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Bio – Staff

Tatiana Lee

Tatiana Lee, Inclusionist

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Tatiana Lee, Inclusionist

Tatiana Lee is an Inclusionist at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. She was a Communications Fellow in Spring 2019, participating in the leadership program to gain better knowledge and skills to be a more effective advocate in Hollywood for disability inclusion. Now, she helps represent RespectAbility in Hollywood. Like RespectAbility, Lee has dedicated her life to fighting for inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of mass media. 

Growing up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Lee felt invisible to the rest of society because she did not see anyone that looked like her in popular media. Lee majored in Business Marketing with the help of online college courses while managing her major health issues. Lee wanted to learn how to market herself as a brand because people laughed at her when she told them she wanted to act and model.

So Lee moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting further and vowed to be the change she wanted to see. She quickly realized that wheelchair accessibility was a major barrier for her and wanted to shed insight on her perspective.

Lee learned to harness the power of social media to speak boldly about accessibility and inclusion in mass media. She became the voice behind Accessible Hollywood,where she highlighted her journey as an actress, model and lifestyle influencer born with Spina Bifida. Lee was in one of Apples first ad campaigns featuring people with disabilities using Apples accessible features and products.

Lee has appeared in several short films, including the 2018 Disability Film Challenge Best Awareness Film Footlooseand Coffee with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.She also has appeared in modeling campaigns such as #PerfectFigure for Parfait Lingerie. Lee currently is undertaking speaking engagements, panels and attending Upright Citizens Brigade Improv Theater as a 3x Diversity Scholarship recipient. She is the 2018 recipient of the Reeves Acting Scholarship from The Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation, which she accepted at the Media Access Awards.

Lee loves living in the heart of Los Angeles for the ease of getting to auditions, and it is where a lot of the magic of Hollywood happens. Lee loves being in the middle of the Hollywood vibe. Her goal in Hollywood is to star in her own major film, snag the cover of a major magazine and to eventually write and direct her own projects. Most of all, she wants to shift societys narrative of what it means to be a woman of color with a disability and make sure that all people with disabilities have a chance to steer their own narrative of disability in mass media.

Lee loves beauty, fashion, fitness and attending and hosting events with her peers. When Lee is not acting, modeling or fighting for inclusion, she is taking boxing classes, doing yoga and cooking a fun meal with her family that she is close with.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam, Inclusionist

Headshot of Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam in front of the Respectability banner

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam, Inclusionist

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam is an Inclusionist at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Previously she served as a Development and Fundraising Fellow for the organization, in two major areas: the initiative to increase and strengthen partnerships with philanthropic organizations and the grant-seeking process. In her current position, Assokom-Siakam will focus on enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in foundations, philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and advocacy.

Previously she worked with individuals with disabilities to expand their opportunities whether at work or at home. These experiences with people with disabilities at St Louis ARC have motivated her to join RespectAbility and to help ensure that people with disabilities have the financial resources to pursue their ambitions.

Assokom-Siakam is a third-year student at Washington University in St. Louis pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International and Area Studies – Development. Her own Cameroonian-American background, as well as growing up in multicultural Washington, D.C., has motivated her to study marginalized diaspora communities such as those of Arab or African descent in the U.S. Assokom-Siakam also is an intern for the Center for Community Health Partnership and Research through the Institute for Public Health at Washington University. There she creates promotional material for center events and researches violence prevention.Assokom-Siakam is interested in elements of urban spaces such as architecture, transportation, public policy and how people interact with these spaces. She still is exploring possible professions. Currently, her interests include public health, politics and user research. An example of user research is how people use a public park.

In her free time, Assokom-Siakam enjoys listening to comedy acts. In addition to the occasional run, to stay physically active, Assokom-Siakam plays rugby on the women’s club team at her university. She also likes frequenting restaurants with friends and family to try different food. Assokom-Siakam highly recommends inapa, also known as eru. Inapa is her favorite Cameroonian dish: a peanut sauce cooked with bitter leaves similar to spinach and beef.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Rebecca Gross

Rebecca Gross, NYC Inclusionist

Rebecca Gross headshot

Rebecca Gross

Rebecca Gross is an NYC Inclusionist with RespectAbility, working to make connections between New York City’s disability community and RespectAbility’s Women’s Disability Leadership, Inclusion & Advocacy Training Series in NYC. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities.

Gross graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2017 with a BA in liberal arts concentrating in disability studies, theater and education and currently is working toward an MA in Disability Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Her interest in disability advocacy stems from her personal experiences with learning disabilities and mental illness. She spent the early part of her education transferring between Jewish Day Schools that could not accommodate her needs, before attending a specialized high school for learning disabilities where she felt firsthand the difference that appropriate accommodations make for a person’s academic and psychological well-being.

At Sarah Lawrence, Gross was one of the leaders of the Sarah Lawrence Disability Alliance (SLCDA), a student disability advocacy organization which works toward accessibility, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities both on campus, and in the wider community.  In this role, she led weekly meetings for students with disabilities and allies and created many events and several publications working toward these goals. She also acted as a student representative on the administration’s Ad Hoc Accessibility Committee and contributed ideas and research to the design team for the creation of a new student center, which is set to open later this year.  She is passionate about ensuring that students with disabilities have the knowledge and practical self-advocacy skills that are needed to succeed in school and communities.

