Meet the Team
Trey Gordon is the President for Adjacent Space and the brains behind the direction and shape of the non profit structure. He drives the mission, policies, procedures and facilitates many conversations through events such as Think Tank.
Trey Gordon is fully Deaf (emphasis on capitalization of “D” in deaf). He grew up in Alabama, attended the state school for the Deaf, and went to Gallaudet University, the only university in the world whose primary language in its college curriculum is ASL. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he lived in India for almost four months serving their Deaf community, and learning Indian Sign Language. He then went on to complete a masters’ degree in public administration and a certificate in nonprofit management. His experience and upbringing led him to notice omissions and failures to recognize the needs of our communities, and he wanted to be a part of a grassroots-fueled organization that could revolutionize the community with accessibility.
For many years, one of Trey’s goals has been establishing a non-profit organization. The achievement of this goal is an example of how he conducts his work. He strives to be the best version of himself everyday.
Some words of wisdom that guides Trey is a quote from Reverend Eston Williams - “At the end of the day. I’d rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude.”
When he considers his most relevant achievements, he lists his master’s degree, finally growing a mustache, and spreading the truth that pineapples do belong on pizza.
Board Member//Vice President
Angelica Dill is the Vice President and one of the co-founders of Adjacent Space, but she truly feels that the work of Adjacent Space is a collective effort from all the team members. Her main role is to maintain the website, organize communication, as well as tasks, and provide team members with the tools they need to serve the community.
Angelica received her education from Goshen College 2008 - 2012, which included a semester at Gallaudet University in 2011 as a visiting student. After graduation, she worked for four years at The League, a non profit organization in Northeast Indiana that served people with disabilities. She worked as an interpreter coordinator, interpreter, and one of the advocates that connected Deaf community members with local resources. She became nationally certified through RID in 2015 and has been a freelance interpreter for five years in Indiana and Alabama.
Her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Greece when they were in their 30s, and she grew up seeing their dedication to making connections with anyone they met, regardless of language barriers. This is something she carries with her as an interpreter and an active member of the signing community.
Some words of wisdom that guide Angelica include the old, simple saying, “If there is a will, there is a way.” She’s driven to see things happen. She uses timelines, lists on lists, and a friendly tenacity to get things done. When she sets a goal, she knows that it’s either going to happen, or it’s going to be a lesson to learn from.
With this, it’s no surprise that her long term goals include dedicating work towards the growth of Adjacent Space and it’s team members, getting a Master’s degree to advance her work, and eventually to open a small diner.
Anna Hayes is an all-purpose support member of the Adjacent Space team, and currently focuses on social media content.
Anna studied ASL interpreting at Troy University and during internship experiences in Washington, DC and Rochester, New York. She currently works as a community interpreter.
When considering her work as an interpreter, and now as a team-member of an advocacy organization, she looks both forwards and backwards. There is so much to learn from the history of accessibility, advocacy, Disability Justice, and multilingual communities. One of the first laws that mandated accessibility was the 504 Rehabilitation Act. A recent documentary, “Crip Camp”, turns this abstract law into a full story. A diverse group of Deaf and disabled activists staged a 25-day protest inside a federal government building. They slept on floors, celebrated together, held many meetings and made sure the information was accessible in English and ASL. This diverse community of Deaf and disabled people worked and dreamed for an equitable future. Adjacent Space would not exist without their work and without the work of other activists. Anna is excited for what the Adjacent Space team can learn from the rich history of accessibility advocacy and Disability Justice, and how the team can continue to create space for future generations.
Some words of wisdom that guide Anna - “It is more powerful to be curious about something than it is to be right about something.”
In her personal life, she consumes as much pop culture as possible. She’d love to know what your favorite movies and tv shows are.
Kimberly “Kim” Thornsberry is the Creative Leader with Adjacent Space. She leads activities and provides opportunities for the Deaf and signing community to create art together. She brings colorful, expressive, uplifting, driving art to the Adjacent Space team.
