Chicago

JUNE 24-26, 2022

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center

Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Register for Free

Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers

Meet the speakers and presenters for the Abilities Expo workshops and events! They are people whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Many are recognized nationally and within their state for their ongoing work with people with disabilities. All our speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field, or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.

Workshop Speakers
Event Presenters

Event Presenters

Ainsley's Angels of America

Ainsley's Angels of America

The mission of Ainsley's Angels of America is to build awareness about the importance of inclusion, through action, while transforming populations into all-inclusive communities. The organization connects Athlete Riders with Runners so the Athlete Rider can "Roll With the Wind" in life and endurance events. The organization celebrates the fearlessness of the athletes, the normalcy of the family, and the love everyone shares is a therapy like no other!

Event: Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience

Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, CDK

Kristin Hartness

Public awareness and education are very important to CDK – so important that they travel the country to talk to students of all grade levels, civic groups, religious groups, and businesses about assistance dogs. CDK also offers different ways to help educate the public about service dogs including Educational Presentations, Booth Event Participation, Americans with Disability (ADA) consulting. Members of CDK staff and volunteers travel all over the country for these opportunities. Please contact us to learn more about how we might participate in your school, business, or community event.

Event: All About Service Dogs

ParaCheer

SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program

ParaCheer Spirit Wolves are cheerleaders and dancers with and without disabilities, working together, side by side, to promote the visibility of ParaCheerleading as a new division and para sport of Cheer. ParaCheer Spirit is a nonprofit organization based in the Midwest providing opportunities for athletes to work together in a mainstream activity for all abilities, strengths, and spirit. Seeing a need for energetic, outgoing persons to have an outlet for their abilities, we formed our ParaCheer organization to provide that spirited opportunity. In 2019, we achieved the ultimate honor - becoming World Champions and winning the Gold Medal for the USA! We focus on making the maximum of strengths and abilities of all our members. Our members and volunteers provide the momentum that helps us show the power for all activities. More information available at paracheerspirit.org.

SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program

SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program

Jodie Diegel RN, MBA is the Founder and current President of the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, as well as past President and Founder of Mane in Heaven. The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, located in Barrington, is a non- profit organization whose mission is to enrich lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond, while advocating for animal therapy standards of excellence. We offer the Barrington-area's most experienced animal-assisted miniature therapy equine teams who have been visiting since 2013. "I believe a difference is made when there is a soul-to-soul connection [between humans and animal]," says Jodie, and it is through her passion for animal therapy that individuals throughout the Chicagoland area can receive care and experience that incredible soul-bond with her animals. Through working with volunteer animal handlers, Jodie and her team bring miniature horses and dogs to locations such as Rush University Medical Center, The Garlands, Markland, GiGi's Playhouse and Barrington High School.

Event: Miniature Therapy Horses

Mark Wellman

Adventure Athlete and Paralympian, No Limits Tahoe

Mark Wellman

Mark Wellman is a nationally acclaimed author, filmmaker, and motivational speaker. Despite being paralyzed in a mountain climbing accident, Mark has inspired millions to meet their problems head-on and reach for their full potential. A two-time Paralympian and former Yosemite Park Ranger, Mark's NO LIMITS philosophy encourages individuals to adventure into new horizons; to go beyond the seeming unreachable. Learn more at nolimitstahoe.com.

Event: Adaptive Climbing Wall

Zot Artz

Zot Artz

Zot Artz creates art experiences and art tools for everyone. We create entirely new activities for people with disabilities and invite everyone to join in. Zot Artz experiences empower all individuals to reach their fullest potential through meaningful social experiences and interactions. Inclusive art making offers everyone the opportunity to express themselves and make their mark. Parents, friends, and family members share the experience and the joy that creating art can bring.

Events:
Zot Artz Experience

Workshop Presenters

Wayne W. Broadfield, AIA

Wayne W. Broadfield, AIA

Wayne Broadfield joined PVA in 2018 after seventeen years of private sector architectural design and construction experience, including accessibility reviews, as an associate and senior project manager of an award-winning firm in Washington DC. He has served as president of the Potomac Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and currently sits on the board of directors of the AIA Maryland. He also is the current Mid-Atlantic region director of the Young Architects Forum, a program of AIA National's Center for Emerging Professionals. Since being with PVA, Mr. Broadfield has successfully advocated to maximize accessibility on numerous projects throughout the United States.  He has also provided technical assistance on residential renovation projects specifically focused on improving accessibility. Mr. Broadfield is a licensed architect in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).

