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Staff Spotlight

Joy St. Juste on ADHD, Motherhood, and Defeating Ableist Expectations

Joy St. Juste smiling seated on a couch with her children lying down with her.

Joy St. Juste with her children

Los Angeles, CA, March 4 – A third-generation Los Angeles native, RespectAbility’s new Marketing and Communications Director Joy St. Juste began her career as a freelance journalist after graduating from Arizona State University. However, after facing a rut in her life, she made a leap of faith and took a job at the English language newspaper, The Guadalajara Reporter. Her time in Mexico was integral to connecting to her roots and key aspects of her identity. I asked her if she connects her Latinidad to her gender in any way:

“There is definitely a throughline there…In connecting with your ancestors.” St. Juste replied. “When I meditate, I never see a man. It’s always like my grandma and my great grandma there, you know? And it’s interesting being a mother of a boy and a girl… Having my daughter, I definitely feel that through line.”

St. Juste explains that being diagnosed with ADHD heavily plays into womanhood in a myriad of ways. She was not diagnosed until she was 37 and this presented its own unique challenges: [continue reading…]

Staff Spotlight: Jacquill Moss

Jacquill Moss smiling headshot

Jacquill Moss

Los Angeles, CA, January 12 – RespectAbility’s newest hire Jacquill Moss joins our growing Entertainment team in a newly created position of Entertainment Media Program Coordinator, where he will assist in tracking and coordinating the growing training and consulting requests that come in to the department.

“It’s a blessing to be able to grow, learn and develop new skills while being able to utilize my best qualities,” Moss said.

After being selected through RespectAbility as one of 10 participants of the WarnerMedia Access Early Career Bootcamp in 2021, Moss was recruited for the Entertainment Media Program Coordinator position. [continue reading…]

Staff Spotlight: Molly McConville

Molly McConville smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Molly McConville

Molly McConville (she/her) is a Development Associate at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. In her work, McConville is responsible for foundation relations, database management, support in development operations and event planning.

McConville graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Spanish. She participated in the RespectAbility National Leadership Program in Summer 2019 as a Public Policy and Employment Apprentice.

“The Apprenticeship prepared me for the role I am in now because it taught me the ins and outs of working for a nonprofit,” said McConville. “I am more confident writing, advocating, and fundraising because of what I learned during my time as a policy Apprentice.” McConville is still friends with some of the other Apprentices that she worked with during the Summer 2019 cohort. [continue reading…]

Nelly Nieblas Combines Policy Expertise with Lived Disability Experience and Intersectional Identity to Bring Equity and Inclusion to Education

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

Nelly Nieblas

Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 15 – Nelly Nieblas has been going against the grain her entire life. As a first-generation Latina with a physical disability, Nieblas was raised to be independent and speak up for herself by her family, yet she found herself consistently being met by society’s low expectations of her due to false and negative stigmas attached to her intersectional identities of being both Latinx and Disabled. Through years of hard work and exceeding those societal expectations, Nieblas has made it her life mission to not only “make the outsider become the insider,” but to ensure people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully involved in the community.

At the core of Nieblas’ policy work is her commitment to bringing more inclusion and equity to the education system. Emphasizing that a wholistic education is a key element to success, Nieblas advocates for people with disabilities to have full access to the support systems they need to complete their education and set themselves up for success to enter the workforce and have their own self-determined reality. In addition, Nieblas underscored the importance of being active members in their lives and not being dependent on the social safety net. [continue reading…]

Staff Spotlight on Nelly Nieblas

Nelly Nieblas smiling, seated in a wheelchair on a sidewalkNelly 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 college graduate from the University of Southern California and a proud Latina with a physical disability. She also holds an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. [continue reading…]

Staff Spotlight on Vanni Le

Vanni Le smiling in front of a staircase

Vanni Le

Vanni Le is RespectAbility’s first-ever Entertainment Outreach Program Manager. She brought brand strategy and program management experience from both the entertainment and nonprofit fields, having previously worked at the Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, March of Dimes and most recently A+E Networks.

“Vanni Le has only been on our team since November of last year, but she already has made a massive difference,” said Lauren Appelbaum, Vice President of Communications at RespectAbility. “As our work in the entertainment industry continues to rapidly expand, we are so lucky to have her on our team.” [continue reading…]

Staff Spotlight on Ian Cherutich

Headshot of Ian Cherutich smiling in front of trees and bushes.

Ian Cherutich

Ian Cherutich only joined RespectAbility’s Staff in October 2020. But in just a few months, he has already helped expand RespectAbility’s capacity to build partnerships with foundations and other nonprofits, enabling our national footprint to grow in size and scope.

“Although I have been with the organization for less than a year, it has already been a very educational experience,” said Cherutich. “RespectAbility’s development department tackles each opportunity for funding in a thoughtful way and includes different staff members’ perspectives to inform our approaches.  Having met with advocates of our work in the nonprofit and philanthropic spaces, I can see that the reputation we’ve built will continue to pay dividends as we push for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all spheres of life.” [continue reading…]

Award-Winning Cinematographer Nasreen Alkhateeb Channels Progress on the Campaign Trail

Nasreen Alkhateeb smiling headshot

Nasreen Alkhateeb

New York City, Nov. 12 – Nasreen Alkhateeb is an award-winning director and cinematographer who has dedicated the last decade to creating content that amplifies underrepresented voices. She is a leader on diverse storytelling projects that include broadcast, digital, and film. Most recently, she has spent the last two months as the cinematographer for Kamala Harris’ campaign as she was seeking the Vice Presidency. I sat down with her after the monumental win to discuss her creative trajectory, life on the campaign trail, and what the future of American filmmaking looks like.

When did you start developing your voice?

I started to develop my voice at a young age… It didn’t feel like a good thing then, because I was ostracized for being different and othered. People didn’t really know how to relate to me, because of my ethnicity, culture, my parents’ religion; because of my skin color. I was raised by a women’s rights activist who taught me at a young age to ask for what I want – and to use my voice not just on behalf of myself, but the people around me as well. At Pratt Institute, I found a community that was like me in that it used its artistic gifts to create work that can potentially influence the world. That was there I started to envision how I can take my weird film, sculpture, and monster make-up, and turn it into social justice work. [continue reading…]

Steinberg Uses Personal and Unique Understanding of Disability Community to Help Others Achieve Success

Joshua Steinberg headshot wearing a suit and tie

Joshua Steinberg

Joshua Steinberg lives near the beach and enjoys spending his free time there, as well as walking and playing fetch with his beloved dog Shady. During the day, Steinberg spends his time working to make change possible for others with disabilities. Recently that has included fighting to ensure that people with disabilities who rely on food stamps can get food delivered at home. That way they do not have to risk a virus in-order-to eat.

“It only takes one act of kindness to change a person’s life for the better,” he said. “People with disabilities are often an overlooked population. I do not believe that having a disability should hinder you from success, and because of that, it is my passion and mission in life to give others with disabilities the opportunities and skills they need to succeed with their disability and advance their lives for the better.” [continue reading…]

Eric Ascher: Conversation Starter and Disability Agenda Setter

Eric Ascher smiles taking a selfie at Apple Park's visitor center

Eric Ascher at Apple Park’s Visitor Center

Eric Ascher is one of the most interesting young leaders in America. He’s a fountain of knowledge around two key passions – live television talent contests and innovations in technology. It’s like he’s always looking for the best in man and in machines.

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility, where he is on the front lines of fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. As the Communications Associate, he is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President of 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. [continue reading…]

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