Abilities Virtual Experience

March 26-May 2, 2021

Online Globally

Show dates: March 26-27, 2021

Post-show dates: March 28 - May 2, 2021

Register for Free

Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers

In order to bring you a stellar conference program, we have selected presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the community as the issues they are addressing. Their accomplishments of our speakers 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.


BEAT Bio Photo

We are BEAT. Bridging Education & Art Together.

‍BEAT is an arts non-profit located in Queens, NY that believes in the transformative power of Hip Hop to uplift and heal our bodies and minds. Our mission is to empower underserved youth and communities through creative expression. All of BEAT's instructors are top-industry professionals who share our passion to promote overall wellness and positive influence through our four main programs: BEAT Rockers (Music and Speech), BEAT Breakers (Breakin'/Street Style Dance), BEAT Explorers (Music Production and Lyricism), and BEAT Letters (Visual Arts). Our goal is to unleash the creative potential of all, regardless of their background or intellectual/physical ability.

Check us Out:
YouTube: Link
Facebook: @BEATGlobal
Vimeo: Link
Instagram: @beatglobal
Twitter: @BEATGlobal_
TikTok: @beatglobal

Sasha Ross Becker

Sasha Ross Becker Bio Photo

Sasha Ross Becker was born and raised in the hills of Middlesex, Vermont. She is currently living in Brooklyn, NY following her career path of graphic design and music at Manhattan School of Music. She has also worked as a performing artist, through theatrical/dance performances to professional musicianship.

Felicia Carbajal

Felicia Carbajal Bio Photo

Felicia is a Los Angeles based organizer, strategist and social entrepreneur with over two decades of movement building experience within intersectional communities. For over the last decade they have been a leader in the medical cannabis movement drawing upon their own experience as a patient to assist communities.

Nanette De Cillis

Nanette De Cillis Bio Photo

Jessica De La Rosa, raised by a disabled mother, was made aware very early in her childhood that there is no such thing as 'can't' and was always motivated and determined to get things done. She believes in living limitlessly, and is a college graduate, artist, dancer, former competitive rower, an avid sportswoman, and Ms. Wheelchair New York 2016, Jessica remains active in advocacy, mentoring others with disabilities to live life to the fullest. With ZCO, she has most recently started dancing with her partner, which has brought them closer together. She currently works for a independent living center assisting people with disabilities.

Jessica De La Rosa

Jessica De La Rosa Bio Photo

Steve Ewell is the executive director of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on linking seniors and people with disabilities with technology that enhances their lives. Their programs use technology to enable people to live connected, healthy and independent lives at work, home and play.

Steve Ewell

Steve Ewell Bio Photo

Steve Ewell is the executive director of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on linking seniors and people with disabilities with technology that enhances their lives. Their programs use technology to enable people to live connected, healthy and independent lives at work, home and play.

Fatimah Fakhoury

Fatimah Fakhoury Bio Photo

Fatimah Fakhoury, MS RDN CDN is the founder of the Paralysis Nutrition Program and author of The Paralysis Nutrition Cookbook: 101 Recipes to Help You Lose Weight & Improve Bowel Issues. A Registered Dietitian and firm believer in the power of health eating, she was inspired by her husband, Ray, who is quadriplegic, to focus on providing services specifically to people living with paralysis and spinal cord injury, who have unique nutritional needs and concerns. An amateur yogi and passionate home cook, Fatimah lives in New York with her husband and two young children.

Millie Gonzalez

Millie Gonzalez Bio Photo

Millie Gonzalez has been a dancer with ZCO/Dance Project since 2014. She has choreographed and performed various styles of dance for a variety of audiences in New York and New Jersey. Millie is a founding member of Shimmy Sisters and has performed with the Heidi Latsky Dance Company (HLD). Her dance career highlights include performing at the New Jersey (NJDPP) and New York Disability Pride Parades; participation in AXIS and Full Radius Dance companies' summer intensive trainings; performing HLD's On Display at the United Nations in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and being featured in Amro Arida's video of On Display in Times Square; and training with Infinity Dance Company. Outside of the studio, Millie is co-founder of the New Jersey Disability Collective; board president for the national Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies; board chair, retreat organizer and program developer for the Spina Bifida Resource Network; and vice board chair for the Alliance Center for Independence, host of the annual NJDPP. Millie is a communication strategist, writer, editor and event planner with nearly 20 years of experience. A certified peer mentor with United Spinal and member of the ADA Trainer Leadership Network, she is a disability consultant, trainer and speaker. Named Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2019 with her platform, #LiveFiercely through Self-Care, Millie is one of only 30 honorees of Diversability's national D-30 Disability Impact List.

