Popular Speaker Topics: adaptive fitness, advocacy, autism, boardroom leadership, comedy, DEI training, education, entertainment, employment, history of disability, LGBTQ+ allyship, mental health, policytransportation

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Performers
Keynote Speakers

Navah Paskowitz–Asner & Matt Asner both grew up in the spotlight, she as the daughter of physician and surfer Dr. Dorian Paskowitz, he as the son of actor Ed Asner. In their younger years, they experienced international modeling, television production and movie sets. While Matt grew up with a brother diagnosed early in their lives with autism, Navah grew to know autism after two of her youngest children were diagnosed. Coming together to raise a blended family, they became known as “The Brady Bunch” of autism.


Josh-Blue_thumbJosh BlueBest known as the comedian who puts the cerebral in Cerebral Palsy, Josh exploded onto the national comedy scene by capturing the attention and endearment of the country as the winner of Season One of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”. Embracing his disability Josh has recently introduced a speaking program that has informed and entertained audiences. Possessed with an undeniable likeability and comedic timing that belies his youthfulness; Josh continues to break down stereotypes of people with disabilities one laugh at a time.  His stand-up routine is in a constant state of evolution and his off-the-cuff improvisational skills guarantee that no two shows are exactly alike.


Kathy BuckleyKathy BuckleyKathy broke onto the national scene as the first hearing-impaired comedian. She entertains college audiences nationwide with her disability-based stand-up and inspires corporate audiences with a program filled with inspiration, motivation and humor. Kathy’s book, If You Could Hear What I See, will have you laughing and crying as you experience the amazing story of her life. She has received thousands of letters and emails of thanks and praise, regarding both her book and her original PBS special, No Labels, No Limits!. She was awarded the “CINE Golden Eagle Award” as the writer and executive producer of the special, and the “Media Access Award for Outstanding Television Special”.


Scott BurrowsScott Burrows is an in-demand Keynote Motivational Speaker who brings the concept of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life using his life-changing story as the backdrop for organizational success. Three simple, yet powerful words that when put into action can help you and your organization stand up to any challenge, push the limits of what is possible and set goals that stretch the mind – even during times of change, uncertainty and fear.


Chet CooperRecognized by his witty sense of humor and authentic speaking style, Chet Cooper has been one of the leading advocates for employment, awareness building and housing for people with disabilities (PWDs) for the past 28 years. Chet sees the need to break down the myths and stereotypes associated with disabilities, focusing on three major areas that needed change; social attitude, resources, and awareness. In seeking to alter society’s attitudes about PWDs, he launched ABILITY Magazine in 1990, at the dawn of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The publication quickly became an award-winning magazine and was selected by Time-Warner for distribution. 


Nina G. – is a comedian, professional speaker, comedy historical consultant and author of Stutterer Interrupted and Bay Area Stand-Up Comedy: A Humorous History. Nina shares her wit and wisdom with corporations, colleges, libraries, conferences, and community events. Her no nonsense approach to disability awareness and acceptance helps to bring institutions, communities and individuals to deepen their understanding of the disability and bring practical approaches to making a more inclusive society.


John HendryJohn brings both wisdom and life experience to his presentations, from a parent’s perspective, around inclusion, accessibility and raising a child with special needs. He passionately covers the importance of acceptance, inclusion and facing challenges. A fierce, outspoken advocate for building a world that includes everyone. His presentations engage the audience using real-life stories of the lives of real people with physical and intellectual disabilities. His message is one of hope and always relevant to his audiences.


Judy HuemannJudith (Judy) Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. She contracted polio in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York and was denied the right to attend school because she was a “fire hazard” at the age of five. Her parents played a strong role in fighting for her rights as a child, but Judy soon determined that she, working in collaboration with other disabled people, had to play an advocacy role due to the continuous discrimination.


Gabriel CordellActor and model, Gabriel set out to be the first and only person to use his personal manual wheelchair to roll 3,100 miles across the United States. His adventure was documented in the released film “Roll With Me: A Journey Across America”. The documentary has been picked up by a distributor and can now be seen on Netflix. Gabriel’s journal was a grueling one and his keynote speaks to the will of the human spirit.


Kat CressidaCressida is notable as a top celebrity voice matcher, impersonating top female stars for Disney, Disney Channel- most notably voice-doubling for Jessie The Cowgirl for Pixar Toy Story 2 projects including various Disneyland Live shows and attractions.

 


Lou Ferrigno discovered he wanted to act, and through perseverance to overcome the stereotypes of an actor who is deaf, he landed the role of The Incredible Hulk, which ran for four years. He also starred as Johnny Six in the ABC series Trauma Center, and several fantasy films that included Hercules, Cage, and Desert Warrior. He is also the author of Lou Ferrigno’s Guide to Personal Power, Bodybuilding and Fitness for Everyone.


