Meet the Workshop Speakers!
Here is the 2023 Abilities Expo line-up
Check back 3 months out to find out what's in store for 2024.
Meet the speakers for the Abilities Expo NY Metro 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.
Disability Advocate and Consultant
Shameka Andrews is the community outreach coordinator for the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. She is also the founder of Disability Empowered Consulting, where she provides disability workshops on self-care, self-advocacy and disability awareness. In 2006 she won the title of Ms. Wheelchair NY and has been the coordinator of the program since 2013. In 2017 she wrote her first children's book: Butterfly on Wheels. Currently she serves on the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Developmental Disability Advisory Council for OPWDD, and the NYS Human Rights Disability Committee.
Workshop: Self-Advocacy: Creating Your Own Path
J.D. Concepcion, ATP
Regional Manager, Stealth Products
J.D. Concepcion, ATP has been in the complex rehab industry since 1994. In that time, he has worked as both a provider and manufacturer of complex rehab products. Currently he is the Stealth Products Regional Manager in the Midwest and Eastern US - providing support across 20 states including the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. His experience includes product development, technical training, complex seating, alternative drive assessment and selection, programming, and fabrication. He enjoys the field of Assistive Technology and creating solutions for those with mobility impairments.
Workshop: Maximizing Function in Joystick Driving
Jay has 27 years of experience working in the field of assistive technology with a concentration on complex rehabilitation. Jay has earned his ATP and SMS certifications through RESNA. Throughout his career he has worked in both Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology environments with both adults and children.
Jay's current role with Quantum Rehab is to provide direction and leadership through company education to the Quantum field sales team, clinicians and ATP's/DME supplier representatives working in the industry. He has developed and presented a variety of educational courses around the world and ensures the Complex Rehab Industry is educated on Quantum Rehab products and their clinical benefits.
Workshops: Drivability: Features and Options to Promote Function and Independence
CEO, The National Ability Center
Danny Glasser, CEO of the National Ability Center (NAC) , is an avid supporter of charitable organizations that focus on adaptive communities as well as an experienced executive with a background in media and technology. His passion stems from having immediate family members with cognitive and physical disabilities, leading him to become an advocate for accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. His mastery in streamlining operations and pioneering revenue-generating strategies at companies like Videri and Deluxe Entertainment Services serves as a helpful addition to NAC's programming and growth objectives. Along with overseeing the NAC's daily operations and furthering the mission to provide quality outdoor recreation to people of all abilities, Danny serves on a number of board positions for several non-profit organizations, such as Chairman for the Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation, Advocacy Board Member of Frist Center for Autism and Innovation and Vice-Chairman for Exceptional Minds in Los Angeles.
Workshop: Adaptability Over Disability: Using Outdoor Recreation as a Way of Recovery
Disability Strategist and Consultant, Writer, Public Speaker, Ms. Wheelchair America 2023
Ali Ingersoll is a disability strategy consultant, Ms. Wheelchair America 2023, writer, and public speaker. She started her advocacy mission after being repeatedly denied medically necessary equipment by insurance companies over the last 12 years since becoming a C6 quadriplegic and full-time wheelchair user after a shallow water diving accident. Ali's passion lies in coaching people with disabilities on how to improve their quality of life by teaching them to self-advocate to live a life of independence, dignity, and grace. Disability inclusion in our society is a priority Ali focuses on improving every day. Ali has a firm philosophy of paying it forward by giving back to the community through working with stakeholders in the government, non-profit world, and partnering with organizations to create a more inclusive society and disability employment environment. Learn more about her at her website quirkyquad.com.
Workshop: How to Navigate the Health Insurance Appeals Process for Medically Necessary Equipment
Kelly L. Green
Executive Director, Help Hope Live
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 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, PA's Main Line region 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: Discover How to Pay for Everything You See Today
Jay Gupta, RPh, 340B ACE, 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: Finding Solutions for Multiple Medication Overload
Kristy Lacroix, Certified Accessible Travel Specialist
Founder, Wheelchair Escapes
With 29 years of hands-on travel experience for wheelchair users, Kristy helps hundreds of people achieve their accessible travel dreams. She created Wheelchair Escapes over 20 years ago to help others to travel without the obstacles that she and her husband encountered when they first started traveling with a power wheelchair back in 1993. Kristy is a proud member of the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Accessible Travel Agent Advisory Board! She holds many certifications including Certified Accessible Travel Specialist, Certified Travel Associate, and Elite Cruise Counsellor. Visit her website WheelchairEscapes.com to discover destinations, tips for planning, and how to get started planning the accessible travel of your dreams.
Workshop: Travel with a Disability? Yes, You Can!
Director of Outreach, Help Hope Live
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: Discover How to Pay for Everything You See Today
Curt Prewitt, MS, PT, ATP
Director of Education, Ki Mobility
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
Ruth Rathblott, MSW, DEI Certified, TEDx Speaker, Author
TEDx and Inspirational Speaker, Ruth Rathblott, MSW is an award-winning CEO who is committed to creating inclusion for all. Ruth was born with a limb difference and currently speaks on issues of inclusion and diversity, the gifts of being unique, the freedom of accepting your differences, and rising above life's challenges. She is a leader who has spent her entire career focused on providing opportunities for those who face obstacles. Ruth has been a leader in nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goucher College and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University. Visit her website, RuthRathblott.com, to learn more about her new book, Single Handedly: Learning to Unhide and Embrace Connection.
Workshop: The "CURE" to Inclusion
Mark Thompson, AIA
Senior Director of Architecture, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
Mark R. Thompson, AIA, is PVA's Senior 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, health care and educational markets valued more than $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.
Workshop: Accessible Home Design: The Basics