Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers
Director of Outreach and Education at the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region, Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
As Director of Outreach and Education, Boyd has multiple responsibilities and provides leadership and support as the Regional Outreach Coordinator, the Mega Construction Projects Coordinator and he also oversees the Regional Compliant Process and conducts the Quality Audits for the SWARM Region. He also engages and builds relationships with key stakeholders and workers most at risk of discrimination to better enable the Office's awareness of bad-acting contractors. Boyd also works with the regional leadership team to develop a strategic outreach plan that builds upon the overall agency's outreach vision.
Previously, Boyd was District Director of the OFCCP Dallas District Office, during which he led the team charged with executing the compliance and investigations programs under Presidential Executive Order 11246 (requirements for non-discriminatory practices in hiring/employment of U.S. government contractors); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.
Wayne W. Broadfield, III
Associate Director of Architecture & Facilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America
Wayne W. Broadfield, III, AIA is PVA's Associate Director of Architecture & Facilities. He joined PVA in 2018 after seventeen years of private sector architectural design and construction experience as an associate and senior project manager of an award-winning firm in Washington DC. Mr. Broadfield has been involved with local AIA component leadership as past-president of the Potomac Valley chapter in 2016 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 government and healthcare projects serving veterans throughout the United States. He has also provided technical assistance to veterans and civilians who are planning renovations to their homes 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).
Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel
Debra Kerper's desire to pursue a career in Travel for the Disabled came from her personal experience as a physically challenged traveler. Debra has been living with Lupus since the age of 20 and became a below knee amputee at the age of 29. She has undergone over 30 surgeries and has spent much time using a wheelchair as well as enjoying long periods of good health and short distance walking. She has a very keen understanding of medical ailments and disabling conditions resulting from excessive time spent in hospitals and outpatient rehab facilities.
In February, 2016 Debra had serious vascular problems resulting in the amputation of her left leg. Adjusting to life as a bilateral amputee has not been easy. Debra did not allow this new life changing event to get in her way….she continued to work full time and travel. Since surgery, she has escorted groups to Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Ireland and Hawaii. Her mantra is "Just Doing It Differently".
Debra travels extensively with a wheelchair and/or a scooter and has learned how to MINIMIZE THE FRUSTRATIONS while MAXIMIZING THE ENJOYMENT of visiting new and exciting destinations. She has visited more than 30 countries and has been on over 100 cruises. She is able to share her knowledge and expertise with other disabled persons as well as those who simply want to travel at a more leisurely pace. She possesses very strong interpersonal skills and a love of helping people.
Jay Gupta is the Director of Pharmacy and Integrative Health at Harbor Homes in Nashua, NH, as well as an MTM consultant and Yoga Therapist. He is also the co-founder of RxRelax, LLC and YogaCaps, Inc., where he focuses on chronic disease prevention and sustainable lifestyle change. Additionally, he is on the medical advisory panel for a medication safety project. Jay delivers keynotes and lectures at conferences and seminars across the USA. He is a chief faculty member for multiple training programs, including the RxRelax Therapeutic Yoga Certification for Healthcare Professionals. In 2017, he received the Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champions Award for community-based drug abuse prevention. He has also received recognition from the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) for Excellence in Innovation and from the New Hampshire Business Review (NHBR) for Business Excellence. He is also the co-author of a number of audio-visual tools, including: RxRelax for Insomnia, Relaxation Capsules, RxRelax Seated Therapeutic Yoga and Subtle Yoga for Rejuvenation.
Casey Cashman, US Pain Foundation
Casey Cashman has been living with chronic pain for the past 8 years of her life. During her pain journey she has volunteered with multiple organizations as a patient representative to ensure that the patients' voice is always heard. She is recognized as a rising leader in the pain awareness movement. Utilizing the skills she acquired as a Human Resource manager, Casey has made it her mission to empower and support those living with chronic pain. In 2014, Casey became the Volunteer Executive Director of U.S. Pain Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers.. Casey started the Beautify in Blue campaign in order to highlight the bravery of pain warriors everywhere. This campaign seeks to unify the pain community and raise awareness for the 100 Million Americans who live with chronic pain everyday. Casey chooses to fight everyday for the little triumphs, and she jumps over the obstacles and hurdles that are thrown her way on a routine basis. Her son gives her the strength she needs to push through all obstacles as he is her biggest supporter!
Victoria Mavis, Beyond the Disability
Victoria Mavis is a speaker, author and human resource (HR) professional who has had a walking disability since the age of four. She has owned her own businesses, as well as been employed by private industry ranging from privately-held companies to large international manufacturing corporations. As an individual who has had a lifetime physical disability, Victoria inspires others to stretch beyond the limitations of their comfort zone in order to achieve a higher level of personal and professional success. Victoria currently resides in Arkansas. Over the past several years, she has worked with disability agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare providers to bring work skills and her inspirational style of living to those affected by a disability.
