Global Policy Partnerships and Community Impact Specialist, Block, Inc
Martin Guerrero is a member of the Global Policy Partnerships and Community Impact team at Block, a global technology company with a focus on financial services including Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL and TBD. As an e-commerce specialist with nearly 15 years in the website and domain name industry, he has helped Square sellers broaden their customer base by providing both onsite and online educational programs centered around the Square ecosystem. Guerrero also heads up cross-functional projects supporting Spanish-speaking and Indigenous small businesses and other community and third-party partners.
Senior Public Affairs Manager, Cruise LLC
Michele Lee is a Senior Public Affairs Manager focused on accessibility at Cruise, a self-driving car service. In this role, she cultivates relationships with key advocates, community organizations and experts representing the full diversity of the disability community to build a more accessible AV service. Lee is quadriplegic and has been a power wheelchair user for nearly 20 years after suffering a spinal cord injury from a motor vehicle accident. Combining a professional background in corporate and nonprofit organizations, with a long passion for disability rights advocacy, she is working towards an equitable accessible transportation future. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona and is a DisabilityLead fellow. Additionally, she has been appointed to various committees by the City of Chicago and served on multiple nonprofit boards to advance the rights of people with disabilities. Currently, Lee is a Board Member for the Chicago Transit Authority.
Executive Director, National Disability Institute
Thomas Foley is the Executive Director of National Disability Institute, a nonprofit committed to the financial empowerment and economic inclusion of people with disabilities and their families. Trained as a tax lawyer and financial planner, Foley has more than 30 years’ experience serving the disability community by working toward greater economic inclusion. As a person who is blind, he has been an advocate and dedicated his career to partnering with other thought leaders to address the complex drivers of economic inequality and create pathways to employment and financial security for the most vulnerable communities. In addition, Foley has been instrumental in developing and influencing federal and state legislation to encourage employment and increase participation of people with disabilities in employment and wealth-building programs. He is the author of EQUITY, the first asset building book for people with disabilities. Foley has worked closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve Board and multiple financial and community development institutions to design programs and provide technical assistance to better reach the disability community. Foley received his Master’s degree from the University of California: Berkeley and earned a JD from Hastings College of the Law.
Adam David Jones, CEO/Founder of Zeer, has been a serial entrepreneur since he was eight. He was an actor, producer, director and founder of several businesses. Seven years ago, Adam was assaulted and nearly killed. He pivoted his acting career to creating a 21st Century personal and public safety product using existing and emerging technologies. Adam is solving problems of criminal violence and medical emergency responses at scale.
Founder & CEO, Profitable Purpose Consulting
Nathan Stuck is an award-winning leader in the B Corp community and the Founder and CEO of Profitable Purpose Consulting, a culture, impact and B Corp consultancy. He founded and chairs B Local Georgia and serves on the board of B Academics, a nonprofit committed to research and experiential B Corp learning opportunities. Nathan is also the Executive Director of BLD Southeast, a regional annual B Corp conference that brings together B Corps from the southeastern United States for a celebration of business as a force for good. Nathan teaches an MBA course on B Corps at the University of Georgia, is a regular speaker at conferences and on podcasts around the world, and hosts the B The Change Georgia podcast. His first book, Happy Monday: Designing Your Dream Career, was released in 2022, and his TEDx Talk was released in March 2023.
Operations Director, Synergies Work
Shlok Shah currently serves as Operations Director at Synergies Work, where he helps disabled founders launch and grow sustainable businesses. Through his own startups, Shlok has worked with small-to-medium sized organizations in the healthcare, manufacturing, and promotional product spaces through management consulting, marketing strategy and product sourcing. Since joining Synergies Work, Shlok has helped grow the organization to become the largest startup hub for disabled founders in the country that has supported over 300 startups while also expanding the range of services provided to support founders at every stage of their business journey.
