Los Angeles

February 21 - 23, 2020

Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall A

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

Register for Free

Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers

For the Abilities Expo workshop series, we select presenters 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. 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.

Sofia Bravo

Product Manager at Wheel the World

Sofia is an outdoor lover with more than 8 years of experience in brands and retail looking to create the most customer-oriented products and services. Now working actively at Wheel the World, making the most beautiful outdoors routes of the US, accessible for all. She holds a Bachelor in Design & a Marketing diploma.

Workshop: Saturday @ 11:45am, Travelling off the Beaten Path – Make the World Accessible

Dr. Brandie M. Cross, PhD

The Pot Lab

Brandie CrossDr. Brandie M. Cross, PhD began forming The Pot Lab during her final year at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine in the Department of Physiology as a Biochemistry Cell and Molecular Biology PhD candidate and the Thomas J. Kelly Scholar. She garnered several awards from The Biophysical Society, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and resulted in a publication in the competitive, open-source peer-reviewed science journal PLOS-ONE and other first- author publications. Dr. Cross founded the lab with over 10 years of experience in academic, clinical and industry laboratories. Her authoritative innovation and compassionate imagination for eco-friendly formulation, has driven the cooperative to the highest prestige. In her first year at The Pot Lab, she has developed nine market products for the cooperative, including nine OTC , hemp seed oil  products, and numerous projects in the pipeline. Their management philosophy is to "…apply creative solutions to logical problems and manifest logic in the creative process."

Workshop: Sunday @ 2:30pm, The A List: Raw Hemp Alleviates Multiple Conditions at Dietary Levels

Felicia Carbajal

Felicia Carbajal

California Cannabis Advocates

Felicia is a long-time cannabis patient, a patient advocate, cannabis educator, activist, and community organizer. While holding such positions as patient access director, collective operations manager, patient liaison/community engagement coordinator she realized the need for more accountability for the medicine with education being the key. Having worked with countless California patients, caregivers, dispensaries and cannabis industry investors to find the best methods to ensure patients get knowledgeable information, quality medicine, and that compassion remains in California Compassionate Use Act. In 2013 she was honored by being named one of The Advocate Magazine's 40 under 40 LGBT leaders for her work in Cannabis.

Workshop: Friday @ 2:30pm, Cannabis 101: A Beginners Guide

Kendra Garcia, COTA/L, ECHM

"The OT Strategist"

Kendra Garcia, COTA/L, ECHMKendra Garcia COTA/L, ECHM, "The OT Strategist" is an Amazon's #1 bestselling author of the book Life beyond the Diagnosis. She works as a pediatric-adult occupational therapy provider, Autism mom-advocate. She is also a home modification consultant, public speaker, Autism parenting expert/coach and contributor for the Huffington post & Autism Parenting Magazine. You can connect with Kendra at MediaRelations@KendraGarcia.TV and on social media at @TheOTStrategist on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Workshop: Friday @ 3:45pm, 4 Keys to Maintain Sexual Intimacy After an Injury

Mayra Fornos

Mayra Fornos

Fornos Law Firm

Mayra Fornos is the founder of Fornos Law Firm in Los Angeles. For the past 26 years, Ms. Fornos has been representing and advocating for individuals who have sustained severe life-altering injuries, as well as those who have been discriminated against, harassed or abused.

Fornos Law Firm has been selected for the inclusion in US News & World Report, "Best Law Firms" in the areas of Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. Since 2011, Ms. Fornos has been listed in "Best Lawyers in America" and has been recognized as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers" as well as recognition by the Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Southern California as published in February 2018. In addition, Ms. Fornos has been listed in the Los Angeles Magazine as one of "Los Angeles Women Leaders In The Law".

In 2017 Ms. Fornos was the recipient of the Chairpersons Award from the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities for her legal work for the severely injured and disabled. Ms. Fornos is a past recipient of the "2011 Woman of the Year Award" from the Westside Women's Network and was honored with the "Ed Roberts Independent Living Award" from the Dale McIntosh Center for her work with individuals with spinal cord injuries. She is a past nominee of the "Advocate of the Year Award" by the Consumer Attorneys of California Women's Caucus, as well as a recipient of the President's Award from the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, where she served as Vice Chair of the Legislation Committee. In 2014, she was a recipient of Los Angeles Business Journal's "Women Making A Difference Award".

Workshop: Saturday @ 3:45pm, Legal Issues for People with Disabilities

Debra Kerper

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.

Workshop: Sunday @ 11:45am, Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Maureen McIntyre

Chief Customer Service Section, California Department of Rehabilitation

Maureen McIntyre Bio PhotoMaureen McIntyre is Chief of the Customer Service Section of the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) which includes the Department's exemplary Mobility Evaluation Program. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University. She has been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor since 1993

Although her career with the DOR has provided her with a wide variety of experiences, she is most proud of her stint as the Rehabilitation Supervisor of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center's vocational rehabilitation program; which was the result of a cooperation agreement between DOR and Los Angeles County, designed to start the rehabilitation process with individuals who were newly injured.