Leah has been volunteering with the Lake Jackson VFD Auxiliary for the past decade. Not only is she responsible for the weekly Facebook post, but she also maintains and updates the database of bingo players' addresses and emails the Facebook post to players. In addition to being an Auxiliary member, she recently become a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee in the City of Manassas Park, Virginia. In that role, she attends all quarterly meetings, helped revise its bylaws, and offers thoughts and ideas. Victoria has a unique perspective on life and disability as a woman with Spastic\ Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. Victoria does not shy away from a challenge, and volunteering allows her to challenge herself.
John Morris is one of the foremost experts in the field of accessible travel, drawing from his experience of nearly one million miles flown as a wheelchair user and triple amputee. He educates people with disabilities through his accessible travel website WheelchairTravel.org and advises companies through his consultancy, Accessible Development Group. Known for traveling the world with one hand, a passport and his power wheelchair, he has become a strong advocate for accessibility and inclusion within the travel industry. John is an accessible travel thought leader who shares his vision for an open world with both travel providers and the community at large.
Bonnie Jensen, MAMMA
Bonnie Jensen is from Houston, Texas and is the Research Analyst for MAMMA - Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism. Her youngest son has autism as well as intractable epilepsy and recently qualified for the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP). Bonnie has been active in advocating for medical cannabis reform at the local and state level in Texas. Texas MAMMA's involvement in the legislative process the last 5 years contributed significantly to the progress and expansion of TCUP.
Lainie Ishbia, MSW, Founder of Trend-ABLE.com
Lainie is on a mission to help people with invisible disabilities look & feel their best. She holds a MS in Social Work from The University of Michigan and has been a well respected speaker and educator for over 20 years on all topics relating to self-esteem and body image. Lainie, who has an inherited neuromuscular disorder, wears AFOs (leg braces) and once struggled with extremely low self-esteem and depression. In 2017 she founded Trend-Able.com, a Fashion + Lifestyle blog & resource website. Her articles, fashion boards and posts help others with disabilities, find hacks, adaptiveclothing, and tools for living their best lives. Her savvy and witty articles have been featured on The Mighty, MDA.org, LER Magazine, Getbackuptoday.com and more!
Medical Outreach Director, Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation
Estela was diagnosed with a progressive form of neuropathy called, Charcot-Marie-Tooth at 4 years-old. Her younger sister followed 3 years later. From that point forward, their parents became heavily involved in advocacy and fundraising for CMT & Muscular Dystrophy throughout New York. "I was lucky enough to be thrown into the non-profit world at a very young age. We were raised in a community that was incredibly passionate and dedicated to improving and saving lives. Returning to the disability arena has been a 'Full-circle Moment' for me; I'm back where it all began." Estela's professional background in interior & product design, marketing, and creative direction brings an unexpected approach to connecting the disability community to wellness, empowerment and health. She is the moderator for the CMT-Connect webinar series and recently testified in front of the FDA this past September to bring awareness and patient perspective to stakeholders and rare disease policy makers.
Tracy McCain received her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and her Master of Education with Special Certification in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas. Tracy is married and has two children, including a 25 year old son with autism. She worked as an In-Home and Parent Trainer for a local school district for over 12 years. When she is not caring for her son and family, she advocates for medical marijuana with MAMMA as well as improved services for autism and other disabilities in Texas.
Author and Founder of The Funding Guides & Founder and Executive Director of The Funding Project
Tammy Simmons is the author of the Disability Funding Guide, published in 2015, and the Autism Funding Guide, releasing fall 2019. She has been raising funds for people with disabilities for nearly 20 years. She has extensive experience in grant writing, community fundraisers, crowd funding campaigns, and working with funding sources. Her fundraising journey began with her nephew Jacob who has Cerebral Palsy. She first raised over $12,000 for Jacob’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments – and then realized she could help other families raise money for adaptive bikes through her family’s bike store, The Bike Rack. In 2015 she detailed her process and proven techniques into a book, the Disability Funding Guide, which teaches families how to raise money for their children with disabilities. Her second book, Autism Funding Guide, releases this fall. In 2019 she formed the nonprofit organization, The Funding Project, to help teach families and professionals working with children with disabilities and Autism. The focus of all her efforts is to support families so they can find the funds needed to cover the products, services, and therapies their children need, but insurance does not pay for.
