Debra Marsteller


President and Chief Executive Officer
Project Independence

A noted authority on adults with developmental disabilities, Debra Marsteller is an advocate, trainer, mentor and enthusiastic supporter of people with developmental disabilities. She has worked for 45 years with and for people with disabilities. After 26 years as executive director of Vantage Foundation, she started a second job at Project Independence as executive director for the purpose of merging the two Costa Mesa-based nonprofits. In 2007, the two established, nonprofit organizations joined forces. While the merged history is still being written, each organization had a rich, 30-year history prior to the merger. Project Independence was established in 1977 by dedicated families of adults with developmental disabilities who envisioned more for their loved ones than lives of segregation, prejudice, and institutionalization. Their goal? To allow adults with developmental disabilities to exercise freedom and personal choice in their own lives.