Workshop: Friday @ 11:45am, How the Department of Rehab can help with Job Placement

Kathy Martinez

Kathy Martinez

Senior Vice President, Disability Segment Market Brand & Strategy, Enterprise Marketing, Wells Fargo

Kathy Martinez is the head of disability and accessibility strategy at Wells Fargo. In this role, she oversees the development and execution of enterprise business and marketing strategies supporting people with disabilities and their families.  She is focused on delivering an experience that recognizes disability as a natural part of the human condition and helping people with disabilities fully engage with the bank to succeed financially. Working with business leaders across Wells Fargo and across the industry, Martinez defines internal and external strategies related to online and physical accessibility, hiring and promotion of team members with disabilities, national non-profit partnership programs, and disability-owned suppliers.

Martinez joined Wells Fargo in March of 2015 from the U.S. Department of Labor where she served as the assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Martinez led ODEP in putting policy priorities into practice through several innovative grant programs.  These include Add Us In, through which a nationwide consortia worked to increase the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities. The grant program also included the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program, through which several states received support to promote community-based, integrated employment as the primary outcome for people with significant disabilities.    

A graduate of San Francisco State University, Martinez speaks and publishes on a wide array of topics related to disability employment, including the emergence of disability as an essential component of workplace diversity and inclusion and the importance of expectation in ensuring youth with disabilities grow up with an assumption of work—a topic on which Martinez, who herself was born blind, offers compelling and personal perspective.

Camilo Navarro

Co-Founder of Wheel the World

Camilo NavarroCamilo is a social entrepreneur, nature and outdoor lover. He led the first expedition to conquer the famous W circuit, Torres del Paine Park, in the Chilean Patagonia with a wheelchair user for the first time in history, which ended up in the creation of Wheel the World, an organization with the purpose to empower people with disabilities to explore without limits.

Camilo created an online platform (gowheeeltheworld.com) in which more than 450 people with and without disabilities have booked trips, allowing them to explore places they never thought were possible to access. He has also produced 6 Epic Documentaries about accessible traveling.

Camilo holds a Bachelor in Business and Administration with minor in Project Evaluation, Entrepreneurship & Project Management from UC Berkeley.

Workshop: Saturday @ 11:45am, Travelling off the Beaten Path – Make the World Accessible

Dr. Linda Shultz

Dr. Linda M. Schultz (Nurse Linda)

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN is a leader and provider of rehabilitation nursing for 40 years, most recently developing Activity Based Rehabilitation strategies. She has directed programs at an international level including the Christopher Reeve recovery project at Washington University in St. Louis. She is certified by the Association of Rehabilitation Registered Nurses. Dr. Schultz writes the interactive Ask a Nurse Blog, an evidence-based community forum, conducts monthly international webinars hosting discussions and questions from individuals with paralysis and has created emergency pocket cards concerning the topics of sepsis and Autonomic Dysreflexia, in coordination with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation. As a researcher, Dr. Schultz focuses on the concepts of promoting bladder and bowel continence and skin integrity. She has completed a national analysis of urinary continence in the elderly population utilizing NIH data. The results of these findings have been used to establish protocols by the AHCPR.

Workshop: Saturday @ 1:00pm, Critical Situations for People with SCI

Robert Shumate

Robert Shumate

Branch Manager-Villa Park California, Consumer Banking, Wells Fargo

Robert Shumate is a Branch Manager in Villa Park California as well as the chair of the Orange County Diverse Abilities Team Member Network. He is responsible for managing a team of 14 while also working closely with the community. Robert joined Wells Fargo in 2005 as a phone banker in the Santa Ana Call center. Robert obtained a B.A. in History from California State University of Fullerton in Fullerton, CA. Robert currently serves on the board of the Eddie Nash Foundation for foster youth and the Villa Park Rotary and regularly volunteers with numerous nonprofits throughout the community. Robert is also the chapter chair for the Orange County Diverse Abilities Team Member network where he works to bring awareness around Diverse Abilities within and outside of the company.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson, AIA

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Mark R. Thompson, AIA, is PVA's Associate Director of Architecture Services. He joined PVA in 2016 after thirty years of private sector architectural design and construction experience as a lead project designer, business owner and real estate developer. Mr. Thompson developed his architectural expertise delivering public and private projects in the commercial, healthcare and educational markets valued in excess of $800 million.

Since being with PVA, Mr. Thompson has successfully advocated to maximize accessibility on multi-family housing, commercial, 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. Thompson is a licensed architect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture from Oklahoma State University.

Workshop:  Friday @ 1:00pm, Accessible Home Design

Bonnie Wallace

Bonnie Wallace

Vice President, Channel Manager, Hands on Banking, Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion & Strategic Philanthropy, Wells Fargo

Vice President, Channel Manager, Hands on Banking, Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion & Strategic Philanthropy, Wells Fargo
Bonnie Wallace is the Vice President and Channel Manager for Wells Fargo's Hands on Banking® program, an award-winning program that provides free financial education, tools and resources to children, teens, adults, seniors, military and entrepreneurs throughout the company's national footprint.  In this role, she works to improve the financial capabilities of underserved and unbanked communities through strategic partnerships with nonprofit and government organizations.

With 22 years in Financial Services, Bonnie's background includes diversified experience in strategy development, business development, product development, marketing, sales, operations management, process improvement, and training.Bonnie holds a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Effectiveness from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Bonnie lives in Buffalo, New York where she enjoys outdoor adventures, volunteering and cooking.    

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