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Bio – ADA30 Summit 2020

Abigail Shaw

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Abigail Shaw smiling headshotAbigail Shaw (she, her) is a transplant to New York from North Carolina, and strives to educate the public on persons with disabilities through her hobbies and work.

Shaw received a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University and currently is pursuing a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Shaw works at Learning Allyin NYC, an educational solutions organization primarily serving individuals with print-related disabilities. At Learning Ally, Shaw serves as the College Success Program’s mentorship coordinator for college students who are blind, and she contributes her skills with audio and recording to the production process of Learning Ally’s audio books. [continue reading…]

Amna Nawaz

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Amna Nawaz smiling headshot on the PBS NewsHour set.Amna Nawaz is the senior national correspondent and primary substitute anchor for PBS NewsHour since April 2018.

Prior to joining the NewsHour, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News where she anchored election, national political and breaking news coverage from 2015 to 2018. She also reported the documentary, “Roberts County: A Year in the Most Pro-Trump Town,” and hosted the podcast series, “Uncomfortable.” [continue reading…]

Anastasia Somoza

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Anastasia Somoza smiling. Somoza is a white woman with brown hair down to her shoulders who uses a power wheelchair. She is seated in front of a green backdropAnastasia Somoza, known to her friends as Tas, began her advocacy work in 1993, when, at the age of 9, she had the opportunity to ask President Bill Clinton to help mainstream her twin sister Alba into the New York City public school system. Anastasia is now leading the inclusion revolution as a human rights defender, speaker, and consultant. On the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she gave a moving speech about her relationship with Hillary Clinton and Americans with disabilities. Following her appearance at the DNC, Anastasia traveled the country as a surrogate speaker for the Hillary for America campaign. As a passionate advocate for women’s rights, she has received both the Martha H. Ziegler Founders Award (2017) from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and the Susan B. Anthony Award (2016) from the National Organization for Women. She recorded an interview for Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast, and spoke at Laugh Your Pantsuit Off, a comedy fundraiser, hosted by Ana Gasteyer and Amy Poehler. Anastasia’s international advocacy has brought her to China, where she works to eliminate the abandonment of babies and children with disabilities. The goal of this work is to open a Parent Education and Resource Center that teaches parents in China about children with disabilities and how to care for, nurture, and love them. In March of 2017, she began working with the Center for American Progress to raise awareness about what is at stake for Americans with disabilities in the Trump era, with a focus on healthcare, Medicaid, and poverty alleviation. She ended the year on a high note by joining the company of Off-Broadway’s Addy & Uno—off-Broadway’s first family musical comedy to celebrate disability, friendship, and kindness— as the show’s Consulting Producer.

Andrea Jennings

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Andrea Jennings headshot smiling.Andrea Jennings, actress, model, public speaker, commissioner and founder of Shifting Creative Paradigms Entertainment and Productions – Leveling the Playing Field®, envisions a world where underrepresented individuals in media such as people with disabilities, will be depicted as strong leaders. She believes that the design, fashion, arts and entertainment fields are powerful arenas that can be used to influence social change by using multiple media platforms. Creating and producing inclusive and diverse content for television, film, theatre and music productions is the vision and goal of her production company. [continue reading…]

April Caputi

#ADA30 Summit 2020

April Caputi smiling headshot. April is a white woman with long brown hair standing in front of a pink wall.April Caputi is a 2017 Bachelor of Cinema & Media Arts graduate from Biola University with an emphasis in Production. She developed an interest in casting when she learned that actors with disabilities are often misrepresented in the media. After temping as a Talent Casting Coordinator for Disneyland Live Entertainment, April became a Casting Assistant for AMC Network’s first show, This Close, to be created, written by, and starring Deaf actors. She led a Deaf Community Outreach Initiative to cast roles with Deaf actors and minors. Her last show as a Casting Assistant was on CBS All Access’ animated series, Star Trek: Lower Decks.
[continue reading…]

Ariella Barker, JD, MPA

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Ariella Barker smiling headshot. Barker is a white woman with blonde hair down past her shoulders who uses a wheelchairAriella Barker is a dual American-Israeli citizen and an attorney, policy advisor, and communications specialist. She has a BBA and JD from Emory University and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a John F. Kennedy Fellow on a full merit scholarship. She has worked internationally across the public, social and private sectors, fiercely advocating for her clients and communities in the areas of employment discrimination issues, antisemitism and disability rights.

Rep. Brad Sherman

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Brad Sherman headshotCongressman Brad Sherman is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets where he oversees opportunities for people with disabilities and others. Long active on disability issues, he has hosted events and projects to enable young people with disabilities to get the education and jobs they need to succeed.

Carolyn Lertzman

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Carolyn Lertzman smiling headshot. Lertzman is a white woman with black hair down to her shoulders, wearing glasses, a necklace and a denim jacket.Carolyn Lertzman works at the intersection of content review with Disney Channels Standards & Practices, Diversity & Inclusion, and Walt Disney Television Corporate Social Responsibility to champion inclusive content that reflects the lives and experiences of our audiences.  She works with consultants who review content to ensure authenticity of underrepresented groups, and prosocial issues, such as foster care and adoption.  She also works on prosocial content integration with Walt Disney Television Corporate Social Responsibility and Disney Channels Creative teams to find opportunities to organically incorporate the themes and values of WDT’s annual prosocial campaigns and initiatives into content.  She co-leads the Creative Talent Pipeline workstream with the enterprise Disability Workgroup, and is on the leadership team for the newly formed Disabilities Employee Resource Group. Carolyn joined Disney in 2008, following graduate school at UCLA School of Public Health, specializing in Health Communications, and Children’s Health & Media.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Chris Van Hollen smiling wearing a suit and tie with the US Capitol dome in the background behind him.Elected to the United States Senate by the people of Maryland in November 2016, Chris Van Hollen is committed to fighting every day to ensure that our state and our country live up to their full promise of equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity.

Senator Van Hollen believes that every child deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and benefit from a quality education, and that anyone willing to work hard should be able to find a good job. That’s why his top priorities include creating more and better jobs, strengthening small businesses, and increasing educational and job training opportunities for individuals of all ages and in every community. [continue reading…]

Craig Leen

#ADA30 Summit 2020

Craig Leen headshotCraig Leen serves as the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S. Department of Labor. He leads a staff of professionals around the country who are dedicated to protecting workers, promoting diversity, and enforcing the law. OFCCP administers and enforces three equal employment opportunity laws: Executive Order 11246, as amended; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 793; and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212. Collectively, these laws make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

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