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.
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.
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.
Donald E. Clayback
Don Clayback is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART). NCART is a national association of Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) providers and manufacturers that supplies education and advocacy to ensure individuals with significant disabilities have adequate access to specialized wheelchairs, seating and positioning systems, and other adaptive equipment. In this role, he has responsibility for monitoring, analyzing, and influencing regulatory policies and legislation at both the federal and state level. Don has over 30 years of experience in the CRT and Home Medical Equipment (HME) industries and is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences.
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, 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.
Justin Graham-NASM CPT/FNS/Zumba
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!
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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)
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 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 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.
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.
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!
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 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 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.
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