Workshop: Accessible Home Design: The Basics

Kelly L. Green

Kelly Green Bio Photo

Kelly has been executive director of Help Hope Live since November 2017. The daughter of a transplant recipient, Kelly not only believes in the mission of Help Hope Live, but she also once used the service and it "completely changed her life." She feels honored and proud to lead an organization that provided hope and help to her family during her mother's journey to transplant in 2007.  Kelly describes herself as a mother, a daughter of her hero, a battle-tested unifier, and a thought leader. She has more than 20 years' experience working in and leading nonprofit organizations and has dedicated her life to civic engagement. Kelly has proudly served as the CEO of Variety – The Children's Charity; director of Montgomery County, PA Voters Services; and deputy director for the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in Philadelphia. In 2018, Kelly was recognized with Main Line Today's Women on the Move Award for redefining success around Philadelphia's Main Line and western suburbs. Kelly is a connector, a person who needs to infuse each day with a lesson and inspire others to be the one makes someone else's day just a little brighter. She places value in small acts of kindness. She is a self-proclaimed activist, but most people just see her as someone who believes everyone deserves dignity and respect. She knows firsthand how broken our healthcare system is and is determined to help place medical needs in reach to those in need!

Workshop: How to Pay for Everything You See Today. Come Fundraise with Help Hope Live!

Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta is the Director of Pharmacy & Integrative Health at a health center in New Hampshire. He is also the President of YogaCaps, Inc. and RXRelax. Jay is a pharmacist, medication expert, DePrescription leader and international speaker. He has been recognized by Cardinal Health, by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and by Next Generation Pharmacists/Pharmacy Times for excellence in integrative therapies. His clinical trial in 2020 studied the effects of therapeutic telehealth yoga for healthcare professionals during a pandemic and indicated significant reduction in anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD symptoms.

Workshop: Making Mindfulness Meaningful

Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT500

Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT500

Terry Gupta is a social worker, nonprofit leader, national speaker, and nationally certified educator of yoga teachers. She is the Executive Director of YogaCaps, Inc. and the Managing Director of RXRelax. Her adaptive yoga and mindfulness programs have been recognized as best practice models by the Citizens Bank Foundation, the State of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Business Review.  She received a 2021 AmplifiHER Community Impact Award from the NH Women's Foundation for fostering resilience in the state of NH during the pandemic.

Workshop: Making Mindfulness Meaningful

Wesley Hamilton

ADA and DEI Consultant; Public Speaker; Inclusive Training Specialist and WHILL Ambassador

Wesley Hamilton

Five days after his 24th birthday Wes Hamilton's life changed dramatically. The single father was shot multiple times walking to his car - leaving him paralyzed below the waist. Overweight and with a new disability Wes wanted to set an example for his young daughter. He began a fitness and nutrition regimen (something that was completely foreign to him). The first year he lost 100 pounds. He felt his transformation had the potential to help others and so he founded a non-profit called, Disabled But Not Really (DBNR). Since then, Wes has spent the past several years being recognized as a role-model in the Crossfit Community, winning several bodybuilding competitions, even being featured in Men's Health Magazine climbing a rope with his wheelchair. Wes transformed yet again when working with the Fab Five on Season 4 of the Netflix hit show, Queer Eye, who taught him how to be true to himself, leaving him humbled by the experience. In March 2021, CNN recognized Wesley Hamilton as an official CNN Hero. In October 2021, Good Morning America and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation recognized Wesley's continued commitment to serving people living with disability by honoring Disabled But Not Really with a very generous donation. This growing recognition has led Wes to share his story with countless others through a successful public speaking career.

