Lauren Appelbaum, Senior Vice President, Communications and Entertainment & News Media
Lauren Appelbaum (she/her) is the Senior Vice President, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, at RespectAbility, a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower disabled people to have a better future. She brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic and crisis communications, writing, video and web production, news gathering and social media to the disability agenda. Previously she served as a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit for the 2006 midterm and 2008 presidential elections with Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell.
Appelbaum also is the Managing Editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. During the 2016 election season, Appelbaum led a team of Communications Fellows in interviewing all of the presidential candidates about the importance of disability employment, reporting all interviews via accessible video and articles in The RespectAbility Report.
She also supervises several Apprentices through RespectAbility’s Apprenticeship Program. Her Apprentices ultimately want to go into careers in journalism, public relations, political communications or the entertainment industry.
Outside of work, Appelbaum is active in community theater. She has served in a variety of behind-the-scenes roles for more than a dozen musicals and plays. Having organized volunteer ASL interpreters and coordinated ADA seating at performances, as well as directing a nonverbal actor with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair, she understands first-hand the importance of inclusion of both performers and others with disabilities.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Appelbaum has a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University; she also has undergraduate degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She serves on several national and local nonprofit boards. Appelbaum currently lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter, and dog. She travels nationally, often to the Los Angeles area.