Houston

AUGUST 2-4, 2024

NRG Center, Hall E

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

Register for Free

Meet the Workshop Speakers

Meet the speakers for the Abilities Expo Houston workshops! They bring years of experience and knowledge to the workshops they will share with you. Many are recognized regionally and nationally for their ongoing work with the disability community. All Abilities Expo speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field, or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.

Diego Demaya, JD

Legal Specialist, Southwest ADA Center

Diego Demaya, JD

Diego Demaya has a B.A. in Humanities, a B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing from University of Houston, and a J.D. from City University of New York School of Law. He is senior General Adviser and Educator for the Southwest ADA Center (SWADA) - of the National ADA Network covering Region VI--NM, TX, OK, AR, LA. SWADA is a division of ILRU TIRR Memorial Hermann. Diego provides technical guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws--focusing on employment, health care, education, business administration, human resources, web and app accessibility, and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. He brings 20 years of successful leadership experience addressing legal and ethical issues toward developing equitable compliance policy for various industries—government, manufacturing, retail, transportation, hospitality, law enforcement, health care, and the AI/ML industry. Diego provides guidance to help address complaints and trains private and public entities pursuant to Federal enforcement action. He has experience mitigating civil rights and compliance liability by equalizing the balance between enterprise objectives and diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness. His mission is to interpret law in service of human needs to empower equitable solution of complex problems to improve productivity and enterprise sustainability with success. Diego is a seasoned audiophile and does consulting on home audio system design and installations as a side hobby.

Workshop: Artificial Intelligence (Ai) & the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Emerging Questions & Issues Related to ADA Civil Rights

Marisa Demaya

Deputy Director, Southwest ADA Center

Marisa Demaya

Marisa Demaya has been with the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program, since 2004 under the Community Living Partnership and National State-to-State Technical Assistance Programs, both funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In 2009, she transitioned to the Southwest ADA Center, providing ADA technical assistance and serving as data coordinator. In 2013, Marisa transitioned to the role of Deputy Director for the center coordinating training and outreach activities among staff and the center's regional affiliates while continuing to serve as data coordinator. Her areas of focus include instructional design and exploration of streamlined learning mechanisms, writing and helping consumers understand their various civil rights under the ADA. When not participating in training related activities you can find her assisting consumers via the center's toll-free hotline and co-moderating the ADA National Network's ADA Legal webinar series and other programming on behalf of the center. Marisa received a Bachelor of Science degree in professional writing from the University of Houston. In her spare time, she participates participated in animal foster/rescue efforts, enjoys dabbling in amateur audio book narration and creating ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, much to her family's dismay.

Workshop: Artificial Intelligence (Ai) & the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Emerging Questions & Issues Related to ADA Civil Rights

Vanessa Goodson

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts-Texas ABLE

Vanessa Goodson

Vanessa Goodson has worked for the Texas Comptroller's Office for 3 years and currently serves as the Outreach Specialist for the state's new Texas ABLE Program. She earned a master's degree in business from Grantham University. She has 7 years of service with the State of Texas including serving as Business Specialist for the Office of the Governor. Previously, she managed several large-scale Central Texas businesses and served six years in the United States Air Force.

Workshop: The Texas ABLE Program: The State's Savings Program for Texans with Disabilities

Justin Graham, NASM-CPT, FNS

Creator, WOW Fitness & Wellness

Justin Graham, NASM-CPT, FNS

Justin Graham, creator of WOW Fitness & Wellness, is a Certified Personal Trainer who has been working with the disability community since 2018. He has taught classes with Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA), Triumph Sports Festival, Ability360 in Phoenix, Spina Bifida Association, and the Abilities Expos shows around the country. His dynamic charm attracts everyone to join his wheelchair fitness classes, combining strength training with dance, pom-poms, and just plain fun! Justin teaches fitness classes daily on the virtual platform WOW Wheelchair Fitness, which provides consistent, organized fitness and personal training via online sessions to increase healthy happiness in the disability community! Whether seated, standing or rolling, W.O.W. is designed for everyone to use! Justin excels at enticing even the shyest student to play along and get valuable exercise. Justin is based in Phoenix, AZ where he teaches live classes and one-on-one personal training in addition to his online classes. His joyous energy is a gift, bringing people of all ages and abilities together to dance with their peers.

Workshop: Wheelchair Fitness Class

Jay Gupta, RPh, 340B ACE, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta, RPh, 340B ACE, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta is the Director of Pharmacy and 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: Self-Care in 10 Easy Doses

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: Self-Care in 10 Easy Doses

Russell Klein, CAPS

Director of Community Engagement for 101 Mobility of Houston

Russell Klein, CAPS

Russell Klein is 101 Mobility of Houston Metro's Director of Community Engagement.  As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), he lectures regularly across Greater Houston, addressing healthcare professionals and homeowners environmental modifications. He is a versatile communications professional with experience in event management, graphic design and performing arts.

