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Professions: VP, RespectAbility & Author of the Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit | Award-Winning Disability Inclusion & Accessibility Expert

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Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry.

Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative.

She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab.

Appelbaum is a sought-after expert and has been quoted by many national publications including Associated PressDeadlineThe Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, The Los Angeles Jewish JournalThe New York Times, RealScreenReuters, USA Today, Variety and The Washington Post. She has spoken on panels at the RealScreen Summit, Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, among others.

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Appelbaum serves on several national and local nonprofit boards. Appelbaum currently lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter and dog. She travels nationally, often to the Los Angeles area.

Publications & Media Appearances

Media Appearances

Selected Publications

Quoted In


Education

  • Syracuse University, M.S., Broadcast Journalism (2006)
  • Columbia University, B.A., Urban Studies and Political Science (2005)
  • Jewish Theological Seminary of America, B.A., Midrash (Biblical Exegesis) (2005)
  • Gratz College, Certificate in Secondary School Education (2001)
  • Boston University, Summer High School Program in Film and Television Production (1999)

Experience

Selected News Media and Accessibility Presentations, Speeches and Panels

Selected Entertainment Media Presentations, Speeches and Panels

Request Speakers

To receive more information and meet with a representative of RespectAbility about your training and/or event goals, 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 topics and speakers that meet your goals.

Our fees range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the speakers, format (in-person or virtual) and other considerations. This includes coordination of hiring talent, assistance with accessible event communications and marketing, tech overhead, captioning of recorded event, general operations prior to and day of event. Limited scholarships are available for nonprofit organizations.

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


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