Chris-FonsecaChris FonsecaChris is quick, cutting edge, and one of the funniest comedians with or without a disability. He is the only comedian with a visible disability to perform on the “Late Night Show With David Letterman” and other credits include headlining at the “Montreal Just For Laughs Festival”, “The San Antonio Latino Laugh Festival” before 16,000 people, and a frequent opener for Gabriel Iglesias. He is also a featured performer on college campuses and at corporate events.


Mark Goffeney has achieved ongoing success as a musical performer, comedian, and motivational speaker. With over fifty million Internet views of his performances, Mark has gained an international audience and has performed on hit television shows in Holland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Spain, Canada, U.K., and Mexico.

 

 


Temple GrandinTemple GrandinTemple Grandin is a Professor of Animal Science who has Asperger’s Syndrome. She is also a professional designer of humane livestock facilities. Born in Boston, it was four years before she showed signs of social and academic development. Having attended private schools, she achieved academic excellence and obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University. Dr. Grandin received her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois.


Christinne Gray earned her B.A. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida. She is a bilingual speaker, a published author, and disability advocate. It is her unique experience as a single Hispanic parent with Cerebral Palsy that fuels her lifelong passion of advocacy for the rights of parents with disabilities and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Christinne regularly lectures on a wide variety of topics including accessibility, health care advocacy, disability sensitivity and more.


Mark Hublar recalls when he was young, he always wanted to be a public speaker and is living his dreams as he motivates, inspires and educates others about how he overcame the odds. Mark is recognized across the country for his abilities-not disabilities with organizations such as ARC of Indiana, National Downs Syndrome Society and Volunteers of America Midwest all having enjoyed his moving presentations.


Geri-JewellGeri JewellGeri is one of the most sought-after speakers on diversity and disability. She is a pioneer in the entertainment industry and was the first person with a visible disability to be featured on a primetime sitcom, “The Facts of Life”. Geri presents humorous, enlightening, empowering, keynote and workshop programs. She is also a true advocate for diversity. She is also often requested to speak on her relationship to the LGBQT communities.


Gary Karp has been writing, speaking, and teaching about the disability experience since the publication in 1999 of the first of his four books, Life On Wheels: For the Active Wheelchair User, ultimately earning him induction into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame as a disability educator in 2007. His path began with a fall from a tree in 1973 when he was 18 years old, injuring his spinal cord and becoming a full-time wheelchair user. After his rehabilitation, Gary earned a graduate degree in architecture, then worked for eleven years in the graphic design industry as an artist and manager


Becky Kekula – From Hollywood to the classroom, Becky has been educating and advocating for inclusion and accessibility for decades. After years in the Equity & Inclusion department for SAG-AFTRA, Becky now serves as the Employment Chair of Little People America and is a member on the Board of Advisors for the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, Positive Exposure and Verizon’s Disability Advisory Board. 


Nelson-LauverNelson LauverKnown as The American Storyteller, Nelson’s success story is all the more remarkable since it took 29 years before he was diagnosed as dyslexic and unable to read. After three years of vocational rehabilitation to learn to read he started his journey as a radio personality, businessman, and speaker. Nelson’s keynote presentations and workshops include “Don’t Give Up on That Kid”, “The Most Unlikely to Succeed”, and “Grit, Who’s Got It, and How Do We Teach It”


Dr. Marc MilsteinMarc Milstein, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized speaker on optimizing brain health, lowering risk of dementia, and boosting happiness and productivity. He has conducted research on topics including genetics, cancer biology, neuroscience, and infectious disease and his work has been published in multiple scientific journals.

 


Mike Paciello – Mike Paciello has been a pioneer and influential figure in the assistive technology and accessibility industry for more than three decades. He wrote the first book on web accessibility and usability (Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities), and has since achieved many notable milestones. He is the founder of The Paciello Group (TPG) and WebABLE.Com. Mike also co-founded WebABLE.TV and Open Access Technologies (OAT).


AJ and Devin Paron-WildeThe two speakers AJ Paron-Wildes and Devin Wildes are available for keynotes together or separately. Their connection and touching story leaves everyone in the audience with a feeling of hope. No one can provide a better understanding of life with autism than a mother and son who have faced the struggles together.

