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Dr. Deborah Fisher Joins RespectAbility as Interim CEO

Dr. Deborah Fisher smiling headshot wearing glasses and a blazer

Dr. Deborah Fisher

We are happy to welcome Dr. Deborah Fisher as Interim CEO to assist with RespectAbility’s transition. Dr. Fisher is well known and respected in the disability and nonprofit community. She has been working with multiple members of RespectAbility’s leadership team for several years as an executive coach. She will report to RespectAbility’s Board of Directors through the Chairman of the Board, Ollie Cantos.

“I am delighted to join RespectAbility during this important transition period,” said Dr. Fisher, who has worked with numerous nonprofits during their periods of change. “In my experience, having a transition CEO is a valuable opportunity for organizations to prepare themselves for a new leader, particularly as the next person will be the first successor to the founder. I look forward to assisting the staff in continuing its good work.”

The search for the new CEO will continue as planned. RespectAbility is committed to an inclusive process and will continue to work with David Hinsley Cheng and DHC Search to identify our new CEO.

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 [email protected]

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