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From Unsolved Mysteries to Renowned Public Policy Leader

Philip Pauli as a child on an episode of Unsolved MysteriesRockville, Maryland, June 13 – If you watched the 90s TV show “Unsolved Mysteries,” then you might have seen a profile of a young boy named Philip Pauli. That episode profiled Philip for his high IQ, his reputation as a “boy genius” and his wide range of talents at a young age. Indeed, at six months of age, Philip began to talk. By eighteen months he was reading and by age three, he began to play the violin and study astronomy. The episode features Philip at his chosen playground of the Denver Museum of Natural History and working at an archeological dig.

Since that time, Philip continued his extraordinary journey. While an honors student at the University of Denver, he was chosen to spend a year studying at Oxford University. Ten years ago, he moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a master’s degree in social policy from The George Washington University.

Philip chose a career in public policy because these are deeply personal issues for him. He achieved and experienced so much because of the support of a single mother with significant chronic health disabilities who taught him compassion and kindled in him a deep commitment to justice.

Steve Bartlett, Mark Gordon and Philip Pauli at the National Governor's Association annual meeting, smiling togetherPhilip now leads RespectAbility’s work on public policy and practices to the benefit of RespectAbility and millions of people with disabilities. He educates federal and state leaders about best practices to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. He has met with 48 of America’s governors and written and provided testimony on disability employment for every state. He frequently is interviewed in the media, including Governing Magazine and Forbes, as well as having published more than a dozen op-eds on disability issues in publications such as The Hill.

Philip regularly speaks at national and regional conferences on disability employment, workforce development and best practices. More than 2,000 professionals have participated in accessible webinars on best practices hosted by Philip.

“Philip has accomplished so much since joining the RespectAbility team in 2015,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “During his work on WIOA implementation issues, 35 states directly adopted his policy recommendations. He has been in the trenches on key issues such as definitions of competitive, integrated employment and the impact of tax cuts on programs for people with disabilities. He is deeply knowledgeable, committed to the cause and a tireless worker for justice.”

Philip Kahn-Pauli with his cat Misty on his lap.Since 2018, Kahn-Pauli has served as the co-chair of the Employment and Training Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). He works with more than 110 national disability organizations to impact federal policy and move the disability employment agenda forward at the national level.

In his personal life, Philip is married to Allison Kahn-Pauli, J.D., who is Chief of Staff at a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy and mentorship for foster youth in the District of Columbia. They are avid readers, frequent hikers, theatre lovers, table-top gamers and the proud owners of a spunky rescue cat named Misty.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the Founder of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. She regularly works with disability organizations, national, state and local policy leaders, workforce development professionals, media, employers, philanthropists, celebrities and faith-based organizations in order to expand opportunities for people with disabilities.

14 comments… add one
  • Michael Jul 25, 2020, 8:56 pm

    Awesome post! Was watching that episode on Unsolved Mysteries and was blown away.. wanted to see where he’s at today and I’m so very happy to see he and his wife contribute so much to their communities (especially in today’s time) Bless

  • Rebecca j Muntz Aug 4, 2020, 5:37 pm

    It is wonderful that Mr. Pauli is using his remarkable intelligence for such a worthy cause! He was right, he certainly picked the right person to be his mother.

  • Denise Oct 31, 2020, 10:18 pm

    Does he have any political aspirations? President maybe? We need someone who is intelligent, compassionate and truly cares for the good of the people. I was so impressed by his young insight about our plight being worse than the Romans. To have such vision on top of all his other qualities is rare.

  • shellydphotos Jan 1, 2021, 2:10 pm

    I’m so happy to know he is Well!!! He amazed me with his interest in all of the things around him!! What a joy!!!

  • ជូលាងហាក់ Jan 3, 2021, 5:35 pm

    Today is Sunday January 3rd. 2021. Wonder of his highest achievement from school. Did he earn degree in engineering? Will he reach his dream of becoming a mission commander to Mars – some journey that NASA has been looking forwards to?

  • Sheryl Feb 6, 2021, 9:13 pm

    Amazing! He’s using his genius to help others!

  • Judy Marshall Jul 17, 2021, 1:48 pm

    Wow. So happy to know that he is working on helping the disabled.

  • Cherissa Aug 1, 2021, 11:18 pm

    I just watched the episode on unsolved mysteries. I’m glad to see that he’s making a difference for many people. I’m sure he has positively impacted many lives.
    Thank you for updating us!

  • Dianna Varnell Sep 26, 2021, 12:00 am

    I just watched Phillip Pauli on Unsolved Mysteries from 1993, so of course I had to Google it, and was happy to see that he is doing something worthwhile in his life to help others. Little boys want to always look for dinosaurs, but I think he works for a worthy cause in helping people with disabilities.

  • Monica M Jamette Dec 14, 2021, 10:37 am

    Wow!! So proud and impressed this is what has become of this adorable and brilliant child!!
    Great article!

  • Pat Scruggs Feb 6, 2022, 8:40 pm

    BLESS YOU PHILLIP! Hope you can help save this world. Pat

  • Jennifer Rentner Mar 7, 2022, 8:25 am

    Watched the episode a few times on Unsolved Mysteries and had to google to see how he is today. Has he ever thought to be the President because I think he would be great for the job. Own country could really use his greatness.

  • Robert Stack Jun 5, 2022, 10:21 pm

    Phillip is a true hero of mine! This is one of my favorite UNSOLVED MYSTERIES segments of all time,

    • Ellie Jun 21, 2022, 4:54 am

      Thank you for sharing his young story! I can see why it would be a favorite. His brilliance is amazing even now.

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