Justin Graham-NASM CPT/FNS/Zumba

Justin Graham-NASM CPT/FNS/Zumba Bio Photo

Justin has lost over 100lbs and knows that the secret to Healthy Happiness is to make fitness fun! Justin is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Certified Zumba Instructor. With specializations in weight management, strength training, mental toughness and behavior change, Justin leads by example, provides knowledgeable feedback, and shares his fun contagious energy in every workout!

Kristin Hartness

Kristin Hartness Bio Photo

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993, Kristin has used a number of tools for independence.  She has been a service dog partner since April 2001, (the best tool ever) – and it changed her personal life and professional career.  She never looked back.

Kristin started public speaking in New England and quickly expanded across the country.  Expanding awareness and acceptance of service dogs while providing scholarships assisting children obtaining these amazing tools, is a dream job tailor made for her.  The goal of her presentations is 2 fold: first to help people understand service dogs, why they are used, how they are used and how the American with Disabilities Act allows for them to be in public places other dogs cannot be; second to help those who might wish to use service animals to help overcome their disabilities find facilities who can train animals specifically for them.  Kristin works to meet audiences where they are, changing her style to encourage knowledge and discourage fear and miscommunication with audiences ranging from ages 6 to 96.
Each opportunity is energizing and even though Kristin has spoken at hundreds of schools, Lions clubs, Rotary Clubs, Church groups, synagogues, business meetings, police trainings and more, she looks forward to the next opportunity.

Kristin is currently partnered with her 3rd service dog, Asha, a 9 year old smooth coat collie.

José Hernandez

José Hernandez Bio Photo

José Hernandez is a C-5 quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury sustained when he was 15 years old. After his injury he developed a passion for mentoring others with similar disabilities, including individuals in nursing homes and in rehabilitation centers. In 2011, Jose had the opportunity to go to Washington DC as part of United Spinal's Roll On Capitol Hill annual event. This trip ignited an interest in advocacy, and he has been back to DC frequently as well as advocating on state and city issues. He is currently the NYC Advocacy Coordinator for United Spinal Association and the President of United Spinal's New York City chapter. In 2019, Jose was appointed by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to be a Commissioner of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission to ensure that the city includes individuals with disabilities in all aspects of civic engagement.

Christi Hoehn

Christi Hoehn Bio Photo

Christi Hoehn is a home chef and entrepreneur and building a brand around her passion for table grilling! She's a bilateral below knee amputee and is currently training for her first 5k wheelchair race as well as getting fitted for prosthetics for the first time in 15 years!

Emma Hoehn

Emma Hoehn Bio Photo

Emma is Christi's daughter and a senior in high school. She's currently busy with her AP courses, applying for colleges, and has just signed a development deal with a record label! She loves art as well as cooking and baking.

Miranda Kennedy

Miranda Kennedy Bio Photo

Miranda Kennedy is the Director of the ABLE National Resource Center, (ABLE NRC), the leading, comprehensive source of objective, independent information about federal and state-related ABLE programs and activities, including guidance on tax-advantaged ABLE savings accounts. Miranda and her team bring together the investment, support and resources of some of the country's largest and most influential national disability organizations to accelerate the design and availability of ABLE accounts to meet the needs of millions of individuals with disabilities and their families. Prior to ABLE NRC, Miranda was Director of Training for the Disability Employment Initiative and Disability Program Navigator Initiative, funded by U.S. Department of Labor, increasing the capacity of the public workforce system to serve and achieve integrated, competitive employment outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. Miranda holds a master's degree in Public Policy from the University of Denver and lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her two children and rescue dog.

Sarah Kesty

Sarah Kesty Bio Photo

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.

Angie Kiger, M.Ed., CTRS, ATP/SMS

Angie Kiger, M.Ed., CTRS, ATP/SMS Bio Photo

Angie is the Clinical Strategy and Education Manager for Sunrise Medical United States (US). She earned a Master of Education degree in Assistive Technology from George Mason University. Angie is an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), Seating and Mobility Specialist (SMS), and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Angie has over 20 years of experience working in the field of assistive technology. Prior to joining the Sunrise Medical team in 2012, she worked with infants, children, and adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In addition to working as a clinician, Angie has served as an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and presented at numerous industry conferences in the US and abroad.

Mara Kimowitz

Mara Kimowitz Bio Photo

Mara Kimowitz is the creator & CEO of StretchSource, a personalized flexibility training program designed to improve an individual's flexibility, range of motion, increase circulation, decrease the body's stress levels and prevent injuries. An author and professionally trained dancer with extensive experience in physical therapy, Gyrotonic, and Pilates, Mara provides individuals the opportunity to engage in daily activities without any physical limitations or discomfort by improving their flexibility and reducing muscle tension.

