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Bio – Speakers Bureau

David Hertweck

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

  • Disability Status: Blind
David Hertweck headshot smiling

David Hertweck

David Hertweck received a BA in mathematics from Washington University and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Cincinnati. For the past 21 years he has worked as an engineer for Bausch & Lomb designing medical equipment for ophthalmic surgery. Before that, David worked in academia running a research lab. As a blind engineer, he finds it incredibly rewarding to design equipment used to restore vision. David has found the scientific and engineering communities to be incredibly inclusive.

David enjoys talking to and mentoring blind and low-vision people about pursuing careers in STEM. He has spoken at several local events focused on the blind and low-vision communities as a motivational speaker. Recently, he had the privilege to share his story with a national conference for teachers of blind and low-vision students.

He has been a self-advocate for as long as he can remember, including pushing to attend his local mainstream high school in the 1970s, which eventually propelled him to receive a scholarship for his undergraduate education. Looking for his first job in the late 1980s was extremely challenging due to the negative stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities at the time (many of which unfortunately still exist today). But David eventually began his career in STEM which he still enjoys today.

David is a third-degree black belt in judo and loves passing his knowledge on to others. In the last 2 years he has gotten into long-distance canoe endurance racing, and recently completed his second MR340 (a four-day 340-mile race) down the Missouri River.

David’s proudest achievements in life are his two wonderful children, one of whom is in college and the other is getting ready to have her first baby.

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Philip Kahn-Pauli

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

  • Disability Status: Nonvisible Disability
  • Topics:
    • Workforce Policy
headshot of Philip Kahn Pauli wearing glasses and with beard and mustache color photo

Philip Kahn-Pauli

Philip Kahn-Pauli is the Policy and Practices Director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. He educates leaders at the federal and state level about best practices to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Kahn-Pauli coordinated the development and distribution of both the Disability Employment First Planning Toolkit and Disability and Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success report. He frequently organizes accessible webinars on best practices, which are attended by workforce boards, agencies, VR, disability organizations, public officials, artists and more – reaching a national audience of more than 2,000. Kahn-Pauli also speaks at national and regional conferences for workforce boards, agencies and professionals.

Kahn-Pauli serves 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. At the state level, Kahn-Pauli advocates for cost effective solutions, replicable models and school-to-work transition programs for youth with disabilities.

Kahn-Pauli’s career in disability began with several years of work at a local nonprofit focused on traumatic brain injury. He holds a master’s degree in social policy and philosophy from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. Raised by a single mother with serious chronic health issues, he is deeply committed to building a better future for people with disabilities.

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Nelly Nieblas

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

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

Nelly Nieblas

Nelly Nieblas is the Manager of Policy, Advocacy and Engagement 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. Nelly 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, Nelly 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. Nelly holds an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. [continue reading…]

Victor Santiago Pineda

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda seated in wheelchair for headshot

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is on the Board of Advisors of RespectAbility. Born in Venezuela and fluent in English and Spanish, he is advising on intersectionality and success for English-as-Second Language Learners with disabilities, inclusive philanthropy and other issues. [continue reading…]

Craig Leen

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Craig Leen smiling headshot wearing glasses and a suit and tie

Craig Leen

Craig Leen is a partner at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, DC, in the labor, employment, and workplace safety practice group. He advises companies on equal employment opportunity compliance, including under the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He formerly served as the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he was a strong national advocate on civil rights and disability inclusion in employment, including his work developing an award-winning OFCCP enforcement program focused on disability inclusion, accommodations, and accessibility for federal contractors and their employees across the United States. [continue reading…]

Randall Duchesneau

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Randall Duchesneau smiling and wearing a black suit, blue shirt, and black and white checkered tie and glasses color photo

Randall Duchesneau

Randall Duchesneau is a consultant that provides clients with real estate investment and transactional advisory services. He also is a founding member of the United Spinal Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and is a C5-C6 quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury during gymnastics.

Duchesneau has an undergraduate degree from Cornell, a Masters of Public Health from Yale, and has advocated for legislation on behalf of disability organizations. He has worked at General Electric and the Department of Health and Human Services, and is also the former Director of the National Leadership Program at RespectAbility. He has interviewed United States presidential candidates, governors and senators on disability employment policy. [continue reading…]

Ollie Cantos

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Ollie Cantos smiling in front of an American flag

Ollie Cantos

Ollie Cantos is the Chairman of RespectAbility’s Board of Directors. Cantos has been active in the civil rights arena since 1990.  He is Special Assistant to the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, Attorney Mentor for the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights, Vice President of the Virginia Association of Parents of Blind Children, and Member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. [continue reading…]

Michael Gilberg

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

  • Disability Status: Autism
  • Marginalized Identities: Jewish
  • Occupation: Special Education Attorney
  • Topics:
    • Special Education Law
    • Social/Emotional Learning
    • Autism
    • Non-visible Disabilities
    • Attorneys with Disabilities
    • Political and Policy Advocacy

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Charlie Kramer

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

  • Disability Status: Legally Blind (Retinitis Pigmentosa – RP)
  • Marginalized Identities: Jewish
  • Occupation: Speaker, Coach, Musical Artist
  • Topics:
    • Disability & Inclusion: Through his personal story, Charlie shares the importance of
      inclusion and breaks down barriers and stigmas surrounding the disability community.
    • Radical Self-Acceptance: Through the lens of his own journey, Charlie teaches the step-by-step process of radical self-acceptance, and how to build a foundation for the life of your dreams. It all begins with accepting who you are at your core.
    • Singing in the Dark: The blindfolded singing and healing experience: Charlie guides
      participants into a world without their eyes, and shows them the beauty that can only be
      seen within you, and not around you.

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Shlomo Meyers

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

  • Disability Status: Down Syndrome
  • Marginalized Identity: Jewish
  • Occupation: School/Classroom Assistant
  • Topics:
    • Friendship
    • Shabbos and the Community
    • The Importance of Home
Shlomo Meyers smiling headshot on the beach with the ocean behind him

Shlomo Meyers

Shlomo Meyers was born in Manhasset, New York on December 6, 1985 with Down Syndrome. He is the middle child in a family of seven children.  Meyers currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Danielle.

Meyers moved to Illinois when he was eight years old, where he would go on to graduate from Ida Crown Jewish Academy and spend part of the following year in a job training/skills building program through Keshet, a program providing services for individuals with disabilities. [continue reading…]

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