Deputy Director, National Disability Institute
Elizabeth Jennings has worked in the field of disability services for over 22 years. Elizabeth is passionate about disability rights as a civil rights issue and supporting the more than 61 million Americans with disabilities to realize the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act; equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. She is skilled in multi-modal training and technical assistance with an eye on customizing materials and approach to address learner differences and facilitate knowledge gains and capacity building. She is recognized nationally for her knowledge on employment and economic advancement strategies that improve the financial stability of people with disabilities and the interplay of those strategies with public benefits. Elizabeth applies positive psychology to both NDI and its funded projects. She manages a national well-being text campaign that provides research-based tips that promote individual resilience; works with NDI's researchers to include well-being measures within project outcomes; provides training on resilience and hope building activities; and integrates positive psychology tools and strategies into NDI’s policies and practices. Elizabeth is most recently researching and testing (as a sample of one) measures that support cancer survivors and individuals with chronic illnesses. She earned her Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a certification in Work Incentives & Benefits Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.
President/CEO, Sheila Lee & Associates, LLC - Learning Everywhere®
Sheila L. Hamilton is President/CEO of Sheila Lee & Associates, LLC - Learning Everywhere®. This international company, founded in 2006, holds an SBA Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and National Minority Supplier Diversity Council certifications. Learning Everywhere® has worked in over 50 countries and currently has a cadre of degreed and certified curriculum designers, training facilitators, strategists and executive coaches. Learning Everywhere® has led thousands of hours of professional development programs for staff at varying career levels in the private and public sectors and academia. Sheila’s educational background includes Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses/Jon Hopkins / Babson College, The Executive Education Program / Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Management, SBA Streetwise MBA/Boston University Entrepreneurial Management Institute and a Bachelor of Arts/Hofstra University. She has been honored by Associated Black Charities “Outstanding Women Owned Business,” Enterprising Women “Enterprising Women of the Year, Smart CEO Baltimore “Top 100 MBE,” “CEO Brava,” Baltimore Business Journal “100 Maryland Women” and 100 Black Men of D.C./Women Presidents Organization “25 Women of Color Achievement.”
CEO, TMB Tax & Financial Services
Talibah Bayles is CEO of TMB Tax & Financial Services and National Small Business Advocate on a mission to bring genuine solutions for ignored small businesses. A 2021 graduate of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Emerging Leaders Class, she is the driving force behind TMB Tax & Financial Services, a full-service tax advisory and small business financial wellness firm located in Birmingham, Ala. with clients across the United States. Talibah has combined her hands-on experience to develop the Bankable CEO™ Initiative – an innovative blend of financial services and training curriculum designed to empower clients through the financial tools of bookkeeping, payroll, tax planning, filing and compliance and business credit and financing coaching. In July 2020, Talibah provided testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship as an advocate for minority-owned small businesses shut out of COVID-19 funding. Tabilah identified and recommended next steps to break the barriers and to ensure access to capital. In July 2022, she was appointed as a member of the Small Business Majority National Leadership Council. Talibah also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Birmingham Black Metro Chamber of Commerce as Chair of the Economic Development and Finance Committees. She also served as a member of the City of Birmingham’s Inaugural Small Business Council (SBC) 2019-2021.
Founder and CEO, JuneBrain
Dr. Samantha Scott is the Founder and CEO of JuneBrain. Dr. Scott obtained her BS in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California. With more than 15 years of experience, she has dedicated her career to developing medical devices that diagnose and treat retinal diseases. Dr. Scott also uses neuroimaging and ophthalmic imaging techniques to track functional and structural changes that provide data for medical treatment. Dr. Scott’s passion for the eyes and brain stems from her own personal experience. In 2017, she was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder and experienced the challenge of communicating changes in her disease to healthcare providers between clinical visits. This inspired her to launch JuneBrain. She has since built a team of brilliant and diverse individuals who share her passion for improving the quality of life for neurological and retinal disease patients.