In addition to her work as an Inclusionist, Gross tutors students with disabilities in a variety of subjects, and is the Art Specialist for a weekend social skills program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. During the summer, she works every weekend as an actor and director at the New York Renaissance Faire. Gross loves live theater, especially Shakespeare, and is learning American Sign Language.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Victor Santiago Pineda

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, Senior Advisor

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda seated in wheelchair for headshot, image in grayscale

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, Senior Advisor to RespectAbility

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is Senior Advisor to RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. 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.

The President of World Enabled and the Global Alliance for Accessible Technology and Environments (GAATES), Pineda is a recognized leader in inclusive urban development and human rights. Dr. Pineda serves on the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board and serves as the Co-Chair of the Global Network for Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development. He teaches as an Adjunct Professor in City & Regional Planning at University of California, Berkeley. His research explores the theory and practice of inclusive development through urban policy, planning and design. Dr. Pineda’s work helps improve equity based outcomes in urban resilience, inclusion and sustainability.

Previously he held positions as the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Fulbright-Hays Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the World Institute on Disability. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation research grant, Jefferson Award, and the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. Dr. Pineda holds a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Matan Koch

Matan Koch, Senior Advisor

Matan A. Koch smiling

Matan A. Koch, Senior Advisor

Matan A. Koch is a Senior Advisor at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. A longtime national leader in disability advocacy and a wheelchair user himself, he is on the front lines in RespectAbility’s work on disability inclusion in philanthropy and nonprofits, Jewish outreach and impact, leadership, legal affairs and our Los Angeles work.

Koch is a longtime leader in disability advocacy, and was a Senate confirmed Obama appointee to the National Council on Disability, for a term that ended in 2014. An inclusion expert, he has developed training and materials for many Jewish organizations, including Hillel International, the Union for Reform Judaism and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. He has also spoken and taught at law firms, and at Johnson & Johnson. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of Jewish Vocational Services in Boston, as their disability subject matter expert.

A graduate of Yale College and the Harvard Law School, Koch began his legal career as counsel to the Procter & Gamble Company, where he rose to become the primary legal support for a $2 billion portfolio of brands. He then transitioned to an AmLaw 100 Law Firm in New York, where he worked on a broad range of high-value commercial litigation matters, and was privileged to do pro bono work in the areas of criminal appeals and guardianship. For his commercial work, Koch was recognized as a “Rising Star” by New York SuperLawyers in 2012 and 2013, a distinction allotted to the top 2.5% of New York metro area lawyers, based on peer recognition and professional achievement. For his pro bono work, Koch was awarded the Legal Aid Society Outstanding Pro Bono Services for 2013, based on a victory at the highest court of New York.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Isabel Maxwell

Isabel Maxwell, Senior Advisor

Isabel Maxwell headshotIsabel Maxwell is a Senior Advisor to RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. She will be providing strategic guidance to RespectAbility in Los Angeles County and in the Jewish community.

Maxwell is a high-profile Media and Internet entrepreneur, international executive, and champion of social innovation. She is known for her energetic leadership and advising of companies and non-profit organizations and leveraging her extensive network of investors, thought-leaders, business leaders and philanthropists around the world. She is multilingual and tri-national, and a graduate of Oxford University.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Rachel Pomerance Berl

Rachel Pomerance Berl, Writing Coach, National Leadership Program

Rachel Pomerance Berl headshot, smiling

Rachel Pomerance Berl, Writing Coach, National Leadership Program

Rachel Pomerance Berl serves as the writing coach for the Fellows in the National Leadership Program at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Berl is a freelance writer whose work has spanned the realms of journalism, public relations and creative writing. She has written for major publications such as national newspapers, wire services and magazines. She has also worked in public relations, writing press releases and promotional material for advocacy organizations. She feels honored to share her passion for writing and creative expression with the fellows of Respectability!

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

Stan Goldman

Stan Goldman, Writing Coach, National Leadership Program

headshot of Stan Goldman smiling and holding a pen

Stan Goldman, Writing Coach, National Leadership Program

Stan Goldman serves as the writing coach for the Fellows in the National Leadership Program at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Although semi-retired, he also advises several disability organizations that support community integration, especially inclusive schools and competitive, integrated employment. Goldman is a reader for several literary agents and edits novels for first-time novelists.

His former lives include working as a college English teacher at Purdue University and for many years writing books and articles about Herman Melville and chasing large white objects, in his mind. He was the managing editor of Cardiovascular Toxicology, a peer-reviewed science journal. Goldman raised $12 million in six years as a grants writer for a network of hospitals in Kentucky, and served 18 years as a program director for health and disabilities at two major foundations, including The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Goldman lives in Owings Mills, Maryland in a small rancher in the woods and shares his home with a 100-pound male Akita named Duncan — a spoiled brat. He is a long-time caneologist and collects antique walking canes and carves his own canes from the beautiful wood grown in Maryland: black walnut, cherry, honey locust, ash and Spanish cedar. Goldman is an inveterate reader of American poetry and essays. He is most proud of his only son who plays the clarinet in the Dallas Opera Symphony and is financially independent in the impossible world of classical music.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

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