Skip Navigation
Image of people smiling and posing for a photo

Bio – Speakers Bureau Women and Nonbinary Persons

Rachel Handler

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Rachel Handler smiling wearing a blue dress

Rachel Handler

Rachel Handler is an actor and filmmaker based in New York City. She grew up by the beach in South Jersey and went to school for musical theatre at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. After graduating she worked at esteemed regional theatres, Bucks County Playhouse and Princeton Festival Opera. On her way to an audition, she was hit by a car and lost her left leg on impact. At the age of twenty-four Handler had to choose between chasing her Broadway dreams or finding a different path. She ended up doing both.

At the time of her accident, Handler had no idea what a prosthetic leg even looked like, let alone how much one would cost. Since joining the disabled community she’s found a passion for writing, producing and directing; advocating for disability inclusion in every project she creates. 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.”

Her writing and producing credits include the award-winning short films, “The Housewarming,” “HOW MUCH AM I WORTH?” “The Vanished,” and “Authentically Me” which won the Reelabilities 27 Second Film Competition and screened in taxi cabs throughout NYC. Handler’s TV acting credits include co-starring roles on Law & Order: SVU, Goliath, New Amsterdam, Bull and guest starring on NCIS: New Orleans. Some of her favorite stage credits since the loss of her leg include Lady Anne in Richard III and Maria in The Sound of Music.

Handler has given speeches and lead panels at universities and companies around the country, like Monmouth University, The University of New Haven, and Ogury. She discusses many disability related topics, including disability employment, healthcare and health insurance, and disability representation in the entertainment industry. [continue reading…]

Alanna Flax-Clark

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Alanna Flax-Clark with a horse kissing her face. Flax-Clark is a wheelchair user.

Alanna Flax-Clark

Actress, model, writer, and U.S. Para Equestrian Alanna Flax-Clark currently lives in New Jersey. Flax-Clark believes she is who she is today not in spite of her disabilities, but because of them. She’s had her own unique challenges, her own strengths and talents that she’s nurtured, and her own weaknesses and disability that she’s had to overcome. Flax-Clark was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease when she was younger. In her mid-20’s, she contracted a severe case of the influenza virus which caused her immune system to attack her nerves leaving her a quadriplegic.

Flax-Clark earned an M.S.Ed., specializing in teaching students with severe disabilities. When classroom teaching was no longer viable, she sought alternatives. Flax-Clark decided to test out Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) therapy for herself after becoming frustrated with her traditional rehab. It changed her life completely.  Flax-Clark fell in love with horses and the sport of Para-Dressage through her rehab with physical therapy through (EAAT). With her background as a Special Education teacher, she also began working for this program, and saw how her students enjoyed and benefited from this type of therapy. [continue reading…]

Jennifer Fink

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Jennifer Fink smiling headshot

Jennifer Fink

Jennifer Fink is a social entrepreneur and management consultant whose passion lies in promoting behavioral and community health to empower individuals learning to cope with anxiety and depression. Due to an accident and illness in her mid-20s, Ms. Fink lives with nonvisible disabilities, anxiety/depression. Fink had founded a nonprofit and co-authored a children’s book supporting military children. She collaborated with the Obama White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, and due to Fink’s finesse, former First Lady Michelle Obama filmed a video for a USO Asia-Pacific Tour that Fink co-led. A captivating and relatable storyteller, she weaves humor and grace as she embraces and shares her story, wisdom, and lessons learned from her journey. [continue reading…]

Tamar Davis

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Tamar Davis smiling headshot

Tamar Davis

As a person born with a disability and the parent of a child with a disability, Tamar Davis is keenly aware of the importance of inclusion advocacy within and beyond the Jewish community, which is evident in both her professional career and lay leadership roles. In August 2020, Tamar became the CEO of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education from her seat on the Gateways Board of Trustees, and from her role as the Chief Development Officer for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston. She came to JCRC after 12 years at Hadassah, most recently as their National Director of Annual Giving. Tamar is an active volunteer in the Greater Boston Jewish community, having previously served as Board Chair and Board member of the Young Israel of Brookline. When she lived in Manhattan, Tamar was a Vice President of Congregation Ohab Zedek, a member of JNFuture’s Leadership Ring, and co-founded ViZion, a growing network of professionals working for Jewish, Israel and Zionist-related non-profits (now managed by the American Zionist Movement). Tamar has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business. A proud stepmother and mother to five children, Tamar and her husband, Allan, live in Brookline, MA. [continue reading…]

Andrea Jennings

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Andrea Jennings headshot smiling

Andrea Jennings

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…]

Ariella Barker, JD, MPA

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Ariella Barker smiling headshot. Barker is a white woman with blonde hair down past her shoulders who uses a wheelchair

Ariella Barker

Ariella 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. [continue reading…]

Sasha Ross Becker

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Sasha Ross Becker smiling headshot

Sasha Ross Becker
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Sasha Ross Becker (she, her) is a graphic designer, illustrator and newly-minted speaker. Ross Becker was born in the great green hills of Middlesex, Vermont, and moved from the plant-filled hills of Vermont to the people-filled streets of New York City a few years ago. She underwent several surgeries due to a brain tumor, with resulting disabilities. A dedicated advocate for all people with disabilities, one of Ross Becker’s illustrations (displayed herein) was selected and hung in Sen. Bernie Sander’s congressional office in Washington, D.C., promoting disability inclusion. Through her graphic design work, illustrations and typography, Ross Becker demonstrates her keen ability to craft the message that a client is looking to convey. [continue reading…]

Abigail Shaw

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Abigail Shaw smiling seated on a bench outside

Abigail Shaw
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Abigail 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 Ally in 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…]

Angela Arena, CPA, MBA

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Angela Arena smiling headshot wearing a suit jacket

Angela Arena
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Angela Arena (she, her) is a CPA with an MBA in Information Technology from Pace University. She also has a Certificate in Pastry and Baking from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Arena is the former owner of Queens Court Bakery in Long Island City. Living with diabetes since her childhood, Arena has never let diabetes stop her from anything. She wears an insulin pump and a Continuous Glucose Monitor and is an advocate for pump therapy. She counsels other Type 1 diabetics about the benefits of tight glucose control and pump therapy. [continue reading…]

Dr. Nelle Richardson

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Dr. Nelle Richardson headshot smiling

Dr. Nelle Richardson
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Dr. Nelle L. Richardson (she, her) immigrated to the U.S. from the Caribbean. She is an ordained pastor, motivational speaker, counselor, life coach and self-advocate. Richardson lives with nonvisible disabilities due to two accidents: a traumatic brain injury and neck and back injuries. As a motivational speaker, she addresses disability and racial bias. [continue reading…]

1 2 3 4 5
Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

CONTACT US

East Coast: 11333 Woodglen Drive, #102, Rockville, MD 20852

West Coast: 5115 Wilshire Blvd, #231, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Office Number: 202-517-6272

Email: info@respectability.org

GUIDESTAR PLATINUM

RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report is a GuideStar Platinum Participant. GuideStar Platinum Participant Logo
© 2021 RESPECTABILITY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SITE DESIGN BY COOL GRAY SEVEN   |   SITE DEVELOPMENT BY WEB SYMPHONIES   |      SITEMAP

Back to Top

Translate »