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Bio – Speakers Bureau

Joseph “JB” Bensmihen

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Joseph Bensmihen headshot smiling in front of an American flag

Joseph “JB” Bensmihen

With over two decades of experience across administrations and state lines, as well as being fluently multi-lingual in Spanish, French and English, Joseph “JB” Bensmihen has been a successful advocate for every cause he has championed. JB has brought his distinct process of goal-setting to all of the teams he has led, clarifying specific objectives within the long-term team vision. [continue reading…]

Justin Borses

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Justin Borses smiling wearing a headset and suit and tie while covering a game

Justin Borses

Justin Borses is a Broadcaster and Journalist for Moorpark College with experience in sports and writing for the Moorpark Reporter. He has covered football and basketball for the school. One of the most influential parts of his life, however, has to do with his disability identity. He was born with Cerebral Palsy on February 19th, 2000.

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Barry Shore

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Barry Shore smiling holding up his business card with the word SMILE on it.

Barry Shore

The Ambassador of JOY, Barry Shore, is a change maker and life transformer whose profound message of JOY is being embraced globally. A successful serial entrepreneur with two multi-million dollar exits and 3 issued patents, Barry acquired a disability that left him completely paralyzed overnight. Barry’s decision to use this experience to better his life and the lives of others has opened a unique opportunity to find JOY in living regardless of circumstance. [continue reading…]

Catarina Rivera

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Catarina Rivera smiling headshot

Catarina Rivera

Catarina Rivera has earned a BA in Psychology from Duke University with a scholarship from the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program; a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degree from the Bank Street College of Education with a focus on Dual Language/Bilingual Education; as well as a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Hunter College. [continue reading…]

Millie Gonzalez, M.A.

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Millie Gonzalez headshot wearing a sash for Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2019

Millie Gonzalez, M.A.

Millie Gonzalez, M.A., is co-founder of the New Jersey Disability Collective; board president for The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies; board chair, retreat organizer and program developer for the Spina Bifida Resource Network (SBRN); and vice board chair for the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI). Gonzalez is also a communication strategist, writer, editor and event planner with nearly 20 years of experience. She was on the steering committee that established ACI’s annual NJ Disability Pride Parade & Celebration in 2011 and has served as the co-emcee of the event nearly every year since its inception. A longtime disability advocate, Gonzalez established, organizes and facilitates SBRN’s annual Empowerment Retreat for adults with disabilities, as well as their new Virtual Empowerment Series and online support group. [continue reading…]

Michael Jordan Segal

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Michael Segal smiling headshot

Michael Segal

Shot in the head during a robbery in his college years, Michael Jordan Segal defied all odds by first surviving and then returning to complete two degrees with honors; married his high school sweetheart, Sharon; and became a father to their daughter, Shawn.  Segal is a social worker in Houston and an author (having written many stories in various Chicken Soup For The Soul books, as well as his two book projects: an autobiography, working title is A Shot of Inspiration; and an anthology of his short stories. In addition, Segal has a CD/download available on his website of 12 of his best stories, read over light music, entitled Possible.  He also is a popular motivational speaker, sharing his “recipe” for recovery, happiness, and success before conferences, businesses and seminars. [continue reading…]

Laka Mitiku Negassa

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Laka Negassa smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Laka Mitiku Negassa

Laka Mitiku Negassa recently completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Health Policy from the George Washington University: Milken Institute School of Public Health. She was a Policy Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for two summers, and is acutely interested in the evaluation of current health policies to be able to amend areas that need reformation so it can work for all. Her focus is on how current health policies ensure access to equitable quality healthcare, and addressing solutions to the gaps in reaching this outcome. [continue reading…]

Kathleen L. Brockway

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Kathleen L. Brockway smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Kathleen L. Brockway

Kathleen L. Brockway was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Kathleen earned her bachelor’s degree in 2006 from the University of Phoenix. She was a graduate student at Goucher College and studied Cultural Sustainability. She hopes to become a historian, folklorist or cultural worker to sustain deaf history and culture. [continue reading…]

David Sharif

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

David Sharif smiling headshot

David Sharif

David Sharif is a global autism advocate and motivational speaker for the world of neurodiversity. Born in Los Angeles, he graduated valedictorian from a multi-disciplinary school administered by The Help Group, and became its first student to attend a four-year university out of state. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Pace University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Peace & Justice Studies, Sharif spent most of his undergraduate life traveling abroad carrying his learning differences to new educational environments. He was a member of the award-winning Model United Nations team participating in global negotiations, delivering impromptu speeches. Sharif is a recipient of the Indelible Mark Student Award, given to a student who leaves a legacy of outstanding contributions that significantly and positively influence the Pace student community. In his senior year, he received a research grant to conduct a study titled, “The Challenges and Successes of Post-Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” which he presented at several conferences. Sharif is also an alum of Pace’s Oasis program, a comprehensive support setting for students with learning differences and is one of their strongest advocates. He currently works for a large New York City based non-profit serving neurodiverse adults in building fulfilling lives and has attended conferences with other New York state non-profits that strive for disability rights. [continue reading…]

Susan Sygall

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

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Susan Sygall

As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan Sygall is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities. Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women’s issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications and has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange opportunities for persons with disabilities, women’s empowerment, and disability rights. [continue reading…]

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