five years ago where she married and raised her family.
Debbie is a native of Southern Illinois with an Associate degree in Broadcasting from Wabash Valley College.
Debbie began her career at WADI in 1998 in Head Start as the health assistant in Wabash and Edwards Counties. In 2001, she and her family moved to Northern Wisconsin where she worked an additional two years in the Head Start classroom for CESA 11. Upon returning to Southern Illinois, Debbie continued her employment with WADI as an Outreach Worker, and then as County Manager. Debbie was promoted in September 2021 to the CSBG Director position.
Debbie became a ROMA Implementer in 2021, and serves on the board for Safe Haven Women and Children’s Homeless Shelter.
Head Start/Early Head Start Director
Alisa is a Southern Illinois native with a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Leadership from Mid-Continent University in Kentucky and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southeastern Illinois College. She is a certified Family and Community Development Specialist from the University of Illinois at Springfield, a Certified Community Action Professional, CCAP, and serves as a board member of the Illinois Head Start Association. Alisa is a past Head Start parent and has worked with WADI for more than 16 years. She has held a variety of Head Start positions related to teaching children and families, training Head Start and Early Head Start staff, and overseeing the education component in Head Start centers. Alisa has been the Head Start / Early Head Start Director since April of 2014.
Ryan began his career at WADI as a Career Planner in January 2022, helping young adults aspire to reach their educational goals. In September of 2022, Ryan switched roles, becoming the Housing Department Director.
Ryan is a long time Southern Illinois resident from Texas, with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, as well as a Bachelors Degree in University Studies, both from the University of Southern Illinois. Ryan was a Junior High Science teacher at NCOE from 2017-2020 where he also contributed as boys middle school and high school assistant baseball coach before coming to the WADI team.