 


Lauren Potter is thrilled to be using the public “voice” that Glee has given her to speak out for other people with disabilities who may not have the same opportunities. She has participated in the Ablilitypath.org campaign against bullying, has worked with the Special Olympics and Best Buddies programs in their “End the Word” campaign, and is lending her name and fame to numerous organizations, including the Arc, the Down Syndrome Association in the U.S. and Canada, the Down Syndrome Congress, the AAPD, and many others. She feels honored to have received awards for her inclusion and diversity from the Arc, The Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, and the Full Life Festival, as well as accommodations from local and California State politicians.


Catarina RiveraCatarina Rivera, MSEd, MPH, CPACC is a public speaker and DEI consultant with over 14 years of experience in the public sector. Catarina works with companies to improve accessibility and inclusion, retain employees, and design better products. Committed to social justice, Catarina is the founder of Blindish Latina, a platform smashing disability stigmas through storytelling, advocacy, and training.


Albert Rizzi lost his vision in 2006 and became the inspirational founder and president of My Blind Spot (MBS), an organization that focuses on online accessibility for people of all abilities. MBS works with all types of agencies, corporations, and organizations to make sure that their digital platforms work for people of all abilities. With 25 million people in the US and over 300 million worldwide having a visual disability, these services are crucial in the Information Age. When millions can often be unintentionally prohibited from accessing digital platforms and information as the general population there is certainly no question on why this work needs to be done. One phrase associated with MBS spells this all out clearly: Access = Ability.


Steph RoachSteph Roach is an accomplished fitness personality, owner of Staying Driven, LLC who over the past decade has used her influence and life experience to help shift societal perceptions of what it means to have a physical disability and be included in the fitness industry. Becoming the world’s first Level 2 CrossFit trainer living with Cerebral Palsy, and the first adaptive athlete to be signed by Nike Training (2018-2022), Steph is used to blazing trails for herself and those who follow after her.

 


Jose RosarioJose Rosario is an advocate, author, and speaker. He is also a gay Latino therapist and researcher who utilizes a wheelchair. He is the founder of The Phoenix Empowered, whose mission is to amplify the voices of communities that have been historically silenced within the mental health conversation and educate the public about the mental health needs of minoritized groups. Through TPE, Jose also hosts trainings and the Phoenix Unbound podcast.


Matt Savage, age 26, has had a seventeen-year professional career as a jazz musician, bandleader and composer with ensembles of different size. He’s played with some of the biggest names in jazz, and has recorded eleven albums as leader and one as collaborator. He is a Bösendorfer piano artist.


Unstoppable Tracy SchmittTracy Schmitt, BRLS, B.Ed, MBA, is a corporate consultant, decorated athlete, best-selling author, and #1 international motivational speaker who is Unstoppable! Along with hosting the TV show Unstoppable Tracy, she is an engaging speaker who focuses on motivational techniques to empower and engross every audience. Tracy has traveled the world as a past aspiring Paralympian and Humanitarian, bringing her award-winning perspective and life experiences into each of her talks.


Pamela Rae Schuller – As a teen, Pamela Schuller had the worst diagnosed case of Tourette Syndrome in the country, a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a whole lot of pent-up anger. She spent years depressed, suicidal, and wishing her differences away. Over time, she started looking at her life differently and turned her obstacles and challenges into the very fuel that propels her. Now an internationally known disability and mental health advocate and professional stand-up comedian, Pamela’s stories of growing up in a body she had no control over are engaging, powerful, a little bit heart-wrenching, and unapologetically funny.


Chantal Sicile-KiraChantal Sicile-KiraChantal’s passion for empowering others and her personal interest in autism has led her to become an autism consultant, an award-winning author, speaker, and leader in the field of autism, adolescence and transition to adulthood.  She has been involved with autism spectrum disorders for over 25 years as both a parent and a professional on both sides of the Atlantic. A tireless advocate for those on the autism spectrum, Chantal founded Autism College in order to provide consultation services, practical information and training online about autism.


Jeremy Sicile-KiraJeremy Sicile-KiraJeremy was born in Paris, France in 1989 and diagnosed with autism at an early age. He did not discover his gift for painting until he was 24, when he began to communicate to his parents about the colorful abstract portraits he was painting in his dreams. As a young child, Jeremy’s interest in bright colors was obvious: he spent hours looking at brightly colored fabrics, images in picture books, and the patterns in rugs. He loved visiting museums to look at the paintings, and cathedrals to follow the patterns on the floor tiles.


Rachel-SimonRachel SimonRachel is one our most popular speakers, She is the author of the best selling book and Hallmark Hall of Fame production of the same name, “Riding the Bus With My Sister”. She is becoming known as the literary voice for those with a disability, having also published the NY Times Best Seller, “The Story of Beautiful  Girl” and is currently writing another disability-themed book. Her personal stories and experiences open the door for a dynamic keynote and workshop experience.