CPA, SPHR Employee Resource Network Leader, Wells Fargo
Omar Ritter is the Employee Resource Network Program Leader on the DE&I Strategy and Employee Affairs team. Previously, Omar worked on the Wells Fargo Technology Finance team. His roles prior to Wells Fargo were the Division CFO of the 25k person Call Center Division at Conduent and Executive Director of Technology Finance & Business Management at JPMorgan Chase. His primary responsibilities in all these roles were to simplify the "financial story" for senior management and to build high performing teams. Omar graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from West Point, Omar served six years in the Army as a light cavalry officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for gallantry in combat during the initial invasion of Iraq [Battle of Samawah]. He also deployed to other parts of the Middle East and Kosovo during his tour of duty. Omar was medically retired due to brain trauma at the rank of Captain. After retiring from the Army, Omar attended Columbia Business School in New York City where he earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance. The University also awarded him the Feldberg Fellowship for his leadership and teamwork. Omar is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
Founder and CEO, Perfectly Pitched
Heather Lawver is the Founder and CEO of Perfectly Pitched, the creators of Ceemo.ai, your friendly automated CMO. In just her first two years in business, Heather helped startups raise over $20 million, which went to 97% underrepresented founders. Now she's automating and scaling that impact with Ceemo, which generates custom data-backed brands for startups, and in a single click, automatically applies them to all needed marketing materials. As a life-long entrepreneur, Heather started her first community organization at age 7, her first non-profit at 13, and her first successful international human rights campaign at 16. Heather is especially passionate about expanding inclusion and diversity across venture capital for women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled founders.
Vice President of Supplier Diversity, Disability:IN
Philip DeVliegher is responsible for leading the strategy and execution of Disability:IN’s global supply chain and supplier diversity program. As a passionate advocate of innovative supplier diversity and inclusion, he has been actively involved with Disability:IN’s supplier diversity program since its inception in 2010. With more than 20 years of corporate experience in supplier diversity, human resources and talent acquisition, as well as nearly 10 years of entrepreneurship and non-profit leadership in supplier diversity, he brings a unique perspective to his role. Philip is a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®), the premier cross-culturally valid assessment for building cultural competence in individuals and organizations, and a graduate of Florida State University.
Operations Manager, National Disability Finance Coalition
Andrew Porter is Operations Manager of the National Disability Finance Coalition. He has worked in the financial services industry for 14 years including 4 years in the CDFI industry. He has extensive experience underwriting CDFIs and other impact investments on behalf of wealth management firms, banks and other investors.
Executive Director, National Disability Finance Coalition
Pam Porter is Executive Director of the National Disability Finance Coalition. She has worked over the past 15 years in the CDFI industry, previously as EVP at Opportunity Finance Network. She is an experienced consultant working with CDFI practitioners and CDFI investors including banks, foundations, and individual investors and their advisors. Prior to joining the CDFI field, Pam had a distinguished career in the private sector at a global consulting firm and Wall Street Bank.
M.S.W, CEO and Founder, Financial Joy School
Ruby "SunShine" Taylor, M.S.W, is the CEO and Founder of Financial Joy School, a virtual educational platform and gaming company that empowers Black and Brown youth and their families through financial education and investment tools. A proud double HBCU alumna of Howard University and Virginia Union University, Ruby is a passionate advocate for closing the racial wealth gap and establishing financial equity. A survivor of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Ruby identifies as a disabled Black, queer woman. She's a motivational speaker, a wife, mother, daughter, aunt, sister and friend determined to make the world more equal, joyful and just. Ruby has partnered with renowned financial brands including Wells Fargo, Trust & Will and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and has been featured in leading publications such as The Motley Fool, Inc.com, Fast Company, Forbes, Black Enterprise and Mashable.com. She resides in Baltimore, MD with her wife, Dr. Sheila Graham, and their two children.
Founder, AbleBooks Africa
Aanuoluwapo Omoleye is a 2nd-year graduate student at Gallaudet University and the 2023 winner of the 6th annual Bison Tank for her enterprise, AbleBooks Africa. She believes in the power of creating inclusive and representational products as pivotal drivers of positive change, especially for underrepresented persons in the educational system.
MS, CCC-SLP Executive Consultant, CEO and Cofounder, Exceptional Lab
Mai Ling Chan is a speech-language pathologist, industry historian, global connector, keynote speaker and technology entrepreneur. Building on a lifetime of successful ventures, she focuses on supporting disability-focused thought leaders and building a global ecosystem to support innovative and assistive technologies. As an executive consultant, and through Exceptional Lab, she facilitates national and international partnerships with disability experts and supports strategic business development. In addition, after publishing three Amazon best-selling books in 18 months, Mai continues to spotlight industry leaders on the Xceptional Leaders podcast, now in its sixth year reaching listeners in more than 80 countries. Mai is driven to empower individuals, educators and innovators in the disability space, guiding them to transform their visions into impactful realities.
