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Powerful Role that Mentorship can Play in Supporting Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities

Derek Shields of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition

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Watch the webinar on YouTube with captions

caption of Derek Shields

Derek Shields


Derek Shields, Vice President & Co-Chair of the Mentoring Committee

The mission of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is to increase the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities across the nation. Member organizations share core values and align with the Coalition’s initiatives to streamline communication, standardize and systematize data collection, reduce duplication of efforts, increase mentoring opportunities, and improve outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities. The Coalition integrates mentoring into its own operational model to transfer historical knowledge, incorporate reverse mentoring to generate innovation and develop new opportunities for individuals with disabilities across their lifespan.

Speaker Bio: President of ForwardWorks Consulting, LLC for PolicyWorks, Derek serves as Vice President and is the Co-Chair of the Mentoring Committee that guides the Susan M. Daniels Mentorship Fund. As a Project Management Professional (PMP), Derek has experience in strategic planning, program and performance management. Former contract work included: Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program, Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Assistive Technology Training Program, the Defense Department’s Office of Family Policy and the Family Advocacy Program Office in support of their Domestic Violence and Child Abuse initiatives, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Assistive Services and Technology and projects at HUD, DOI, DOT, the State Department, the Access Board, GSA, and the VA.

Special thanks to JP Morgan Chase for making this webinar with live captioning available for free.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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