About Us

Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed.

Katherine is certified as a sexuality educator by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) and is the Founder of Disability Workshops, now Elevatus Training, LLC. She is the CEO, Lead Trainer and delivers our live and online trainings. She is the author of Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities Curriculum and also develops educational materials for others to use in teaching and communicating.

I have spent my career working for the equality of all people, but in the beginning, mostly women and reproductive rights. I worked for Planned Parenthood for many years helping people become sexually healthy in a culture that doesn’t want to talk about this topic. I have been a sexuality educator and trainer with a specialty in sexuality and disabilities for over 25 years.

At 26, I had a spinal cord injury and became a wheelchair user. This threw me into a world that I knew very little about. Through my own personal experience, I started to see the inequity for those with disabilities and the attitudes and beliefs many people in our culture hold that people with disabilities are not sexual.

At the same time, I began to get requests from Special Educators and Developmental Disability Staff to talk with students and people with disabilities about sexual health. In the beginning, people wanted me to come into their school or agency and teach the topic, but as the years went on, I started to see educators and staff begin to see that they could address this topic on their own with some support from me. Also, at a conference I was asked by Karen Topper from Green Mountain Self Advocates, “would you ever consider having people with disabilities be the teachers of these classes?” It was a new idea for me, but I willing said, “yes.”

From that moment on, all my work has been on helping self-advocates, educators, direct support staff, parents and others to become sexuality educators themselves and learn how to teach or talk about this topic. I created educational materials and provided training in help raise their level of confidence. Just as we want people with disabilities to be self-sufficient in their lives, I wanted organizations, agencies, and schools to be self-sufficient in teaching and communicating about sexuality.

I have created a sexuality education curriculum that has a focus on sexual self-advocacy and is inclusive of all gender and sexual identities. I have also created two online courses, one for staff, and one for parents, to help these groups have access to training that meets their needs and fits into their schedule and budgets. I continue to provide in-service trainings and offer a three-day certificate program titled, Becoming a Sexuality Educator and Trainer. This training enables staff to teach sexuality education classes and offer workshops for staff and parents within their agency or school.

I also teach Human Sexuality at Keene State College in New Hampshire. For me, I have spent my life trying to elevate the status of all people, which is why we chose our new name for our growing company, Elevatus Training.

You can reach me at: kath@elevatustraining.com.

Helaine Iris

Helaine is the Co-founder and COO. She handles operations, business development, marketing and sales, customer service and tech support.

Growing up in the 70’s, with the Vietnam War and the women’s movement as a backdrop, I was raised and encouraged to explore. I became a seeker of freedom and a believer in possibilities. Asking “Why?” and “Why not?” became a way of life. Passionately standing for people to become the fullest versions of themselves became my life mission.

I met Katherine in 1994. We were both working for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England where I developed and implemented a Health Care Assistant training program encompassing 20 regional branches of the organization. Working for PPNNE was a fulfillment as I had the opportunity to be on the front lines supporting women’s reproductive rights.

In 2000, my career path took a brave turn and I struck out on my own and became a small business coach. I founded Path of Purpose Coaching so I could utilize my broad range of professional experience in business management, training, program development and counseling to help passionate and inspired entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses.

Then, in 2015 in a seemingly innocent conversation with my friend Katherine, it became clear she was ready to take Disability Workshops to the next level. I had the complementary skills to help her do that and, Voila! A match made in heaven, a mutual passion to make the world a better place, and a mutual desire to enjoy the work we do in the world.

The rest is history, and I’m honored, and excited to help Elevatus Training fulfill its mission.

You can reach me at: helaine@elevatustraining.com.

Lindsey Austin-Davis

Lindsey manages the social media accounts and provides administrative support.

Health and wellness has always been a strong passion of mine, and sexuality education is an important piece of wellness. Through my degree in Health Science and previous roles in public health research, health coaching, and non-profit management, I have had the opportunity to support individuals of all ages from diverse background lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

In 2016, I met Katherine when we both worked for Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock. Her passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to the work we did to improve the health of employees in the Monadnock Region of South Western New Hampshire was infectious.

After the birth of my first child, I was seeking a new opportunity that would allow me to work part-time with a flexible schedule in order to soak in all the sweet moments with my little one. When Katherine offered me an opportunity to do just that with Elevatus Training, LLC, I jumped at the opportunity. This role has provided me with the opportunity to love my work and family simultaneously.

I am thrilled to join Katherine and Helaine and support the important work that Elevatus Training, LLC does.

Shannon Hudley

Shannon provides administrative support to the training team and works with our customers to provide a seamless experience.

My world largely revolves around my three uniquely wonderful children and husband, large family gatherings, and stealing away any moment I can spare to swim in the ocean and breath in the salty air!

I first met Katherine and learned about Elevatus Training while working at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship. I was immediately impressed and intrigued by the education and information she was sharing and inspired by her bravery to speak about a topic so important in a marginalized community that needs to have access to sexual education, health and choices.

Desmond Tutu said a quote that has helped shape my life, “if you remain neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” In 2015 I learned about domestic human trafficking and felt a deep responsibility to share the signs of human trafficking with others. Unfortunately most victims of human trafficking are considered to be from vulnerable demographics, including individuals with I/DD. The curriculum that Elevatus provides gives trainers and self-advocates the knowledge and power to know and teach sexual education to individuals with I/DD. This knowledge is important not only in individuals daily lives and understanding relationships around them but also equips individuals with the power of knowledge.

I am honored to be a part of the inspiring work that Elevatus Training brings to our communities.

Our Volunteers

Eliza Holmes

Eliza Holmes is a volunteer and a senior at Keene High School.

I became interested in Elevatus Training after taking a Women’s Studies course at the high school. The class discussed topics about women that I had never really considered before. The class inspired me to advocate for a strong sexual education curriculum, which led me to Kath and Helaine. In addition to volunteering at Elevatus Training, I like to spend my time taking dance classes, reading, and going outside.

Risa Keene

Risa Keene is a speech/language therapist, who presently works for MDS’ early intervention program Birth to Three. She has taught sexuality education classes to young adults who are deaf in Lesotho Africa. Prior to this, Risa worked in the schools with students (preschool through high school) who had a variety of communication needs. Risa has been a volunteer for Elevatus Training for the last two years. During that time, she co-taught a sexuality education class with Katherine and consults on many of our education projects. She loves to travel and anything that has to do with the outdoors like hiking, camping, biking, or, gardening.