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Janet LaBreck

Janet LaBreck, Board of Directors

RespectAbility board member Janet LaBreck smiling in front of an American flag

Janet LaBreck

In February of 2013, President Barack Obama announced some key administration posts, including his intent to nominate Janet L. LaBreck, known as a national thought leader and key note presenter as the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), within the United States Department of Education. In August of 2013, LaBreck was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Commissioner of RSA. RSA was established to provide leadership and resources to assist state and other agencies providing vocational rehabilitation services (VR) to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and workforce.

Under her leadership, LaBreck was responsible for promulgating the most substantive regulation changes to the Vocational Rehabilitation program in over 15 years. She began her 27-year career in 1985 with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) where she served as Commissioner during the last six years of her appointment by Governor Patrick until her transition to Washington, D.C. She is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors including an Honorary Doctoral Degree from New England College of Optometry (NECO) for her innovative partnership which resulted in the establishment of a mobile eye care clinic for individuals with low vision conditions and was honored in 2017 by NECO who dedicated the Janet L. LaBreck Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation clinic in her honor in recognition of her commitment and dedication to the field of blindness. Most recently, LaBreck has established Janet L. LaBreck Consulting LLC in addition to becoming a contributing partner for Synergy Consulting Partners.

Meet our Boards of Directors and Advisors

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s Board of Directors and Advisors: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-boards-of-directors-and-advisors/.

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 LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

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