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Black and white Headshots of 45 of the speakers in RespectAbility's Disability Speakers Bureau

RespectAbility’s Disability Training and Speakers Bureau

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RespectAbility’s Disability Training and Speakers Bureau is a key tool in making your organization welcoming and inclusive of people with physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health or other disabilities!

Our focus is a Big IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access). We want to help you grow and reach your goals. With our Big IDEA, you can count on us for: 

  • Authentic and knowledgeable voices of people with disabilities speaking to your teams and Employee Resource Groups.
  • Trained experts from diverse disability and intersectional backgrounds who bring their lived experience and insight to trainings and discussions that will advance your ability to create intentionally accessible places and communities.

RespectAbility helps companies, nonprofits and educational organizations rise to a better future where people with disabilities’ authentic experiences, innovations and dedication can flourish.

Consider these facts:

  • One-in-four adults in the U.S. live with a disability and roughly half of the population has a loved one with a disability.
  • According to Nielsen Research, “consumers with disabilities including their families, friends and associates, represent a $1 trillion market segment. Americans with disabilities represent the third-largest market behind Baby Boomers and the mature market.”

Proven accessibility strategies help maximize workforce productivity. Did you know:

  • You likely already have employees with disabilities, as 75% of those with disabilities have nonvisible disabilities, such as diabetes, anxiety and ADHD;
  • People with disabilities are the largest untapped workforce population in the country; and
  • Multiple studies show that workers with disabilities improve the profitability and innovation of companies offering adequate accommodations.

Our Disability Training and Speakers Bureau can help you prepare for all of these benefits. RespectAbility customizes sessions to meet your unique needs, issues and audiences. All of our speakers have disabilities and offer specific relatable stories and easy solutions. Many of our expert speakers are members of BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ communities and reflect on intersectional experiences. We are happy to customize a session for you! We also offer a variety of specific topics, including:

Request A Speaker | Meet The Speakers

Topic Descriptions

Disability 101: Ensuring Best Practices in Disability Inclusion 

What is disability? Who does it impact and how can you be welcoming, respectful and inclusive of people with disabilities? In this practical and easy to follow session, you will learn about the disability community, as well as disability inclusion and etiquette. Through humor and insights, speakers with disabilities share best practices, along with how to avoid common mistakes. After the session, you will be better able to recognize, respect and interact with people with disabilities, as consumers, colleagues, family and friends. Sessions start with 20-30 minutes of foundational ideas and tips, and then open up for questions. This topic is extremely popular as a virtual “lunch and learn” for nonprofits, governmental, equity and other organizations as well as disability employee resource groups.

Disability History

How has disability been defined in historical eras? How and why did disability movements for social and political change develop? Who have been the major national and local leaders? What major acts of legislation have defined the rights of disabled Americans? What is equal access and universal design? How do these concepts depart from previous American ideas about civil rights and equality? Learn from modern voices in the quest for disability rights about the history of the cause and how the disability community’s struggle for equal rights has come a long way yet still has a long way to go.

Workplace Accommodations

In this informative and actionable session, participants learn strategies, resources, and procedures around workplace accommodations and meeting employer obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn from experts in disability inclusion and reasonable accommodations who understand your questions regarding workplace accommodations. Our speakers will demonstrate how accommodations are simpler and less expensive than you might think. Accommodations can maximize both productivity and employee retention. After this session, you will be able to accommodate the 25% of working-aged adults with disabilities and implement accommodations that allow your employees and organization to thrive. This session is popular with HR teams and managers. Studies show that companies that include staff with disabilities are more productive and profitable. Employees with disabilities bring innovation, positive morale and loyalty.

ADA 101: Your Obligation Toward Customers and Employees

This session will provide an informative introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it applies both to employing individuals with disabilities and serving the public. People with disabilities bring value as both customers and employees. It is important for every organization and company to be aware of its legal obligations. Note: this session is not intended as legal advice and will not offer CLE credit.

