Kristine Cichowski is an educational and business consultant specializing in family caregiving, disability inclusion, self-advocacy, and leadership development. Kristine’s expertise stems from 30 years of experience in designing innovative programs in education, research, and community outreach at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan AbilityLAB) where she developed an award-winning education center that supports family and professional resource knowledge in over 181 countries. In addition, Kristine created a best-practice peer mentor program to support individuals and families during the early stages of disability and chronic illness and serves as a subject matter expert for FacingDisability.com; an information and support website for families facing spinal cord injury. As a professional speaker, Kristine conducts seminars and workshops on topics of family empowerment, team building, and work-life integration.
Throughout Kristine’s career, she’s has consulted with individuals and families across a broad spectrum of health conditions - stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and neurological disease – to support their skills in navigating the complexities of living with a disability or chronic illness. Kristine’s greatest enlightenment, however, occurred as a family caregiver herself. Kristine cared for a mother with breast cancer, a father with cardiovascular disease, a stroke and vascular dementia, and in-laws with prostate cancer and early dementia, all while working and raising four children.
Kristine founded POWER TO BE out of her desire to help others connect to resources that enable self-determination, goal achievement, and active community participation. Kristine consults with businesses and non-profits to help individuals find their POWER TO BE in life pursuits.
Kristine earned a Master’s of Science degree in Health Administration and Systems Design from DePaul University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Illinois-Urbana, and Certification as a Dementia Practitioner from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.