Head of Community, Director of Marketing, ZenBusiness
Marcela Shine is a seasoned builder with 25 plus years of experience in optimizing operations, transforming marketing processes and improving company culture. She has held CEO and COO positions in martech and venture-backed SaaS startups, working with Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups alike. Marcela began her career in fintech at Refinitiv, where she led global product teams providing data and technology solutions to financial institutions worldwide. In addition to her professional pursuits, Marcela is deeply committed to advocacy work. She supports cancer patients through her involvement with The Tutu Project, securing six-figure corporate partnerships and driving awareness for the foundation. As a board member of Gift of Adoption, Marcela fundraises to alleviate adoption costs for families. With a strong connection to her Colombian roots, she founded Grupo Alegra, a travel company, and advises private-equity firms on investments in Colombia. Marcela's tech expertise has also benefited the Colombian Film Festival and nonprofits focusing on early childhood.
Founder, Invisible Strengths
Mariah Barber is a seasoned public health professional with a strong background in health education and diversity, equity and inclusion consulting. Holding an MPH in community, social and behavioral health, along with a B.S. in public health and a B.A. in international studies, Mariah's expertise includes cultural competency. She is also fluent in Spanish. Her dynamic career spans roles as a radio personality, spoken word artist, content curator, mentor, writer, researcher advocate and more. Mariah is deeply passionate about inclusive design in tech products and recently launched Invisible Strengths, a hiring platform dedicated to those with invisible disabilities. In a notable achievement, Invisible Strengths was recognized in 2023 as one of the "10 Startups to Watch" by the Washington Business Journal. Mariah has successfully navigated through Halcyon, 2gether International and the Entrepreneur Development Network Program while diligently developing their business, Invisible Strengths. They take immense pride in being trailblazers for other intersectional individuals, empowering them to authentically show up as their full selves every day. Mariah's guiding mantra: "Some People Do, Some People Never Do, Some People Overdo, How Do You Do?" reflects her thoughtful approach to challenges. She is dedicated to amplifying unheard voices and making a positive impact in public health on a global scale.https://www.invisiblestrengths.com/
Senior Small Business Advisor, PeopleFund
As Senior Small Business Advisor, Austin Breckenridge creates partnerships with local stakeholders, serves as the one of the primary business advisors, and helps to oversee the business advising program at PeopleFund. In his role, Austin works one on one with new and existing business owners on how to plan, launch, and expand their businesses and covers topics ranging from accessing capital to business planning to financial statements/projections. Before joining PeopleFund, Austin spent six years in small business and commercial banking and twelve years as business owner in the live music and recording industry.
Executive Director, Northwest Access Fund
Emerson Sekins is the Executive Director of Northwest Access Fund , a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) serving people with disabilities and seniors in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Northwest Access Fund offers customized loans, financial coaching, and other resources to promote access to assistive technology, independence, financial resilience, and life opportunities. Emerson is passionate about helping people with disabilities and their families navigate systemic and financial barriers due to disability, including asset and savings restrictions tied to public benefits, high medical debt and prescription costs, bankruptcies, and unscored or lower credit scores. Emerson has served as Northwest Access Fund's Executive Director since 2017 after having joined the organization as a program staff person in 2013. Emerson holds an MPA from UW’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. He is the Secretary of the Washington Community Investment Coalition and the Treasurer of the National Disability Finance Coalition.
Strategic Partnerships and Content Manager, SMBX
Caroline Selia leads Strategic Partnerships and Content for SMBX. She has 12 years of financial marketing experience on Wall Street, most recently at the Quant Strategy Hedge Fund, R.G. Niederhoffer. Caroline began her career working with the Adam Dell Venture Capital Fund. She also has vast digital media experience as a consultant (including social media, content writing, video production and podcasts) with clients such as Spotify, Fireball Network and 5 Senses Tasting. Caroline is a passionate advocate for music education and higher education. She has worked with the Statement Arts organization for a decade (which helps underserved NYC high school kids get into college) and volunteered for the Sing for Hope Pianos in the city project. She also trained as a professional singer and can be heard doing regular vocal concerts at the American Cancer Society at the Hope Lodge in New York City.
