Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers
Here are 2022 Abilities Expo presenters.
Check back 3 months out to find out what's in store for 2023.
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.
Ability360 Sports and Fitness
Ability360 Sports and Fitness provides exceptional adaptive sports, recreation, aquatic, and fitness programs that promote the independence, health, and overall well-being of people with disabilities and their family members. The program is part of Ability360, a center for independent living that continues a 40-year tradition of offering and promoting programs to empower people with all disabilities to take personal responsibility so that they may achieve or continue independent lifestyles within the community.
Events: Ability360 Sports Zone
Executive Director, CDK
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 Spirit Wolves
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.
Event: Adaptive Cheer and ParaCheer
The Rollettes Los Angeles
The Rollettes Los Angeles is a team of women who have created a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient. With dance, community outreach, education programs and content creation they dazzle and push the boundaries that others place in the way. Their mission statement is: Women Empowering Women with Disabilities to Live Boundlessly and Shift Perspectives Through Dance.
Event: Dance with The Rollettes Los Angeles!
Adventure Athlete and Paralympian, No Limits Tahoe
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
WOW Wheelchair Fitness
Justin Graham, creator of WOW Wheelchair Fitness, is a Certified Personal Trainer who has been working with special needs populations since 2018. He has taught classes with the PVA, Triumph Sports Festival, Abilities 360 in Phoenix, Spina Bifida Association, and the Abilities Expo in Phoenix. His dynamic charm attracts everyone to join his wheelchair fitness classes, combining strength training with dance, pom-poms and just plain fun! Justin teaches daily classes on a virtual platform and excels at enticing even the shyest student to play along and get valuable exercise. Based in Phoenix, Justin also teaches live classes and one-on-one personal training. But it is his joyous energy that is the gift, bringing people of all ages and abilities together to dance with their peers.
Event: Wonders on Wheels Dance Workout
Mike Dooley, MBA
CEO Labrador Systems
Only a small number of consumer robots have ever sold over a million units; Mike Dooley has helped bring two of them into the world. Now he is out to do the third - and help make life better for a lot of people in the process. The first brand and product he managed from the start was LEGO MindStorms and the Robotics Invention System. MindStorms brought a new kind of hands-on, minds-on learning to millions of kids, and became LEGO's best-selling product of all time. He later joined Evolution Robotics to work on more advanced robots. In 2010 they launched a smart self-driving "Swiffer Bot" under their own brand called "Mint." While not as cool to a lot of kids as a LEGO robot, Mint was a truly breakthrough product, integrating mapping and navigation technologies at a level of performance and price the market had never seen. It was so breakthrough that in 2012 iRobot, the market leader, acquired the product - Mint became Braava and Braava became one of the best-selling floor cleaners on the market after Roomba (Roomba became a lot smarter too). Over the last few years, Mike established and led iRobot's innovation lab and worked on advanced concept and technology development. He is now building a new startup to explore pragmatic but meaningful applications for robotics in our daily lives.
Workshop: Assistive Robots: Fact and Fiction
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 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: Discover How to Pay for Everything You See Today
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: Polypharmacy: What Is It and Are You at Risk? Presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
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
Named one of the most influential women in the country in 2021 by Women & Weed Magazine, Parisa Rad is also known as "The Marijuana Momma" and is a marketing executive and Cannabis advocate whose experience as the mom of a special needs child propelled her into the industry. She helped produce the first-ever cannabis-inspired fashion line debuting at New York Fashion Week and is the co-founder of the popular Blunt Brunch event series receiving national acclaim. As an influencer in her own right, she is well connected with influential cannabis stakeholders and co-produced the standing room only Women of Cannabis conference in Las Vegas. She is the founder of MJMomma Consulting, a cannabis-focused marketing agency, partner of Fourtwenty Collections, Arizona-based edibles, and skincare line, and is the former market leader and program director for the national Women Grow organization. While with Women Grow, she was tasked with expanding the international footprint of the organization and did so by producing pop-up events throughout the country including Puerto Rico.
Entrepreneur and Disability Advocate, WHILL Ambassador
Born in Grand Rapids Michigan and raised in Pontiac Michigan, Vincent Rutley was brought up in a faith-based home. The fourth of five sons, Vincent fell in love with the arts after watching his oldest brother perform in local theater. He joined the theater program in high school and has been loving acting ever since. In 2011 Vince was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from mid-chest down. This life changing injury labeled Vince as a quadriplegic, but he never lost his love to perform. In 2014, Vincent returned to the stage and has since released two musical singles as well. Vincent is currently shifting into film, recently landing four film roles. He's looking forward to a lasting film career as a wheelchair actor and advocate.
Workshop: Back to Life, Career, and Purpose
Disability & Special Needs Project
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
Operations Director, OxyLife Hyperbarics
Nick Skov is the Operations Director for OxyLife Hyperbarics, a company that is dedicated to redefining health and wellness through the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and associated products. Nick oversees installation of chambers in clinics and residential settings. He can speak to the physical mechanics of the different types of chambers and how they function as well as reviewing HBOT research. He is Level 1 Safety Director Training certified with IBUM (International Board of Undersea Medicine) and also holds the Hyperbaric Training Certification from Hyperbaric Excellence.
Workshop: Introduction to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
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