As a Provider, Mara creates StretchSource System Certification programs for the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), Athletic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is the Educational Advisory Board member at MedFit and a sought-after Thought Leader for Thrive Morris at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

Leslie Krongold, Ed.D.

Leslie Krongold, Ed.D. Bio Photo

Diagnosed in her mid-30s with myotonic dystrophy, Leslie soon became a support group facilitator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Northern California. Years later as Outreach Director for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, Leslie launched an international program of support groups and trained peer facilitators. Five years ago, Leslie began her podcast journey with Glass Half Full targeted toward people living with chronic health conditions and/or disability.

Cory Lee

Cory Lee Bio Photo

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He has traveled across all 7 continents in his wheelchair, while managing to run his travel blog CurbFreeWithCoryLee.com, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others. Cory's blog has received the prestigious Webby Award for Best Personal Blog and 2 Lowell Thomas Awards for Best Travel Blog. He was also named New Mobility Magazine's 2018 Person of the Year. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Website: Curb Free with Cory Lee (https://CurbFreeWithCoryLee.com)
Email: curbfreecorylee@gmail.com
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/CurbFree
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/curbfreecorylee
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/coryleetweets

KR Liu

KR Liu Bio Photo

KR was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, and has spent over two decades of her career being a strong advocate amplifying the voices of the disability community.  She's been invited to speak at the White House, the United Nations, and on Capitol Hill to push for a more inclusive world for all.

She's been awarded a U.S. Congressional award; 2019 Future Women's Leader by Yahoo Finance, Silicon Valley's Top 40 Under 40 and Women of Influence for her work in accessibility and inclusive design. She sits on multiple boards such as Deaf Kids Code, Consumer Technology Association Foundation, and The American Association for People with Disabilities.  As the Head of Brand Accessibility at Google, her role is to help Google's products, marketing, and storytelling be as accessible and inclusive of disabled people as possible.

John Morris

John Morris Bio Photo

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, advises companies through his Accessible Development Group consultancy, and leads innovative public policy campaigns with the goal of creating 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.

Sonny Mullen

Sonny Mullen Bio Photo

Sonny Mullen is the Outreach Manager for Help Hope Live. She joined the Help Hope Live staff over four years ago after a career in television in New York City. Sonny has a personal tie to Help Hope Live's mission and loves meeting different families from across the country and hearing their stories.

Zazel-Chavah O'Garra

Zazel-Chavah O'Garra

Zazel-Chavah O'Garra is the founder and Artistic Director of ZCO/DANCEPROJECT-a physically integrated dance company.

Zazel attended the University of Michigan and Empire State College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in dance performance. A Presidential Arts Scholar, she performed with Mark Dendy Dance Company and Alvin Ailey Wksp II, as well as performing Off-Broadway and in numerous musical theatre stage productions in the U.S. and abroad. She has also served as movement coach for the soap opera for "As the World Turns". As a professional model, she has appeared on two Essence Magazine covers and several other print and runway jobs. She also appeared in national, regional commercial industrials and supplied voice overs for a number of ads.

In December 2001, Zazel discovered that she had meningioma, a benign brain tumor, which proceeded to paralyze her right side and resulted in a slight speech impediment and cognitive loss. Zazel is the recipient of the VSA-John F. Kennedy- National Teaching Artist fellowship and was named the inaugural member of the White House Disability Liaison 2014.

Zazel is featured in the "The Bigger Plans Project", a visual art piece which celebrates a journey of self-discovery through music, art, dance and fashion. Directed by Lachi (legally blind recording artist, writer and co-produced by Angela Bianchi (Italy)—founder of Virgoimage consultant. Zazel holds an MSW from Fordham University and is a member of SAG-AFTRA, EQUITY.

Noor Pervez

Noor Pervez Bio Photo

Noor Pervez is a disability activist and community organizer working at the intersection of faith, disability, race, LGBT+ issues, reproductive justice and eating disorders. He is employed as the community engagement coordinator for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). Noor is a student organizer turned broader community activist. Noor has bylines at Disability Visibility Project and Rooted in Rights, and has presented at a variety of conferences and universities on the intersections of the communities he is a part of and works alongside.

