Meet The Team


NicoleNicole VanGorder, Partner

Nicole oversees strategic planning for the Upstate Special Needs Consulting team. She is the lead on all corporate consulting relationships and major nonprofit engagements. Nicole lives by the motto ‘do what you say you’re going to do’ and takes it personal in delivering quality consulting to the individuals and businesses Upstate serves. Nicole is a certified Housing Navigator through NYSACRA.


JamesJames Traylor, Partner & Senior Consultant

James is an experienced special needs professional and advocate and serves as the lead consultant on all family and individual plans. His extensive knowledge and passion for the special needs community shines through in all he does. On the team, James is a hands on leader dedicated to creating innovation and choices for people with special needs. Currently, James serves as Chair of the NYS Developmental Disability Planning Council (DDPC).


SarahSarah Daniels, Assistant

Sarah oversees Upstate Special Needs Consulting’s client service process and manages all day to day functions. Chances are if you call into the office Sarah is the friendly voice on the other end of the phone guiding you in the right direction. Sarah’s calm and friendly attitude allow Upstate’s client process to run smoothly with minimal hiccups!



Shlynn Hodkinson, Specialist

Shlynn is an experienced nonprofit professional who has years of working with individuals with special needs. Shlynn is Upstate’s go-to for Supplemental Security Income and OPWDD Eligibility.