Best Practices: Recruitment and Retention

From Sir Richard Branson to Greta Thunberg and Amanda Gorman – some of the most talented people have disabilities. In this session, you will gain key skills and contacts that will help you recruit and retain employees with disabilities – thelargest pool of untapped labor in the nation. Our trainers are people with disabilities who have experienced both positive and inadequate workplace practices. They will walk organizations through building an environment of inclusion. After the session, you will be able to recruit and hire disabled employees. They will become an integral and valued part of your organization. This session is popular with HR teams and managers who want to maximize employee productivity and innovation, minimize risks and expand diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. 

Creating a Welcoming, Inclusive and Accessible Organization

Studies show the vast majority of organizations want to be inclusive of people with disabilities – but they don’t know how. This practical session will provide tips to make your organization more inclusive. Your trainers will discuss small, easy-to-implement disability inclusion initiatives that will make your organization accessible to millions of people with disabilities. Larger-scale inclusion initiatives will also be discussed and explained. After the session, participantswill be able to include people with disabilities in all facets of your organization. This session is ideal for organizations that care about diversity, equity and inclusion, but that have not focused on access for people with disabilities.

How Hollywood is Working to End Ableism

Until recently, Hollywood excluded people with disabilities and/or showed disabled people in a negative light. However, this is changing fast. In this session, you will learn the trends of how many studios are paying more attention, employing people with disabilities in film and television, both on and off screen. Get behind-the-scenes insights on how breakthroughs are changing everything from children’s content and young adult series to major motion pictures.  Your trainers are entertainment professionals, including actors, directors, producers, writers and production assistants. This session is popular with Disability Employee Resource Groups who want positive industry updates regarding the elimination of stigma for people with disabilities. After the session, you’ll be able to utilize lessons learned in the entertainment industry to ensure diverse, authentic representation in your organization’s videos, multimedia and marketing campaigns.

Ensuring Accessible In-Person and Virtual Events

Seventy-two percent of nonprofit organizations say they have a policy of nondiscrimination against people with disabilities. But, few know how to take the simple steps to make their programming truly accessible. In this practical session, you will learn how to use an accessibility checklist that will help you assess a building’s accessibility and learn how to offer accommodations such as sign language interpreters, live captioning or food allergy alternatives. As many organizations continue to host virtual events, learn how to ensure they are fully accessible to all as well. This session is designed to train organizations to ensure that their practices match their principles of inclusion. This session is perfect for staff or organizations hosting events, either virtually or in person.

Ensuring Accessible Websites and Social Media

Websites are now the front lobbies of our organizations, and social media is fast replacing the traditional ways our organizations connect with the public. Research shows organizations are not yet meeting basic requirements for accessibility, such as captioned videos, screen reader-friendly designs and image descriptions/alt-text. Additionally, this session will explore accessibility specifics on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. This online workshop gives organizations key tips to open their digital doors.

Living with a Disability in an Inaccessible World

In this session, you will learn first-hand how people with disabilities navigate a non-inclusive society, as well as steps that can make the world more accessible. Your trainers will discuss their experiences working in accessible and inaccessible organizations, providing easy solutions and accommodations. After the session, you will recognize the importance of inclusion and be able to advocate for organizations to become inclusive of people with disabilities.

Celebrating Great Artists with Disabilities

Some of the greatest artists in history including Matisse, Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo had disabilities. Highlights of their artwork and artwork by talented people with disabilities will be presented. This is a fun and uplifting session perfect for conferences and equity initiatives focusing on asset-framing, along with disability organizations and disability employee resource groups.

Ensuring A Welcoming Lexicon and Inclusive Storytelling

Regardless of intent, words or phrases can express bias. Using the National Center on Disability and Journalism’s (NCDJ) disability language style guide and other practical information, you will receive tools on how to communicate in an effective and inclusive way. This session is ideal for journalists, communication professionals and members of the public seeking appropriate and accurate language when writing or talking about people with disabilities. The session covers general terms and words on physical disabilities, hearing and visual disabilities, mental and cognitive disabilities and seizure disorders. Beyond specific language, learn from communications experts on how to ensure overall storytelling is inclusive of disabled people.