Founder and Executive Director, Raising Wheels Foundation
Melissa Copp resides in Waco, Texas with her husband and two sons, and is the Founder and Executive Director of the Raising Wheels Foundation. Her family’s journey to accessibility was featured on Season 5 of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” when her family was gifted a fully accessible home by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Tim Tebow, Make-A-Wish and countless others. After parenthood came with a slew of hardships including developmental delays, genetic testing, brain scans, specialists, and countless other issues, it also came with unmet medical needs not covered by insurance. To avoid financial hardships, Melissa started researching grant options to support the ongoing needs of her boys and over the years has become an expert in obtaining the financial support needed to raise medically fragile children. Although raising two differently abled sons has its challenges, Melissa has focused on the beauty that is RAISING WHEELS and has dedicated herself to advocating for the differently abled community and providing education to parents on how to find better funding to cover accessibility needs in homes and public places.
In order to bring you a stellar conference program, we have selected presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. The majority of our speakers hold advanced degrees in their field. Their accomplishments precede them and 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.
Jackie Gadd, BYOMYOGA
Jackie is an Accessible Yoga Ambassador providing Adaptive Yoga classes to promote inclusion for adults (and children) with special needs since 2015, partnering with the County of San Diego and St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center. She teaches Yoga at local libraries, the YMCA, and privately. Jackie has multiple accreditation in children’s yoga, with an E-RYT200 and Perinatal Yoga Certification from Yoga Alliance, plus one for Teaching Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis. She has a vested interest in understanding and explaining the connection between yoga and functional movement to maximize the mind/body/breath experience. Jackie says “I have found that I am most happy when I am in the service of others, and therefore, journey to share yoga as much as possible.”
Colleen Reilly, Canine Companions for Independence
Colleen Reilly is an Apprentice Instructor for Canine Companions for Independence. She has been with the organization for two years, training and placing assistance dogs with adults, children and veterans with disabilities, as well as with professionals working in various settings. Colleen is originally from New Jersey and grew up as a guide dog puppy raiser before switching gears to the assistance dog field. She has a pet German Shepherd (retired guide dog) who has been her travel companions driving cross-country multiple times. Colleen’s favorite command to teach is tug, which is utilized for tugging doors and drawers open.
Daniel Carroll, One World Karate
Daniel Carroll is a former Special Education teacher and has been teaching martial arts since 1994. After 7 years of teaching and working closely with special needs children ages 11- 18, he developed a Martial arts program utilizing some of the most forward thinking in Physical and Occupational Therapy.
Dan is intimately aware of the need for, and the power of, positive outlets and mentoring for the social, emotional, and physical growth of individuals; especially those with special needs. Sayagyi Dan has two special needs siblings and has long believed that Martial Arts offer a fantastic platform for individuals like his sister and brother. Dan's younger brother and older sister humble him with respect for their success in life. Sayagyi Carroll opened his school, One World Karate, in May, 2012, in Austin, Texas, with the express goal of bringing the benefits of Martial Arts training to all. He teaches programs utilizing the Theories, Principles, and Philosophies of traditional martial arts as the base of a true Academy style of Martial Arts instruction. His school also utilizes the most modern and contemporary educational concepts developed for working with students of varied abilities. In addition to his classes, and at the urging of his wife, Elizabeth, he has founded the non-profit organization Texas Adaptive Sports and Recreation to provide educational materials and training to other programs and activities in order to create a more inclusive world.
Texas Adaptive Sports and Recreation & One World Karate
Texas Adaptive Sports and Recreation is a 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to creating superlative adapted and inclusive programs throughout Texas, America, and the world. TxASR teaches seminars on disability awareness, special education pedagogy, and classroom / behavior management to existing sports and rec programs, facilitates the creation of new programs, and provides continuing support to build a culture of inclusion while maintaining the highest standards of instruction and service in the programs.
One World Karate is the first Martial Arts school in the world to take programs for students with special needs and fully integrate classes to the highest possible extent. All students are invited to participate in age appropriate classes regardless of disability or special needs, and all receive curriculum designed for the individual.
VSA Texas challenges perceptions of how people contribute by creating an arts-inspired, inclusive community of individuals with diverse abilities. They are an expert resource on inclusive arts – creating and maintaining an accessible and open community where everyone can participate. Their goal is to provide support and training to the public, enhance personal growth, and offer Texans access to the creative work of people with diverse abilities. Learn more: www.vsatx.org.
Ainsley's Angels of America
Perhaps you used to run. Perhaps you have never ran. Either way, Ainsley's Angels of America aims to ensure that everyone can experience the joy of going for a run. In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley's Angels of America aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, we believe everyone deserves to be included. Stop by our booth to experience this today and together, let's counter the claim that it is impossible and remove "can't" from the equation! Deal? Can you envision it now? The positive energy, the other athletes smiling from ear to ear, the togetherness of every member preparing to 'roll with the wind', the normalcy of the family, and the love everyone shares ... it is a therapy like no other! Oh, and the impact reaches the entire family, as many have discovered first-hand the therapeutic effects of these races. Learn more at www.ainsleysangels.org.