Kim is a Michigan Native who now lives in the northern part of Alabama. She works as a Mental Health Therapist for the Deaf, providing clinical work to individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. On the side, she enjoys doing crafts, painting/drawing, and spending time with family and pets. She’s also an outdoors person, and loves to do outdoor activities such as kayaking, tubing, hiking, camping, and biking.
She is passionate about drawing and painting, especially when presenting ASL and Deaf Culture in a positive and encouraging way. When talking about the power of art in her personal life, Kim said, “I learned how to draw to describe stories, or what happened, or what I saw when I could not express myself in Spoken English. I did not learn ASL until I was 20 year old.” One way she expresses this passion is by re-imaging art through Deaf eyes -- she will find a piece of art in a store, and make it her own with an ASL-Twist. For Christmas one year, she found a sign with an image of Santa Clause one it, and she re-created it with the ASL sign for “Santa Clause”.
Nowadays, she shares this creativity by providing classes and workshops for those looking to hone their artistic skills.
It’s no wonder that a quote that resonates with Kim is “The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.” - Fabienne Fredrickson
When asked about her most impressive achievements, she points to her role as a mother of two amazing children: “They are the real deal to me”.
LaShawnda “Shawnda” Lowe is the Diversity Leader with the Adjacent Space team. She brings creative ideas, different perspectives, and reminders to always prioritize diverse spaces.
She is a community interpreter with experience working in a variety of settings ranging from mental health, K-12, post-secondary, medical, and VRS. She grew up a military brat who moved from Georgia to Alabama in 2017 to complete her Master’s internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. After completing her internship, she decided to return to interpreting. Interpreting is close to home for her - her Mother and Sister are also nationally certified interpreters, and they all have the qualified mental health interpreter certification (QMHI).
Her professional goals are to find more opportunities to present on a local, state, and national level, and to do her part to help the interpreting profession become more diverse and cohesive.
On a personal level, Shawnda hopes to explore the world and eventually move out west!
Words of Wisdom For Shawnda: “Conquer your Mind; Transform Your Life”. The mind is powerful. It can help us grow, or it can block our growth!
Deaf Interpreter Mentor
Beth Overland is the Deaf Interpreter Mentor for Adjacent Space. As part of the team, Beth brings so much energy and knowledge, especially when it comes to aspiring Deaf Interpreters, providing accessibility for our community, and growing together.
In her personal and professional life, Beth is focused on completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, becoming Certified as a Deaf Interpreter, and providing inspiration and leadership in the Deaf community.
Fun Facts about Beth: Her ancestors came from Norway and she is 4th generation Norweigan, and still loves cold weather! She looks for any snowy, cold weather she can get, even though she lives in the South!
Beth’s Words of Wisdom: “Always expect the unexpected”. Life is a mystery! Be prepared for the chaos, not the perfection, and life will show you how fun it can be!
Chris McGaha currently supports Adjacent Space by writing grants!
Chris has been involved with the deaf community for 23 years. His journey began with a sign language dictionary that led him to Gallaudet University, a deaf school, deaf sports and eventually to interpreting. His heart and mind were transformed and turned upside down- he knew this is where he belonged- walking alongside the deaf community in all its uniqueness and vibrancy.
Chris is nationally certified and works as a Video Relay interpreter as well as an interpreter in the K-12 setting. He has been challenged by the diversity and complexity of every minute of VRS, and has become passionate about educational justice for deaf students in the mainstream setting. Chris has served as president of the Alabama Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf e for the last 4 years. As president he had a reciprocating seat on the Alabama Association for the Deaf board, opening the door for involvement with Lead-K.
As an ally, Chris began to understand how he could use his privilege to amplify the efforts of the deaf community. He discovered that his path in life was not just to interpret, but to become an accomplice in social justice by connecting people and resources. Chris has been involved with various foundations, non profits, startups and political initiatives. He has experience writing grants and fundraising for various projects and programs, most recently the Deaf Learning Program. Chris continues to work as an interpreter, while working on his Masters in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity at St. Catherine University.