Mental Health & Wellness in the Workplace

In this session, you will learn implementable strategies to prioritize your employees’ wellbeing in the workplace. The trainers for this session are all individuals who are navigating life with mental health issues. This workshop is popular among organizations looking to increase mental health wellness in their workforce and reduce stigmas. This session is not intended to provide medical advice and is not a substitute for proper mental health supports.

Disability & the AAPI Community: Challenges, Successes and Celebrities

More than 1.3 million members of the AAPI community have physical, sensory, mental health, learning or other disabilities. This informative session will examine the intersections of the AAPI and disability communities. The speakers are disabled AAPI professionals. They will share tips for success, inclusion and equity while also showcasing other successful disabled AAPI individuals such as Sen. Tammy Duckworth and RespectAbility Chairman and Disability Rights Lawyer Ollie Cantos. After this session, you will have the tools to connect with disabled members of the AAPI community. This is a great event for partnerships between disability and AAPI employee resource groups.

Disability & the Hispanic/Latinx Community: Challenges, Successes and Celebrities

This informative session examines the intersections of the Latinx and disability communities, helping organizations connect with the 5.2 million disabled Latinx population. All of the speakers for this session have disabilities and are members of Latinx/Hispanic communities. This session also highlights success stories, such as actress Selena Gomez, RespectAbility Board Member and Professor Dr. Victor Pineda and CEO of the United Spinal Association Vincenzo Piscopo. This is a great event for collaboration between Latinx and disability employee resource groups. 

Disability & the Black Community: Challenges, Successes and Celebrities

This session takes a deep dive into the intersections of anti-Black racism and disability, exploring its effects of the school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality, employment and healthcare inequities. It showcases some of the 5.5 million successful disabled African Americans, including entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Daymond John, U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. This is a great session for organizations looking to become knowledgeable about intersectional identities.

Disability & the LGBTQ+ Community: Challenges, Successes and Celebrities

Recent studies show that due to prejudice and bullying, members of the LGBTQ+ community are at greater risk for mental health disabilities, such as anxiety and depression. Overall, there are 11 million Americans who are members of both the LGBTQ+ and disability communities. This includes people with Spina Bifida, blindness, those on the autism spectrum and a wide range of disabilities. This session explores these intersections, discussing strategies to become more inclusive. It also highlights  success stories such as such as actor, writer and producer Ryan O’Connell, RespectAbility Communications Associate Eric Ascher and filmmaker Kiah Amara. Leaders of this session are disabled members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a great session for DEI groups.

Request A Speaker | Meet The Speakers

Meet The Speakers

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Jewish Division

Los Angeles Jewish Division

 
Aaron Kaufman smiling in front of flowers on a table, holding onto his walking frame

Aaron Kaufman

Jewish Division

Aaron Seglin smiling headshot

Aaron Seglin

Jewish Division

Aaron Wolf headshot

Aaron Wolf

Jewish Division

Abigail Shaw smiling seated on a bench outside

Abigail Shaw

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Adam Fishbein smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Adam Fishbein, MPA

Jewish Division

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

Alanna Flax-Clark

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Alexander Howard smiling headshot

Alex Howard

Jewish Division

Andrea Jennings headshot smiling

Andrea Jennings

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Angela Arena smiling headshot wearing a suit jacket

Angela Arena, CPA, MBA

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

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

Ariella Barker, JD, MPA

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Baksha Ali smiling holding a white cane

Baksha Ali

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

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

Barry Shore

Jewish Division

Carly Okyle, MA

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Catarina Rivera smiling headshot

Catarina Rivera

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Charlie Kramer seated on the ground with his hand on his heart, smiling

Charlie Kramer

Jewish Division

Craig Leen smiling headshot wearing glasses and a suit and tie

Craig Leen

David Hertweck headshot smiling

David Hertweck

David Sharif smiling headshot

David Sharif

Jewish Division

Denise Jacobson smiling headshot

Denise Sherer Jacobson

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Arielle Silverman headshot

Dr. Arielle Silverman

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Dr. Nelle Richardson headshot smiling

Dr. Nelle Richardson

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Emily Borses smiling headshot