Texas Technology Access Program
TTAP is dedicated to increasing the access for people with disabilities to AT that provides them more control over their surroundings and an enhanced ability to function independently. They develop programs to improve access, advocacy and awareness of assistive technology to meet the needs of Texans with disabilities.
Learn more: http://techaccess.edb.utexas.edu
Canines for Disabled Kids
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.
Learn more at https://caninesforkids.org.
Rollettes Dance Team
Founded in 2012 by Chelsie Hill, the Rollettes are a group of young women making a difference - breaking new ground and inspiring the next generation. They are a community, a sisterhood, a family. Role models and trail blazers in dance, fashion, make-up and fitness. These women have created a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient. With dance they dazzle and push the boundaries that others place in the way.
Learn more at www.rollettesdance.com.
Ayita Wheelchair Dance
Ayita is a dance class for children who use wheelchairs. Their mission is to inspire, encourage, and build confidence! Abilities Expo is thrilled to welcome these talented young dancers to the show. They will be treating the crowd to thrilling performance. Then it's your chance to join them on the dance floor and learn some new moves at their dance class. Ayita is located in Fort Worth, TX.
Learn more: www.facebook.com/Ayitadance/
RISE Adapted Sports
RISE stands for Recovery – Inspiration – Success – Empowerment. We aim to assist persons with physical challenges to Recover, Inspire, Succeed and Empower themselves and others by providing inclusive adaptive recreational sports programs. RISE Adventures was formed March 13th, 2007. RISE serves both kids and adults with a primary diagnosis of a physical disability. Individuals need to be able to understand directions in order to comprehend the safety precautions and instructions that come with participating in sports. Individuals with secondary disabilities will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Physical disabilities that RISE serves include: Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Amputee, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Neuromuscular Disease, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Blind/Vision Impaired, Ambulatory, and all other physical disabilities.
Learn more: http://www.riseadaptivesports.org/
Southwest Wheelchair Athletic Association is the regional organization for Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports USA. The regional area includes: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma & Texas.
We are a non-profit 501c3 organization that provides sport competition for those individuals with a physical disability.
Learn more: http://www.swaasports.org
ParaCheer is the inclusive sport of CHEER and DANCE for athletes with and without a disability. ParaCheer Spirit is a nonprofit organization based in the Midwest providing opportunities for athletes to work together in a mainstream activity for all abilities and 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.
Learn more: https://paracheerspirit.org
Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence is a national nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing expertly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Trained in over 40 commands, Canine Companions assistance dogs are matched with children, adults and veterans with a wide variety of disabilities, completely free of charge. New logo attached below.
We Adorn You
Painters from "We Adorn You" have been face painting for Abilities Expo shows since 2009! They are based out of Los Angeles and New York City and have been in operation since 2007. Their experienced artists will travel to your home or event site. Each event is unique and they can tailor to any theme, style or idea; children and/or adult birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, company picnics, photo shoots, trade shows and many more!
Learn more at www.weadornyou.com
Dina is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Life Coach and Nutritionist. Fitness has always been a part of her life, growing up in a household where her parents worked out every day. Her father was a dentist so, at a very early age, she was made aware of the importance of "You are what you eat". She has been teaching for over 15 years. Her positive experiences participating in personal and group fitness classes led her into pursuing her passion. She loves challenging people to change physically and mentally and believes exercise needs to be fun and different. Whether she's working one-on-one or with a group, she likes motivating people with her high energy personality and fun approach to physical education and training.
She enjoys working with people and offers workouts for all ages and abilities. Dina mixes her own music CDs and choreographs all her routines, while offering effective exercise programs designed to meet the needs of each participant. She also offers assistance through individual nutrition plans (her own Jump Start menu), as well as addressing specific problems (i.e. injuries, obesity, etc.) With her background, she is able to enhance the quality of life for her clients and offer a variety of programs to help them reach their maximum potential.
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.
The Kid-netic Games
The Kid-netic Games is an annual weekend athletic event for students ages 2-22 (if still attending high school) with physical impairments such as amputations, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, dwarfism, and other orthopedic impairments. The event allows individuals with physical disabilities to participate in track and field, wheelchair basketball, and power soccer. Also offered are clinics in sports and recreational pursuits such as wheelchair tennis and boccia. The Kid-netic Games provide an opportunity for students with physical disabilities to develop friendships and gain knowledge of various sports, and produces a variety of community resources and networking opportunities for families of students with physical disabilities.