Jesse Magee, Musician
Jesse Magee is an upbeat, easy-going musician whose musical career developed rapidly during his teen years when he discovered that he excelled in many types of musical endeavors. Later, he began performing songs at local coffee houses and asking local bands if they would mind a walk-on. The crowds roared for this young man who shook the venue without any warning! At 16 years old, Jesse was already an accomplished drummer even though his drum instructor said he could not play without proper use of his right side. As a self-taught drummer, he was the envy of his peers and now one of the best drummers and drum instructors for children of all ability levels, specializing in children with disabilities. The guitar playing began in his teens. Jesse had to play the guitar upside down and without the fancy finger work. This helped him to write incredible, catchy soulful songs with lots of hooks. As he grew to be a man, Jesse kept writing more and more original songs, practiced singing with is four plus octave vocal range and perfected his craft. With now more than 60 original songs written with power and emotion, Jesse is the singer/songwriter of several bands, speaks at elementary, middle and high schools with his program, Rock-Able, performs in front of thousands, wins global music awards and looks forward to making more music magic.
Founder, Puppy Luv Dog Boutique and Spa
Andrea Freedman started her entrepreneurial journey while still in high school. After a short internship at a candy store, she started her first business at age 17. Andies Candies was a small candy business that began selling wrapped candy in a mall kiosk stand and graduated to shared retail space and finally her own store. She then transitioned to a licensed sports gear store called The Sports Nut, turning a large profit when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. The Sports Nut experienced several moves and, in 2017, with sales declining, she created Puppy Luv Dog Boutique, selling dog food and treats, gear, supplies and gifts. Later, Andrea added dog bathing and became a professional dog groomer, renaming the business Puppy Luv Dog Boutique and Spa. Andrea now owns a thriving dog grooming business that is booking six months in advance, employing a groomer and grooming assistant. Andrea has paid all her loans back and is now paying herself and turning a profit!
Kristin Gross, at the beginning of her career, embraced contract work in a variety of medical settings and specialties in the Boston area. Kristin continued to witness and solve a wide range of healthcare challenges when she transitioned into healthcare sales and business development nationally. Working with providers, patients, caregivers, hospital networks, payors, diagnostic laboratories, pharma and biotech over the years, Kristin was not limited to a single portfolio or therapeutic area. Understanding the healthcare system on a variety of levels, Kristin decided to launch her own startup, Navdee, which is a digital health platform focusing on empowering patients and family caregivers to better advocate for themselves in a complex healthcare system.
Head of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Office of Disability Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Anthony Reynolds is the head of Small Business & Entrepreneurship for the Office of Disability Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Reynolds is focused on increasing access for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are neurodiverse or have disabilities to education and technical resources, capital and growth opportunities. He also works to strengthen and scale supports available to small businesses and entrepreneurs who are neurodiverse or have disabilities. A former co-founder of a technology company, Reynolds rapidly scaled his business across multiple market segments using channel and strategic partnerships with large scale corporations. He has served as a featured speaker at the United Nations, National Disability Institute, Black Tech Fest U.K., and Startup Weeks. Reynolds is currently a Global Mentor for Techstars Accelerator Programs. Reynolds also served on the Board of Directors for the START Fund, an initiative focused on making investments to nonprofits in the Central Ohio community. While a member of the United States Air Force, Reynolds was a part of the Intelligence Community and was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal. He was deployed to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Reynolds is a native of Columbus, Ohio and resides in New York City with his family.
Director of Economic Inclusion, Northwest Access Fund
Lisa Jones currently serves as the Director of Economic Inclusion for Northwest Access Fund. In her role, Lisa leads a dynamic financial coaching team, integrating financial coaching, benefits planning and credit building for individuals identifying with a disability. Lisa has over two decades of program design experience promoting economic and community development She started in this work as Justine Petersen’s first Rural Loan Officer, providing CDFI services to rural areas in the Midwest considered service deserts, then moved over to SBA to help create and implement the Rural Strong program. Lisa left the SBA to start a rural microlending program at New Growth, including starting one of the few all rural Women’s Business Centers in the nation. Lisa focuses on asset development and financial empowerment in all her work, appreciating the value of all people regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing characteristic or trait, as valued members of community.
