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Nelly Nieblas

Nelly Nieblas, State and Federal Policy Associate

Nelly Nieblas smiling headshot. Nieblas has a disability in her right arm.

Nelly Nieblas, State and Federal Policy Associate

Nelly Nieblas is the State and Federal Policy Associate at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Nieblas is a first-generation Latina with a physical disability. She has a deep drive to make “the outsider the insider” when it comes to social change. Nieblas was appointed Legislation and Public Information Manager at the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities by Governor Jerry Brown; and was a United Nations Observer for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a David Rockefeller Center fellow at Harvard, Nieblas worked with the Mexican Government to understand the needs of their disability community. She spent four years as Director of Public Policy and External Affairs at Public Allies and was an Assistant Legislative Deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. She holds an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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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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