Ned Andrew SolomonNed Andrew SolomonNed Andrew Solomon was the director of the Tennessee Partners in Policymaking® Leadership Institute for the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities from 2000 to 2019. He is the father of three, now-adult children with disabilities, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University. Ned is an engaging speaker who has been presenting trainings, workshops and conference breakout sessions for 20 years. Because he has been a conference coordinator himself, and has recruited hundreds of presenters, he’s seen first hand  what makes audiences react positively, and negatively, to speakers and their topics. He’s worked hard to incorporate the best aspects of what he’s experienced into his typically interactive “conversations” with audiences.


Alex Valdez brings twenty-five years of speaking and entertaining experience to his audiences. Alex is a pioneer, having been the first comedian with a disability to gain national recognition. Winner of the first Norman Lear Comedy Competition, presenter of over 2,500 comedy shows and keynote speaker to over 250 organizations, he has won the hearts and admiration of his audiences of all ages. Alex’s programs: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Diversity” and “Disabilities are from Within,” allow him to entertain as well as educate. His goal is “not only to help audiences accept his own and others’ disAbilities, but to recognize that while we may all appear very different on the outside, on the inside we are all very much the same”. 


  Dr. Jaipreet Virdi – Dr Virdi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Delaware whose research focuses on the ways medicine and technology impact the lived experiences of disabled people. She is author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History (University of Chicago Press, 2020), co-editor of Disability and the Victorians: Attitudes, Legacies, Interventions (Manchester University Press, 2020), and has published articles on diagnostic technologies, audiometry, and the medicalization of deafness.


Dr Donna Walton Dr Walton is a speaker, author and advocate. She is Founder and President of LEGGTalk, Inc. and Divas with Disabilities, Inc and author of Shattered Dreams, Broken Pieces: A Journey of Faith, Reinvention and Resilience. Dr. Walton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1979 from American University; a Master’s of Science degree in 1985 in Adult Education from Syracuse University; and in 2005, an Ed.D. in Counseling from The George Washington University. 


Mark-WellmanMark WellmanMark is the pioneer of “extreme athletes” with a disability.  He has climbed El Capitán and Half Dome using his adaptive gear and sit-skied across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mark uses his many adventuresome experiences to deliver a motivating presentation and frequently uses his adaptive climbing gear to scale climbing walls as part of his program.


Spencer WestSpencer West is a successful global keynote speaker, content creator and activist. After losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five due to a genetic disease, Spencer tackled challenge after challenge, learning to navigate a world set against those with disabilities. Whether headlining, in-person or live-streaming virtually, at corporate conferences, inspiring audiences at employee/client appreciation events, or mesmerizing audiences in 20,000-seat stadiums, Spencer’s charisma and dynamism captivates all.


 Performers

Josh-Blue_thumbJosh BlueJosh came to prominence after winning the first season of “Last Comic Standing”. His position in the comedy community has risen from performing in small clubs to being a major headliner at large venues, colleges campus and corporate special events. 

 


Kathy BuckleyKathy BuckleyRecognized as the country’s first hearing-impaired comedian, Kathy’s side-splitting personal stories come with a valuable message. She has headlined at The Improv, The Ice House, and The Laugh Factory, among other top-named clubs throughout the country. She is a favorite on college campuses and at corporate functions.

 


Chris-FonsecaChris FonsecaChris is a seasoned comedy veteran who was the first and only person with a visible disability to be a featured performer on the “Late Show With David Letterman”. Added to his list of credits are his many appearances on Comedy Central and at the San Antonio Latino Comedy Festival, Just for Laughs in Montreal, colleges campuses and at corporate special events. Most recently he was the opening act for Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglecias. Chris has a degree in journalism, and his mastery of words makes for a show replete with well-written and executed jokes.


Geri-JewellGeri JewellGeri broke into the entertainment industry as a stand up comedian. Even during the height of her acting career, she has held true to her roots. Geri’s shares her humorous stories and jokes about her long history in Hollywood and her relationship to the LGBTQ communities.

 


Ryan Niemiller – You may know Ryan Niemiller as the disarmingly handsome comedian and 3rd place finalist from America’s Got Talent Season14. Despite being born with a disability in both arms, Ryan, the self-proclaimed “Cripple Threat of Comedy”, shares his views of the world from the perspective of the handicapped (and very handsome). Ryan began his comedy career in Los Angeles, California, and hasn’t looked back since. He’s a favorite performer in clubs and colleges across the country. His comedy covers topics such as dating, trying to find employment and attempting to find acceptance in a world not designed for him.