Founder, I-DIVE, Reasonable Accommodation Solutions
Dr. Felicia Kelso has a Doctorate in Business in Quality System Management and is a U.S. Army (Retired) Veteran. She is the author of Employer Practices When Approving and Denying Reasonable Accommodations in the Federal Executive Department. After completing her dissertation and publishing it in 2022, Dr. Kelso has dedicated her passion to training and coaching federal and private sector employers, frontline managers and Service-Disabled Veterans to navigate the complex landscape of reasonable accommodation (RA) and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Dr. Kelso has 30+ years of RA and DEI lived experience and 35+ years of Administrative and IG, EEOC Compliance Experience. Dr. Kelso has a unique combination of expertise that she brings to bear on the problem of RA and DEI. She has developed holistic, practical, employer specific RA & DEI compliance solutions to increase awareness and competency, employee retention and productivity when assessing and implementing accommodations in the workplace. Dr. Kelso has also put her expertise and lived experience into her books: Coming Soon: The Dirty Dozen: Reasonable Accommodation Mistakes Frustrated Employers Make and How to Avoid Them and The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion B4 Leadership Series.
Founder, CEO and Chief Disabled Officer, 2Gether-International
Diego Mariscal is a trailblazer at the intersection of disability advocacy and entrepreneurship. He is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Disabled Officer of 2Gether-International, the leading startup accelerator run by and for disabled entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, 2GI has supported more than 70 startups, helping them secure approximately $50 million in outside investments, acquisitions and revenue. His role has also enabled strategic collaborations with international organizations such as the U.S. Department of State, Organization of American States and Inter-American Development Bank, as well as corporate partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal, Google, Blackboard, McKinsey and others. In 2022 and 2023, Diego engaged in high-level dialogues on disability and entrepreneurship with President Clinton and President Biden. He was featured as a panelist in a discussion moderated by Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting. Born with Cerebral Palsy and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, Diego represented Nuevo Leon in the Mexican National Paralympics from 2004–2009.
Founder and CEO, 6 Wheels Consulting
As a person with a disability, Matthew Shapiro has spent most of his life motivated to teach those he meets how to better understand the disability community and inclusion. Through this work, it has become Matthew’s life’s mission to educate others regarding disability-related issues. With this thought in mind, in December 2014, Matthew created 6 Wheels Consulting . Working with those in both the private and public sectors, he hopes to expand their understanding of disabilities and inclusion and to give them the tools they can use in any environment. Matthew has had the privilege of sitting on numerous disability boards and speaking at a variety of conferences both locally and nationally.
Founder Eyeth Studios and Co-Owner, Lost River Vacations
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jane Jonas has been profoundly Deaf since birth. Raised by a hearing family and embraced by the Deaf community, Jane truly appreciates and cherishes both worlds and languages (Deaf/Hearing and ASL/English). Jane owns Eyeth Studios, which has provided a wide spectrum of web design and creative services for more than 10 years and is proud to work with all Deaf contractors. Recently, Eyeth has begun to focus heavily on higher education web development and adaptive learning, as well as bilingual resources. Partnerships have been formed with other Deaf-owned businesses to provide full-stack creative services, including video production and public relations. Jane also owns Lost River Vacations, a luxury tiny house vacation retreat in Lost River, West Virginia, with two Deaf partners. Rentals are listed on both their own website and AirBnB. Jane aspires to support the Deaf community in radically shifting old paradigms and to truly create a Deaf ecosystem that is sustainable and self-supporting. In her spare time, Jane enjoys espresso, the outdoors, her menagerie of dogs and cats and, of course, reading and doing crosswords!
Founder, Blinded By Ambition
Jasmin Duffey is a spoken word artist and a music engineer with more than a decade of experience creating, producing and mastering music. Her music career started after she lost her vision while being one of the top basketball prospects in the country. This led to a radical shift for Jasmin as one passion was replaced with another. She learned how to produce without sight and adopted her spoken word persona Ambition. Since then, Jasmin has performed for crowds throughout the U.S. and recently launched her own apparel and printing business, Blinded By Ambition, where she creates her own line of streetwear and provides the same service for other businesses, artists and individuals.
CEO and Founder, Becoming rentABLE
Lorraine Woodward is the CEO and Founder, Becoming rentABLE. She is an industry leader dedicated to disability advocacy and a 2022 Top 20 Influencers across travel, hospitality and real estate. Lorraine pulls no punches when talking about the reality of the lack of accessibility within the vacation rentals industry and, how as a community, we can (and need to!) make small, but significant changes, to create more accessible spaces for every kind of guest.
