Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers
Here are past Abilities Expo presenters.
Please check back 3 months before the Expo for the new schedule.
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.
Brielle is an accomplished fitness trainer and educator with many years of experience in the field of fitness and recreation. At the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, she earned a B.S. in Kinesiology with a minor in Strength & Conditioning and Wellness Promotion and a M.S. in Sports Management from East Stroudsburg University. She also is an adjunct faculty member for Arizona State University teaching courses such as Healthful Living, Introduction to Strength & Conditioning, and other physical activity courses. Brielle holds certifications in Personal Training, Group Fitness, Indoor Cycling, Insanity, Level 1 Yoga Fit, and American Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor. Brielle always finds some form of fitness/movement that works for you!
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
Christina Chambers graduated from Arizona State university with a Bachelor's of Science in Parks and Recreation Management. She took her first job as a Program Specialist at Ability360 managing the Adapted Outdoor Recreation Programs like Hiking and Rock Climbing as well as Youth based programs. In her free time she personal trains women with disabilities all over the world and teaches virtual weekly fitness classes. She loves the outdoors and traveling all over the world and empowering herself and others on how capable they truly are.
Felicia is a native Californian, Latinx, and a values-based community organizer, social entrepreneur, and cannabis patient who has been affected by the justice system. They have over two decades of experience in California's cannabis market, getting their start in both the LGBTQ liberation and the medical cannabis movements in the mid-1990s. Felicia was named one of The Advocate Magazine's 40 under 40 LGBT leaders for their work in cannabis. Felicia has consulted on numerous cannabis brands and is a trusted resource for the Autism, LGBTQ, Latinx, and disabilities communities on the potential of cannabinoid therapies.
Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT is the Director of Pharmacy & Integrative Health at a health center in New Hampshire. He is also the President of www.YogaCaps.org and www.RxRelax.com. 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.
John Morris is a thought leader in the field of accessible travel, drawing from his experience of more than one million miles flown as a wheelchair user and triple amputee. He educates people with disabilities through his accessible travel website WheelchairTravel.org – the world's largest hub for disability travel information – and advises companies through his Accessible Development Group consultancy, leading innovative public policy campaigns to promote a culture of inclusion. Known for traveling the world with one hand, a passport and his power wheelchair, he has become one of the leading advocates for accessibility and inclusion within the travel industry. John shares his vision for an open world with both travel providers and the community at large.
Kaitlyn Verfuerth is a three time Paralympian in Wheelchair tennis. At the top her game, Verfuerth was ranked 8 in the world and number 1 in the United States. Verfuerth, a dual sport athlete, just came back from the Paralympics in Tokyo this past summer competing in Paracanoe. When Verfuerth isn't training, she is teaching wheelchair tennis and working at Ability360 as a Program Specialist. Verfuerth is both a USPTA and USPTR tennis instructor. Verfuerth started a wheelchair tennis program with Ability360 in the fall of 2020, and offers weekly wheelchair tennis clinics and private lessons. Verfuerth graduated from the University of Arizona with her B.A. in Psychology. Verfuerth is currently working toward her Master's degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Recreational Therapy. Verfuerth is passionate about helping others become more independent and live a healthy-active lifestyle.
Kelly L. Green
Kelly L. Green joined Help Hope Live as its executive director in November 2017. The daughter of a transplant recipient, Kelly not only believes in the mission of Help Hope Live, 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.
In the last decade, 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!
Kendra Garcia, "The OT Strategist," is Amazon's #1 bestselling author of the book Life Beyond the Diagnosis. She is a public speaker, coach, Huffington Post/Autism Parenting Magazine contributor, Special Education parent consultant, autism mom, and advocate. She works as a pediatric-adult occupational therapy provider. Follow Kendra on Social media @The OT Strategist
Lenny M. Ovadia
Lenny M. Ovadia was introduced to the Mobility Industry in 2010 after first reading the book "Rise Above", authored by Ralph W. Braun, founder of Braunability, and the leading manufacturer of mobility products around the world. Lenny has most recently been nominated to receive the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame "Copper Eagle Award" for his work with Veterans and creator of the "Family First" program, benefitting families who have loved ones with disabilities. He currently serves as manager of the Ability Center of Phoenix, specializing in wheelchair accessible vehicles, lifts, scooters, specialized seating, adaptive equipment, service, high-tech installations and more.
Linda Bollinger joined the Sunrise Medical team in the fall of 2018 as a Clinical Education Manager. She has a BS-MS in physical therapy from Long Island University, Brooklyn. In May 2018, she earned her DPT from Utica College. In addition, she received her ATP certification in 2000. Prior to joining the Sunrise Medical team, Linda was the Director of Rehabilitation at Long Island Select Healthcare. Her previous experience includes successfully creating a pediatric seating and positioning clinic at a local school for students with disabilities and developing and operating a seating and mobility clinic for individuals with disabilities at UCP Long Island. Linda has shared her knowledge and experience providing seating, positioning, and mobility services local community events, guest lectures with local PT and OT programs, and regional conferences. In fall 2020, she became the West Coast Pediatric Sales Specialist at Sunrise. She brings her experience treating and positioning children with complex rehab needs to her role in supporting Leckey Positioning equipment.
