Fellowship Applicants Welcome
Rockville, Md., May 25 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, is pleased to announce the hiring of Christopher Trujillo as its new National Leadership Director.
Prior to joining RespectAbility, Trujillo worked at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) as the Member Development Specialist. He managed the recruitment process, was responsible for generating new member revenue, developed recruitment matrixes, processes and strategies, and presented at various conferences nationwide. Before joining GEO, he worked at the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (GEO) as Senior Coordinator of Chapter Development where he served as a coach and mentor to high achieving scholars at universities and community colleges.
Trujillo is a trained educator and holds a bachelor’s degree in visual art studies and a minor in professional development from the University of North Texas. The youngest of 12 children, he has a sibling with developmental disabilities and an aunt with Cerebral Palsy.
Trujillo is excited about serving at RespectAbility, as he will have the opportunity to work with Fellows who are interested in impacting the lives of people with disabilities.
“As a person of color with a learning disability, I know how hard it can be finding a place to fit in,” Trujillo said.“Being part of the RespectAbility team will provide a platform for me to help educate, train and mentor others, fight stigma and inequalities, increase diversity in the disability community and create new opportunities for others like me.”
Said RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, “We had an exhaustive national search for someone with the highest skills, integrity, passion and vision. We are honored and delighted that Trujillo will take the reins of our National Leadership Program. He is an ideal role model and professional to recruit and train young leaders who are committed to people with disabilities and who want to go into public service, media and advocacy. Trujillo will enable leaders to achieve their dreams – while building a diverse talent pipeline for the disability movement.”
Graduates of the program have gone on to work for the White House, think tanks and in public affairs and advocacy, as well as to numerous high-level law schools and masters programs for public policy.
The Fellowship is supported by the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation, which enabled the Fellowship to hire its first Director in 2015, as well as the Ford Foundation, whose grant now enables RespectAbility to include more participants with multiple minority status and/or low-income candidates who cannot afford unpaid Washington internships.
RespectAbility is accepting applications from potential Fellows to serve within the National Leadership Program. There are several fellowship opportunities:
- Public Policy/Employment
- Communications/Diversity in Film & Television
- Program Development/Fundraising
- Faith Inclusion
Trujillo works directly with Fellows to provide them with professional work experiences and resources that will support their career goals and simultaneously advance RespectAbility’s mission. He is responsible for recruiting qualified Fellows, providing training related to their skills development (e.g., writing, research, computer, networking, social media, public speaking, resume writing), and working with Fellows to organize relevant presentations and special events. In addition, he serves as a mentor to aid in the Fellows’ completion of assigned tasks and assists graduates of the program with securing employment and/or entrance to graduate schools.
The National Leadership Program has three cohorts of Fellows – in the fall, spring and summer – for a total of at least 24 Fellows. There are rolling admissions for each cohort. Currently, fall 2017 Fellowship applications are being accepted.
All participants will be trained in advocacy, media and leadership; they will learn how to communicate successfully with people who hold leadership positions in government, commerce or the disability advocacy field. With assistance from the Director, fellows will work with the other professional staff members on various projects throughout the organization, including in employment advocacy, faith inclusion, stigma reduction and development.
“Our fellowship program continues to thrive,” Mizrahi said. “To date, we have had more than 80 fellows, half of whom self identify as a person with a disability, half of whom do not but want to work in the disability field and/or support our agenda. With Trujillo now here to lead our efforts, we are looking forward to a a robust future.”
The National Leadership Program enables young leaders to gain critical skills, contacts and experiences necessary to be accepted into graduate school or go directly into careers in public policy, media or advocacy. This program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development, networking opportunities, assistive technology and personal care support. People with and without disabilities are encouraged to apply but applicants must have a strong commitment to fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.
There are opportunities for both paid and unpaid Fellowships. Unpaid fellows receive a monthly transportation stipend. Lunch is provided daily for all fellows. In addition, all fellows participate in special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops. RespectAbility is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Affirmative Action employer. Persons with disabilities and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.