Founder and CEO, Unity Web Agency
Alisa Herr is the founder and CEO of Unity Web Agency, a Certified B Corp that specializes in helping nonprofits and socially responsible businesses make their websites more inclusive, accessible and sustainable. Driven by a deep-seated desire to foster a sense of belonging and collective purpose, Alisa has cultivated a network of like-minded collaborators and clients who share a common ethos. As a neurodivergent and queer entrepreneur, she navigates the professional world with moxie, challenging the toxic hustle culture prevalent in the creative and tech industries. Alisa's commitment to authenticity shines through in her leadership style as she embodies the principles she champions. Alongside her work at Unity Web Agency, she co-founded Unit of Impact, a platform empowering mission-driven companies to track and report their social impacts. Alisa holds an MS in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BS in Psychology from Appalachian State University.
Owner and Pitmaster, Allnuttville Smoke Shack
Founder, Girls Chronically Rock
SBDR, Partnerships, Verizon
Founder and CEO, Adapt the Game
Accessibility Standards Lead, Airbnb
Founder, Big Little Insights
Director of Disability Policy, The Harkin Institute, Drake University
Jennifer Yeh is the founder of Big Little Insights which empowers leaders and organizations to transform their organizations, relationships, communications, leadership styles and conflicts across cultures and values. Jennifer has more than 20 years of experience in policy, psychology, political science, human rights, humanitarian relief, international affairs, law, conflict resolution, facilitation and coaching. Jennifer has researched the psychology of bias, participated in efforts to resolve ethnoreligious armed conflicts, investigated and mediated discrimination complaints and taught negotiation in conflict areas. She holds dual B.S. degrees in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Political Science, a minor in Applied International Studies from MIT and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. Jennifer has earned certificates in Organizational Behavior and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Workplace from Harvard University and USF, respectively. Additionally, she is trained and certified in various processes, such as mediation, coaching, change management, facilitation, arbitration and restorative justice. Jennifer is an ICF-certified coach and a PROSCI-certified change manager.
Daniel Van Sant is a disability rights attorney who draws on his personal and professional experience with disability in leading the disability policy work at The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University. Daniel works on disability inclusion in many spheres and across many locations.
John Kirkwood is a digital expert and cognitive design thought leader dedicated to making the Internet universally usable and accessible. His online work dates back to the mid-1990s when he was appointed as New York City’s inaugural New Media Strategist and created its first official website. John’s personal experience with a critical brain aneurysm in 2006 brings a unique hands-on perspective to the design and development of cognitive technologies for individuals and institutions alike. In 2009, he re-launched his web marketing and design company, CityMouse, as one of the nation’s first certified disability-owned business enterprises (DOBE). CityMouse now helps corporations, nonprofits and government agencies comply with universal and W3C WCAG online accessibility standards.
Sierra Georgia has been doing business her entire life. Originally from South Jersey, she grew up working for her family’s moving and storage company. In 2008, Georgia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business from Howard University. Upon graduation, Georgia began working full time for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) serving as the FAA’s Foreign Travel Expert. After six years serving the government, Georgia resigned from the FAA and, in the summer of 2013, became Washington, D.C.’s first gelato truck. After three years of working with a popular Italian Gelato chef, Georgia was offered a licensing deal. However, the terms could not be agreed upon, so she decided it was time to learn how to make artisan gelato for herself. In 2016, Georgia decided to travel overseas to become an artisan Gelato Master by learning from the world’s top gelato and pastry professionals at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy. Upon her return, Georgia launched the GELAT'OH, specializing in manufacturing artisan gelato, sorbet and private catering services across the globe. GELAT’OH supplies a variety of clients from top-rated restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, universities and a handful of celebrity chefs. GELAT’OH celebrates everything about artisan gelato culture, its history and the traditional Italian technique. However, the mission was to create flavors reflecting the diversity of foods and preferences we love in America, flavors that do not sacrifice on quality and can compete on a world stage while pushing the envelope on creativity and originality. Georgia has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, a video commercial for Capital One Bank brand feature, Washington Post, AdWeek, Fox 5 News, Washingtonian Magazine and a variety of online blogs and websites. Currently, Georgia has narrowed her focus on strengthening the production team output and saturating the market locally, regionally and, in time, nationally with her GELAT’OH pints. Georgia currently resides in her home in Washington, D.C. with her American bulldog, Truck.
