Skip Navigation
Image of people smiling and posing for a photo

Bio – Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Lesley Hennen

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Lesley Hennen smiling headshot

Lesley Hennen

Lesley Hennen is a writer, producer, and recovering publicist currently based in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and is also a graduate of The Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School, where she honed her niche of telling female-driven dark comedies, often inspired by her own life experiences of living with a physical disability. Lesley’s original pilot script, Uninspired, won “Best of Fest” at the 2020 Women in Comedy Festival’s “Pitch Your First Five Pages” competition, presented by HBO, and recently advanced to the Quarterfinalist stage of Atlanta Film Festival’s 2021 Screenplay Competition. Lesley’s original pilot script, Walk & Roll also recently placed as a Finalist in WeScreenplay’s Diverse Voices Lab, WeScreenplay’s TV Pilot Contest, as well as a Semifinalist in ScreenCraft’s TV Pilot Contest. [continue reading…]

Eric Ascher

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Eric Ascher smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. As the Communications Associate, he is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows. Being on the autism spectrum himself, he knows that people with disabilities are capable of doing great work, just like everyone else. Ascher has reviewed scripts that include autistic characters to help ensure accuracy.

[continue reading…]

Gail Williamson

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

headshot of Gail Williamson

Gail Williamson

Gail Williamson is a talent agent and heads the Diversity Department at Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Assoc. working with talent with disabilities. Gail is also the mother of an adult son with Down syndrome and was the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles for 8 years. Gail has consulted on many Down syndrome stories over the years, including several episodes on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, the Michael Patrick King pilot for Amazon, LOVE YOU MORE, some VO and animation for characters with DS for Disney, Nick and Amazon. She also gave notes on several films for the Disney Channel back in the day.
[continue reading…]

Andrew Pilkington

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Andrew Pilkington portrait with him using a wheelchair

Andrew Pilkington

Andrew Pilkington is a producer/writer living in Manhattan. He has worked for award winning directors such as: Alex Gibney and Morgan Spurlock. He is a graduate of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island where he won the Film Excellence Award in 2014. He produced and co wrote the movie Best Summer Ever which is a feature musical staring actors with disabilities It was selected into the SXSW Film Festival 2020. It was awarded the Final Draft Screenwriter Award prize. He was one of five writers selected by SXSW Series Fest Pitch a thon. [continue reading…]

Emily Kranking

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Emily Kranking smiling headshot

Emily Kranking

Emily Kranking is an upcoming actress and writer with cerebral palsy. Her first feature film Best Summer Ever, in which she stars as the bubbly cheerleader Nancy, was released in April 2021. She also wrote, directed and starred in the children’s short Saylor & Selena for Easterseals Disability Film Festival 2019. Last year, she was a participant in RespectAbility’s Hollywood Lab program as an emerging professional. She previously worked at RespectAbility for a year as a fellow for Employment & Policy and Hollywood Communications. Kranking holds her BA in Media and Communications Studies from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. During her time, she held internships in script coverage, comedy television writing, and television development. [continue reading…]

Rachel Handler

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Rachel Handler smiling headshot. Rachel is a white woman with brown hair down to her shoulders, and is wearing a black jacket and red shirt

Rachel Handler

Rachel Handler is a filmmaker and disability consultant based in NYC. She won the AT&T Underrepresented Filmmaker Award for her short, “Committed” and the Sundance Co//ab June Monthly Challenge for her script, “The A Doesn’t Stand for Accessible.” Since joining the disabled community she’s found a passion for writing, producing and directing; advocating for inclusion in every project she works on or creates. Her writing credits include the award-winning short films, “HOW MUCH AM I WORTH?” “The Housewarming,” “Committed,” “The Vanished,” and “Authentically Me” which won the Reelabilities 27 Second Film Competition and screened in taxi cabs throughout NYC. Handler’s films have screened at Slamdance, Hollyshorts, Bentonville, Heartland, Newport Beach and more. She has worked as a disability consultant with Netflix and Disney, ensuring accessible sets, inclusive language, and authentic portrayals of amputees and disability in each project. Handler’s TV acting credits include “Law & Order: SVU,” “Goliath,” “New Amsterdam,” “Bull” and “NCIS: New Orleans.”
[continue reading…]

Leah Romond

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Leah Romond smiling headshot

Leah Romond

Leah Romond is an attorney, producer and advocate for full disability inclusion in film and television production. Romond’s recent project, Best Summer Ever, is a feature-length original musical created entirely by an integrated cast and crew of talent with and without disabilities. It was an Official Selection for SXSW 2020, won the SXSW 2020 Final Draft Screen Writers Award, and premiered at SXSW 2021. In addition to her lived experience as someone who experienced a brain injury as an adult, Ms. Romond is also a RespectAbility Senior Production Advisor. Ms. Romond has provided training to studios on full disability inclusion throughout the production process and is available to conduct trainings and consult on scripts. [continue reading…]

Alex Howard

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Alexander Howard smiling headshot

Alex Howard

Alex Howard is an Entertainment professional, born and raised in Los Angeles. Howard was diagnosed as one of only 19 people in the world with a rare mitochondrial disorder called MePan. One of the most significant symptoms of MePan is limited vision. Howard is proactive in finding ways to use technology to overcome his disabilities and is a passionate advocate of audio description for all media, everywhere. He recently spoke on a panel with Sundance titled “Bridging the Gap” – Ensuring Media Accessibility Through Audio Description. In June 2020, Howard was invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer Lab Program for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities where he honed his skills in writing and development. As an Entertainment & News Media fellow with RespectAbility, Alex has consulted professionally on a number of different projects for film and TV, focusing on storylines involving characters who are Blind/Low Vision. [continue reading…]

Nasreen Alkhateeb

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Nasreen Alkhateeb smiling headshot

Nasreen Alkhateeb

Nasreen Alkhateeb is an award winning filmmaker whose work amplifies under-represented. Most recently, Nasreen served a writer for Kamala Harris’ VP campaign, and wrote scripts for NASA, the United Nations, and the Women’s March. Her films have screened at Tribeca Film Festival, Slamdance, Netflix, Amazon and IFC. The lens Nasreen motivates audiences through is being BiPOC multi-heritage (Black + Iraqi), 1st generation, LGBTQ, survivor of war, trainer for survivors of gender violence, and an acquired disability after a hit and run.

[continue reading…]

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

RespectAbility’s Entertainment Media Consulting Team

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt (she/her/hers) is a writer, consultant, actress, public speaker, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry.

In June 2021, Rigelhaupt joined the Nickelodeon Live Action Casting Team for their immersive internship. Additionally, she’s an Autistic Creative Consultant on a developing musical (dir. Sammi Cannold), How to Dance in Ohio, based on the HBO documentary of the same name. [continue reading…]

1 2 3 4
Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

CONTACT US

Mailing Address:
RespectAbility
43 Town & Country Drive
Suite 119-181
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Office Number: 202-517-6272

Email: [email protected]

GUIDESTAR PLATINUM

RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report is a GuideStar Platinum Participant. GuideStar Platinum Participant Logo
© 2022 RESPECTABILITY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SITE DESIGN BY COOL GRAY SEVEN   |   SITE DEVELOPMENT BY WEB SYMPHONIES   |      SITEMAP

Back to Top

Translate »