Wendy Ann Powell

Wendy Ann Powell Bio Photo

Wendy Ann Powell, an only child was born in Brooklyn, NY and is the daughter of Colombian-born father Yecid Oviedo Gutierrez and America-born mother Amelia Martin. Wendy attended Public Schools and studied dance at Brooklyn College. Upon leaving Brooklyn College she studied and performed with Dance June Lewis & Company. In addition, Wendy was an original member of Ayitia la Dance Company, Dance Danamaria and has performed with Alden Moves Dance Theater in an immersive version of the Nutcracker. Over the years Wendy has performed for elected officials, religious institutions, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions and senior citizen centers. As a Girl Scout co-leader she has taught dance workshops to Daises and Brownies. In the past, she has also conducted workshops for Girl Scout Cadets and mentored various Girl Scout dance projects. Moreover, in 2015, she was invited to perform by National Teaching Artist, Margaret Elaine Plaza of Omega Dance Company. Ms. Powell is also a 2016 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant recipient for the project, Beat the Drum for Haiti.

Wendy is also a performing artist with Agoci Dance Company as well as a certified Zumba instructor. Additionally, she is attending City College as a Theatre major where she was awarded the Alexandria Desantis and Southern Nevada Alumni Chapter Scholarships. She is the proud mother of two daughters and one son. Her husband, formally a successful song writer is former a New York State Committeeman official.

Colleen Roche

Colleen Roche Bio Photo

Colleen Roche is a certified information and referral specialist and health and wellness consultant. For nearly 20 years, she has been committed to raising awareness of, and increasing access to domestic violence and abuse-related services for disabled people. Certified by the New Jersey Victim Assistance Academy, Colleen has developed and regularly delivers trainings and presentations to individuals with disabilities, healthcare providers and other allied professionals on a variety of topics including violence and abuse, emergency preparedness and health and wellness. She is the Board Chair for the Alliance Center for Independence, Treasurer for the NJ Statewide Independent Living Council and Vice Chair of the NJ Personal Assistance Services Advisory Council. 

Colleen joined ZCO in 2014 and is thankful to be a part of a company committed to making dance accessible to all. She dances as a form of self-expression and relationship building and is also a member of Shimmy Sisters a modern belly dance troupe. 

Gianna Rojas

Gianna Rojas Bio Photo

Meet Gianna Rojas, Oak Ridge, NJ, known globally as the "One Handed Lady Golfer". Ten years ago, Gianna was finding it difficult to meet her own needs when seeking information about Adaptive Golf. There was no one readily available that had taught someone with no fingers to swing much less play the game, so she decided to do something about it.  Gianna turned her birth defect into a powerful tool to inspire others to play a game she truly loves.

In 2017, Gianna Founded, ADAPTIVE GOLFERS. ADAPTIVE GOLFERS mission is to help empower individuals with different (not dis) ABILITIES to take equity in their health and improve the quality of life mind, body, and soul through Adaptive Golf. They provide adaptive golf resources, programs, clinics, training, and equipment to individuals with all different ABILITIES as a form of therapeutic activity. Adaptive Golf Therapy!

Donna Russo

Donna Russo Bio Photo

Donna comes from a background in dance starting at 10 years old. She is a graduate from Mercyhurst University with a B.A. in Dance. Currently, Donna has two unrelated conditions FSH Muscular Dystrophy and Turner Syndrome. It is an honor to be Dancing with ZCO Dance Project. You can also see Donna Dancing in the award winning Donna On The Go series on YouTube.

Laurie Schaller

Laurie Schaller Bio Photo

Laurie Schaller is a Manager of Financial Empowerment at National Disability Institute (NDI). Laurie manages and coordinates activities and builds partnerships with federal, state and local community leaders with an emphasis on expanding the mission of NDI. Laurie serves as a subject matter expert on ABLE for the ABLE National Resource Center and manages the NDI Assistive Technology Loan Program in New Jersey and New York. She is as a subject matter expert on the public workforce system, Social Security Disability benefits planning and financial education and coaching. Prior to joining NDI, Laurie was as a credit and housing counselor, directed a micro-lending program, and served as a navigator with the NYStateofHealth marketplace. She also worked as a Disability Resource Coordinator for the State of New York. Laurie is certified as a Community Work Incentives Counselor, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community and Human Services from Empire State College.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson Bio Photo

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.

Amanda Trott and Kalena Brown

Amanda Trott and Kalena Brown Bio Photo

Amanda Trott and Kalena Brown have been working at Center for Modern Dance Education for the past 5 years. Together, they teach a modern dance class for teens and adults with disabilities. The Center seeks, through quality dance programs, to nurture talent and instill confidence in every student, and to preserve the legacy of modern dance and nurture its future. CMDE is a member of Dance New Jersey and the National Guild of Community Arts Education. CMDE is a current recipient of a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Amanda Trott and Kalena Brown continue to teach at Center For Modern Dance Education and give back to the dance community.

Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!

Sign up for the Abilities Buzz

Stay in the know on disability news and info.