Emily Borses

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

RespectAbility Communications Associate Eric Ascher smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eric Ascher

Jewish Division

Erika Abbott smiling headshot

Erika Abbott

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Ila Eckhoff smiling outside in front of trees and plants wearing glasses

Ila Eckhoff

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Jason Lieberman smiling headshot

Jason Lieberman

Jewish Division

Jennifer Fink smiling headshot

Jennifer Fink

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

headshot of Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi smiling and facing the camera grayscale photo

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Jordyn Zimmerman smiling headshot

Jordyn Zimmerman

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Joseph Bensmihen headshot smiling in front of an American flag

Joseph “JB” Bensmihen

Jewish Division

Joshua Steinberg headshot wearing a suit and tie

Joshua Steinberg

Jewish Division

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

Justin Borses

Jewish Division

Kathleen L. Brockway smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Kathleen L. Brockway

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Ketrina Hazell seated in her wheelchair, smiling

Ketrina Hazell

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Khadija Bari walking down a street holding a white cane, smiling

Khadija Bari

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Kiah Amara smiling headshot

Kiah Amara

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Lachi smiling headshot seated backwards on a chair.

Lachi

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Laka Negassa smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Laka Mitiku Negassa

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

headshot of Lauren Appelbaum smiling and wearing a blazer grayscale photo

Lauren Appelbaum

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Lauren Arena smiling wearing glasses and a suit jacket.

Lauren Arena

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Leah Romond smiling headshot

Leah Romond

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Lee Chernotsky headshot

Lee Chernotsky

Jewish Division

Lesley Hennen smiling headshot

Lesley Hennen

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Lily Coltoff smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Lily Coltoff

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Lisa Sage smiling headshot

Lisa Sage

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Matan Koch headshot

Matan Koch

Jewish Division

Michael Gilberg smiling headshot wearing a suit and tie

Michael Gilberg

Jewish Division

Michael Jordan Segal speaking at NASA

Michael Jordan Segal

Jewish Division

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

Millie Gonzalez, M.A.

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Neil Jacobson sitting at his computer and smiling he has a beard and is wearing glasses grayscale photo

Neil Jacobson

Jewish Division

Nelly Nieblas smiling headshot.

Nelly Nieblas

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Norma Stanley smiling headshot

Norma Stanley

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Ollie Cantos smiling in front of an American flag

Ollie Cantos

Pamela Schuller smiling headshot with her hands behind her head

Pamela Schuller

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

headshot of Philip Kahn Pauli wearing glasses with beard and mustache grayscale photo

Philip Kahn-Pauli

Rabbi Darby Leigh smiling headshot

Rabbi Darby Leigh

Jewish Division

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman smiling headshot

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Rachel Handler smiling headshot

Rachel Handler

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Randall Duchesneau smiling and wearing a black suit, light shirt, and checkered tie and glasses grayscale photo

Randall Duchesneau

Sasha Ross Becker smiling headshot

Sasha Ross Becker

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Shelly Christensen smiling headshot

Shelly Christensen, MA, FAAIDD

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Shlomo Meyers smiling headshot on the beach with the ocean behind him

Shlomo Meyers

Jewish Division

Susan Sygall smiling in front of bushes and flowers

Susan Sygall

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Tamar Davis smiling headshot

Tamar Davis

Jewish Division and Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Tatiana Lee smiling outside in a parking lot.

Tatiana Lee

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Vanni Le black and white headshot in front of a staircase

Vanni Le

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

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

Victor Santiago Pineda

Yonatan Koch smiling headshot

Yonatan Koch

Jewish Division

Zazel Chavah O'Garra smiling headshot

Zazel-Chavah O’Garra, MSW

Women and Nonbinary Persons Division

Request a Speaker

To receive more information and meet with a representative of RespectAbility, please fill out the form below. You can request one of the Speakers from our roster or indicate a topic of interest. We will match you with a speaker to meet your goals.

If you have any questions, please email Speakers@RespectAbility.org or JakeS@RespectAbility.org. Someone from our team will get back to you.


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