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 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.
Mickae Lee has been rooted in the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) community for 14 years. For the past 9 years, she has had the honor of working for the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (www.ncart.us) where she is currently serving as Associate Director. She is passionate about ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to the equipment they need and is privileged to work alongside consumer advocacy organizations, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, clinicians, and consumers to advocate for needed legislative and policy changes for CRT.
Miranda Vaughn is a Program Specialist and Recreational Therapist at Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center. Miranda has a BS in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from CSU Sacramento. She assists with Ability360's Adaptive golf program, Tennis360, and Pickleball. Miranda also teaches Tabata both in and out of the water! She has a passion for motivating individuals to become the best version of themselves!
Mskindness B. Ramirez
Industry Veteran & Master Educator Mskindness B. Ramirez, leads with both her given name and a calling. She is the CEO of Club Kindness TV, the Founder of EBK Apothecary, and the Author of a series of children's books written to inspire multigenerational conversations around Cannabis. Fueled with over 20+ years of pedagogical practice and passion, Mskindness lends her skills to the Cannabis community and wellness spaces beyond. She is a trusted organizer with the Social Impact Center.
I am an independent contractor who creates functional and decorative projects for individuals with a wide variety of abilities. I have created programs for those from the ages of 4 to 104 for the past 22 years.
I have experience working with:
- Seniors in retirement communities (all levels, including dementia units);
- People with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges;
- Clients of other service organizations (e.g., mental health support groups, homeless shelters, child care providers, etc.)
Types of projects: All projects will incorporate social and racial justice themes as well as kindness, diversity and healing.
Recycled Art Appreciation: Using information about well-known artists and their art, individuals will use recycled materials to create new and unique projects.
Art and Recyclables: Individuals will create original functional and decorative projects using recycled and decorative materials.
For more information about class cost or to book Samantha, contact them at 480-490-8511 or email@example.com
Sarah Kesty is an author, educator, and host of the Executive Function Podcast. Sarah is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and prides herself in translating research into practice in her classroom and her coaching business. She regularly writes for publications such as KQED and the George Lucas Foundation's Edutopia and wrote the children's book, "Everyone Has Something: Together We Can." Sarah lives with a rare disease called Charcot Marie Tooth, and she is on the advisory board for the CMTA to help children and families with CMT. She lives in San Diego with her husband, cat, and chickens.
Sarah Marshall, founder of TravelAble, is an autism mom and a Certified Autism Travel Professional with a mission to empower families to live adventurously. In 2009, her journey was redefined by the very premature birth of her son while stationed overseas. This experience, and the subsequent navigation through medical and cognitive diagnoses and challenges, taught Sarah and her family first-hand the trials and tribulations of traveling while caring for their son.
From that first adventure, Sarah and her family never stopped exploring the world. And after many trips where tears turned to smiles, Sarah set out on a mission to give every family, regardless of need, a chance to experience this kind of transformation through custom designed extraordinary vacations!
In 2018, Sarah founded TravelAble, a full service travel agency and disability travel advocacy business. TravelAble has a revolutionary consultation process, taking a family's unique concerns and designing an individualized and custom travel plan so that the whole family can make vacation memories to last a lifetime. She is also a sought-after speaker on Autism travel and is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Family Travel Association (FTA). To learn more and book a complimentary call, visit her website at https://www.travelablevacations.com
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.
Spin the Globe creator Sylvia Longmire is a service-disabled veteran, mother, author, consultant, entrepreneur, world traveler, and Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016. She traveled extensively from an early age and during her time as an Air Force officer and Special Agent. After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005, her ability to walk started to deteriorate. Sylvia learned how to travel with a walker, and eventually with an electric scooter. Her work as a consultant has taken her all across the United States, and her addiction to leisure travel has taken her (and her scooter) as far as the deserts of Dubai and the glaciers of Alaska. She often travels alone, and is continually invigorated by the kindness and offers of help from strangers in every corner of this beautiful world. As long as her wallet allows, Sylvia is knocking both domestic and international destinations off her bucket list as quickly as she can! She chooses her destinations based on their levels of wheelchair accessibility, as well as whether she'll be able to travel there alone or need a companion. Her goals are twofold: to educate people at home and abroad about the needs - and capabilities - of disabled travelers, and to encourage people with disabilities to leave their fears behind and seek adventure!
Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT500 is a social worker, nonprofit leader, national speaker and nationally certified educator of yoga teachers. She is the Executive Director of www.YogaCaps.org and the Managing Director of www.RxRelax.com. 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.