Chris' words of wisdom: "In every situation, find the humanity, no matter how messy the situation may get, recognizing the humanity gives hope for change."
Public Relations Leader
Amy Jones is the Public Relations Leader with the Adjacent Space team. She is hard-of-hearing and is a trained communications professional with experience in journalism, public relations and social media management. Adjacent Space President Trey Gordon is Amy’s brother, and after watching the organization grow and make an impact on the Birmingham community, she decided she wanted to make a commitment to Adjacent Space beyond donating money and attending events.
Amy can always be found with a book in her hand or close by, as well as a stack of many more waiting to be read. She loves to play pickleball with Trey, try new coffee shops and chase after her two little rugrats.
As her kids get older, Amy would love to travel more, especially internationally. Life as it is right now is pretty good, though.
Most of Amy’s favorite quotes have curse words in them and are inappropriate for this website, but here is something she does believe is true: “It takes all kinds to make a world.” Accepting others for who they are and embracing the qualities that make us different is the beginning of making space for everyone.
Pro Bono Interpreter Moderator
Kenton Myers is the Pro Bono Interpreter Moderator with Adjacent Space.
He is a trilingual interpreter (ASL/English/Spanish). Kenton holds a B.A. in Spanish and in Psychology from Birmingham Southern College. He is a nationally certified Spanish interpreter, holding certifications from the National Board of Certification of Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) and the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), and is Court Certified in the state of Alabama. He is also an RID Nationally Certified American Sign Language Interpreter (NIC).
Fun Facts about Kenton: He is obsessed with all things related to travel, psychology, food, and working out. He’s currently training to be on American Ninja Warrior.
Kenton's words of wisdom: "Lack of communication can ruin a lot of good sh*t."
Olivia Lehman is the fundraising consultant for Adjacent Space! She brings tried and true fundraising management practices to support the organization.
In true melting pot tradition, she comes from working class Greek immigrants who moved to the American Midwest where she grew up. She has been proactive in community building and activism in every city she has landed in.
She’s very passionate about equality in accessibility, social justice, and women’s rights. She fights for these rights through fundraising and the holistic arts of yoga.
Olivia's words of wisdom: “Brave, not Perfect”. Simple and clear!
Non Profit Consultant
Jim Pool is a lawyer at Maynard Cooper and has extensive experience working with and supporting 501(c)(3) entities. He played a pivotal role in supporting Adjacent Space obtaining recognition of tax-exempt status. He continues to provide support, answer questions, and offer ideas in regards to Adjacent Space’s status as a 501(c)(3).
ADA Lawyer and Legal Counsel
Ed Zwilling is an attorney based out of Birmingham, AL who provides Adjacent Space with legal direction pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act and partners with Adjacent Space to offer services to the community.
Attorney Edward I. Zwilling is the founder and managing member of The Law Office of Edward I. Zwilling, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama. Nationally recognized as among the top trial attorneys in the country, Mr. Zwilling has more than 28 years of total legal experience, and he provides exceptional advocacy and support to clients throughout Birmingham and across Alabama and the United States who have serious and complex legal challenges involving any of the following:
· Civil rights issues, particularly those that affect people with disabilities
· Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, and Fair Housing Act matters
· Overtime and wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act
· Labor and employment law and employment discrimination
· Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability
· Personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from defective products, motor vehicle accidents, and other acts of negligence or wrongdoing
· Vaccine Injuries in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the United States Court of Federal Claims
Along with representing the rights and entitlements of those with disabilities, Mr. Zwilling seeks to empower his clients through self-advocacy, and he regularly conducts lectures and seminars throughout the country for this cause. As an attorney, he has gained a reputation for his compassion and integrity as well as his unwavering devotion to those he serves to help enrich their lives and obtain the favorable outcomes they seek for their legal issues efficiently and cost-effectively.