Russell arrived in Houston in late 2017 to help with post-Hurricane Harvey recovery as a community organizer with 15 years of previous municipal policy and community organizing experience. In 2018, Russell joined 101 Mobility as their public liaison and has since become a respected figure within the senior care and disability advocacy communities. 101 Mobility of Greater Houston is a women-owned, locally operated company specializing in home and office modifications, and dedicated to assisting Houstonians with physical disabilities and seniors who wish to age in place.

Workshops: Best Practices in Home Modification For People with Disabilities

Rachel Krishnan, AIA

Project Manager - Architecture, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

Rachel Krishnan, AIA

Rachel Y. Krishnan, AIA, joined PVA Architecture in 2018. Mrs. Krishnan has over twenty-five years of architectural design and construction experience with project scope ranging from private homes to large defense, government, and healthcare contracts. Five years of experience in healthcare design brought accessibility needs to the forefront of her work. With her knowledge of accessible design guidelines, Mrs. Krishnan provides technical assistance to those who are planning home renovations specifically focused on improving accessibility. She also advocates to maximize accessibility for healthcare projects serving veterans throughout the United States. Mrs. Krishnan is a licensed architect in South Carolina, with NCARB certification. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Design and a Master of Architecture from Clemson University.

Workshop: Accessible Home Design: The Basics

Logan Perkes

Management Analyst and Portfolio Disability Integration Specialist, FEMA Region 6 | Texas Integration and Recovery Office

Logan Perkes

Logan Perkes is a Portfolio Disability Integration Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6. Logan has disabilities and has worked for years helping Texans with disabilities achieve greater independence through physical rehabilitation or employment. Logan works with FEMA to ensure everyone is prepared for extreme heat, power outages, and winter storms, and she'll help you decide what to put in your emergency kit.

Workshop: Do You and Your Loved Ones Know What To Do In an Emergency?

Curt Prewitt, MS, PT, ATP

Director of Education, Ki Mobility

Curt Prewitt, MS, PT, ATP

Curt Prewitt is Director of Education for Ki Mobility. He has a BS in Exercise Physiology and an MS in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado. He practiced as a physical therapist in several settings for a few years, most prominently in long-term care, where he gained experience with seating and wheeled mobility. He transitioned from a practicing therapist to a manufacturer's representative, eventually moving into sales management and focusing on complex rehab technology. After over 18 years in the industry, he started the clinical education department at Ki Mobility in 2017. In his role as director, he has presented numerous continuing professional education courses across the US and internationally.

Workshop: What You Wish You Knew About Your Manual Wheelchair, But Were Afraid to Ask

Heather R. Price, OTR/L, ATP/SMS

Central South Regional Manager, Stealth Products

Heather R. Price, OTR/L, ATP/SMS

Heather R. Price, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, is a Regional Manager at Stealth Products. She also provides clinical education to therapists and DME providers under the Quantum Rehab education team. Previously, in clinical practice, Heather gained experience in wheelchair seating, positioning, and mobility at two nationally ranked rehab hospitals, TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. At TIRR, Heather was an Occupational Therapist on the inpatient spinal cord injury team. She gained extensive experience in custom wheelchair prescription, training, and seating and positioning. As the Wheelchair Skills and Management Specialist at SRALab, Heather helped develop a new program for inpatient clients of all ages with a variety of diagnoses. The program featured extensive wheelchair trials, evaluations, and instruction on advanced wheelchair skills.

Workshop: Maximizing Function in Joystick Driving

Andre Sam

Disability & Special Needs Project

Andre Sam

Andre Sam is a comprehensive Disability and 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

Jenny Smith

Speaker and Author, Jenny Smith Rolls On

Jenny Smith

When Jenny was 16 years old, she sustained a C6-7 spinal cord injury, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. After completing her master's degree in counseling psychology, she distributed wheelchairs for eight years in developing countries. For over 13 years, she supported cross-cultural workers as they served overseas. By coming alongside people with spinal cord injuries and chronic conditions, Jenny hopes to support and encourage others in their emotional, physical, and spiritual health as they adapt to life with a disability. She provides education, practical solutions, resources, and hope so people can live full and productive lives on her website JennySmithRollsOn.com. Rowing on the Ohio River is one way Jenny stays physically active. Reading historical fiction and writing are other hobbies she enjoys.
In her book Live the Impossible, Jenny shares her story of living with a spinal cord injury and shares her message that we can all live the impossible even when life doesn't go as planned.

Workshop: Traveling with a Disability

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