Nikki Powis has over 30 years’ experience advancing economic opportunities for underrepresented and underserved populations at the local, regional, statewide, and national level. Currently Nikki is the Director of Small Business Programs for National Disability Institute (NDI). Nikki is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of NDI’s multiple small business initiatives serving entrepreneurs and small business owners with disabilities. Her role includes championing NDI’s efforts to expand Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the entrepreneurial eco-system and supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities to start, build and grow their businesses. Nikki brings experience and passion into her work toward supporting positive change efforts.
Suzanne is the Accessibility Standards Lead at Airbnb, where she sets the company’s overall vision and strategy for accessibility and works with teams to execute it. Suzanne is a full time wheelchair user after sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2011 and extremely passionate about helping make travel more accessible. She joined Airbnb in 2017 as part of the acquisition of accessible travel startup Accomable. Recent updates to Airbnb have included ways for guests with mobility needs to more easily find and book listings that meet their needs and the introduction of the Adapted Category and Accessibility Review, a process to review and confirm accessibility features added to Airbnb listings. Outside of work, Suzanne is a very active member of the disability community and is an advocate for employment opportunities for members of the disability community and inclusive sports. She is a member of the English Adaptive Surf team and will be competing at the World Surf Championships in November.
Victor Ocando Finol is the Founder and CEO of Adapt the Game. Before starting Adapt the Game, he practiced international sports law as a Venezuelan attorney specializing in soccer law. Victor also graduated from FIFA CIES – Argentinian Catholic University Sports Law and Management Program, being awarded as a finalist for the FIFA CIES International University Network Award for a project to improve accessibility in CONMEBOL competitions. He has been a mentor at the Allan “Bud” Selig Master of Sports Law and Business at Arizona State University.
Keisha Greaves is a motivational speaker and the founder of the fashion brand, Girls Chronically Rock, as well as her 501c3 nonprofits: the GCR Adaptive Project and the Trust Your Abilities Nonprofit for People of Color. At age 24, Keisha was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, at which point her life changed forever. Rather than be bogged down by her diagnosis, Keisha decided to channel her energy into celebrating those with Muscular Dystrophy and other chronic illnesses. Thus began Girls Chronically Rock and the founding of her other nonprofits: The GCR Adaptive Project and the Trust Your Abilities Nonprofit for People of Color. Keisha frequently presents to spread awareness about Muscular Dystrophy, work-life-chronic illness balance, raising money for causes, advocating for disability and other related topics. Keisha has been featured in several national media outlets including Good Morning America, The Today Show, ABC News and more. One of her proudest moments is when she was featured in Today Style Heroes 2018. Keisha has personally worked alongside Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and was successful in getting September 30th officially proclaimed as Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day. Keisha earned her BA in Fashion Design and Merchandising from Framingham State University and an MBA from Cambridge College.
Sarah Nakintu leads partnerships for Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, the company's free resource platform to support diverse and underrepresented small business owners with tools to help them succeed in the digital economy. In this role, Sarah identifies opportunities to partner with nonprofits, advocacy organizations and other companies to amplify support for small businesses. Prior to Verizon, Sarah was at Meta, working to build an ecosystem of technology and financial partners to support Meta's impact partners. Previously, Sarah was a Global Partnership Lead at Unreasonable Group, an impact fund running growth stage accelerator programs for impact entrepreneurs in partnership with Corporations, Governments, Foundations and Multilateral Organizations like the U.N. Sarah also co-founded Kintu, a sustainable leather brand producing goods in Kenya, Uganda and Italy for the luxury goods market in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia. Sarah earned her M.S.C from Columbia University in New York and is originally from Uganda.
Frank Allnutt is the owner and pitmaster of Allnuttville Smoke Shack in Martinsburg, WV. Frank has been in business for three years, starting with a small pellet grill/smoker (820 sq inches) and has progressed to a wood water smoker (33 square feet). Frank primarily cooks for small catering jobs and is looking to expand into bigger catering jobs, as well as festivals and occasional pop-up events.