Workshop: Mastering Your Potential

Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, CDK

Kristin Hartness

Public awareness and education are very important to CDK – so important that they travel the country to talk to students of all grade levels, civic groups, religious groups, and businesses about assistance dogs. CDK also offers different ways to help educate the public about service dogs including Educational Presentations, Booth Event Participation, Americans with Disability (ADA) consulting. Members of CDK staff and volunteers travel all over the country for these opportunities. Please contact us to learn more about how we might participate in your school, business, or community event.

Workshop: All About Service Dogs

Cindy Kolbe

Author of Struggling with Serendipity, Disability Advocate and Mentor

Cindy Kolbe

Author Cindy Kolbe has been a lifelong disability advocate—even before her daughter's spinal cord injury. She sold the movie rights for her 2019 memoir, Struggling with Serendipity, to a movie producer who is shopping the screenplay to Hollywood studios. In her book, Cindy shares her family's journey after her daughter's spinal cord injury, from their small town in Ohio to Seattle, Harvard, Capitol Hill, and around the world. She currently lives near Boston. Cindy has published more than 54 articles in 22 different media, including Power of Moms, Motherly, MobileWOMEN, Women for One, The Mighty, Grown & Flown, and Facing Disability. She supports disability nonprofits and volunteers for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation as a peer mentor. Cindy's Serendipity Newsletter and blog may be found on her website at www.strugglingwithserendipity.com. She would love to connect with you on Twitter (@cindy_kolbe), Facebook (Struggling with Serendipity) and Instagram (@cindybkolbe).

Workshops: Insights from Moms: How to Support Our Kids Through Challenges

Kathy O'Connell, LMHC

Director, Radiant Abilities, LLC

Kathy O'Connell, LMHC

Advancing Opportunities, Inc. is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization providing services and supports to people with disabilities and their families so they can live independently. Recognized as one of the leading disability service providers in New Jersey, the agency is committed to person-centered services delivered in the community. Learn more at their website and the Assistive Technology Center.

Event: Assistive Technology Showcase

Sonny Mullen

Director of Outreach, Help Hope Live

Sonny Mullen

Sonny Mullen is from the Philadelphia area and spent the first part of her career in New York City working in television. She joined Help Hope Live in 2016, first working in the Finance Department and now proudly serves as the Outreach Manager. In this role she has helped build the Outreach department with the goal of bringing Help Hope Live's mission to a wider audience. Growing up with a younger brother living with GRIN1 Disorder, Sonny has a personal connection to Help Hope Live's mission. She is happy to use her experiences, both at home and with Help Hope Live, to connect and speak with individuals in the disability community all over the country, with the goal of helping them safely fundraise for their medical and related expenses.

Workshop: How to Pay for Everything You See Today. Come Fundraise with Help Hope Live!

Jessica Presperin Pedersen OTD, MBA, ATP/SMS

Executive Director, Devices 4 the Disabled and Research Scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Jessica Presperin Pedersen is an occupational therapist with an expertise in wheelchairs and seating. She is the Executive Director of Devices 4 the Disabled, is a Research Scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, consults with Sunrise Medical and Raz Design, and volunteers with the Kids Equipment Network. She has been involved in the area of durable medical equipment for over 40 years and is passionate about re-use of equipment in the United States and developing companies. She is in the process of developing a loaner system for pediatric power systems and wheelchairs to enable children to initiate independent movement as soon as they are able. Using loaner systems provides therapists and families with a means for trial and training as demonstrated by this re-use program.

Workshop: No Landfills: The Greening of DME-Recycle, Refurbish, Redistribute

Andre Sam

Disability & Special Needs Project

Andre Sam

Andre Sam is a comprehensive Disability & Special Needs Planner with SilverTree Special Needs Planning. Upon earning a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Arizona, Andre began a career in comprehensive disability and special needs planning.  Andre has been in the industry for seven years working with individuals and families with special needs and disabilities. Andre is currently part of a non-profit organization called the Special Needs Education & Advocacy Project.  Through this non-profit organization, Andre gives back by donating his time during evenings and on the weekends sharing his knowledge by providing complimentary educational presentations to organizations and groups who have loved ones that are part of the special needs and disability community. Learn more about the Disability & Special Needs Project.

Workshop: Disability and Special Needs Planning Made Easy

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