Carole Devon, Associate Executive Director for FEAT of Southern Nevada, moved to Las Vegas after losing her only child in New York City just after the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing. How could she give up her career, home, family, friends and life in New York City to start over?
Carole spent her professional career in Manhattan in the high fashion modeling industry. She served as CEO of ModelQuest, a nationwide scouting organization for model, talent and theatrical managers, CFO of Images Model Management and concurrently served as Executive Director of Model Management Corporation.Her overall responsibility for the last fifteen years was for the vision and fiscal management of the high fashion industry.
Making life better for children, who are on the Autism spectrum, severely disabled and terminally ill through her work at FEAT of Southern Nevada is her new career. While this career switch might not seem to make sense, the birth of her only child, Benjamin, brought these two careers together.Benjamin was born with multiple disabilities.How could she manage her high powered business position with a child who had mental retardation, who could not walk, talk or see very well?How could she have spent most of her life tailoring the careers of the most fortunate young women while raising a child who was one of the most unfortunate? The most influential event in Carole's life could have been the most tragic one as well.She did not let that happen.
Blessed with high energy, passion, determination and the love of their only child, Carole and her husband David, a musician from London, began to break down barriers for Benjamin and other children like Benjamin.She "melded" her professional career with her new avocation. She even instituted a program for models to volunteer for children with disabilities so that her most beautiful young women understood their good fortune and learned to "give back to the community."
Carole served on the New York Board of Education, Chancellor's Parent Advisory group for Special Education representing over 300,000 disabled children.She served on the Advisory Board of United Cerebral Palsy, New York University Hospital, Hunter College, Dominican College and the United Federation of Teachers.She is an award-winning speaker and an in-demand motivational speaker.She has appeared on local and national television, radio on behalf of thousands of voiceless children. She continues to speak to professionals and families about "the things you can't learn from a book."
Ben's Bar Mitzvah, the first one in the country for a child so severely disabled, opened synagogues and churches across the country. This courageous event drew then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the New York media and other dignitaries to this extraordinary experience. Ben's Bar Mitzvah was filmed by New York University Graduate School of Film and won several documentary film festival awards.
Rather than retire, Carole picked up the baton in Nevada to continue her vital fight for the entitlements of children and families of Nevada. Carole has managed to utilize her business and personal experience to continue to change lives for the better.