Maria Town inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Maria Town into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Maria Town is the Director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for the City of Houston. In this role, she advocates for the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities, serves as a liaison between the mayor, city council, city departments and other public and private entities on matters pertaining to people with disabilities in Houston, and establishes local and national partnerships to advance inclusion. Town is the former Senior Associate Director in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement where she managed the White House’s engagement with the disability community and older Americans. She also managed the place-based portfolio and coordinated engagement across Federal agencies. Prior to this, Town was a Policy Advisor at the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. While at ODEP, Town led and coordinated numerous efforts to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. She has particular expertise in areas of youth development and leadership and promoting college and career readiness for all youth.

Before moving to Washington, DC to work in public service, Town graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. At Emory, Town was a Community and Diversity Fellow at the Emory University Office of the Provost where she aided in oversight, policy formulation, program development, and management to improve access, equity, and inclusion on Emory’s campus. While a student at Emory, she also served as the University-wide Student Government Association President. In addition to her disability policy work, Town is the creator of the popular “CP Shoes” blog where she writes about fashion, design, and disability. She is an alumna of both the New Leaders Council Fellowship program and the Mobility International USA Professional Exchange Program. She hails from Louisiana, where her family still resides.

Why mentoring matters to her:
“Life is so much harder without quality mentors. Mentoring relationships can make individuals feel valued, help them discover their potential, and can challenge individuals in ways that encourage growth. I have benefited personally and professionally from mentors and consider it my responsibility to make sure others can do the same.”

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Nicole Turon Diaz inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Nicole Turon-Diaz into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Nicole Turon-Diaz, MA, Ed./SpEd., BCBA is the Founder/Director of Learning By Design, LLC, a behavioral, educational and employment consulting firm that provides a spectrum of services to individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan in Northern New Jersey and beyond. She is a local, national and international public speaker who has discussed topics such as best practices in transitioning to independence, the benefits of employing individuals with autism and embracing their talents. Honorary memberships include Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and National Scholars Honor Society. She holds national certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In addition, she is a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the State of New York. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, Marketing and Organizational Management summa cum laude, and Master of Arts degree in Education and Special Education from Felician University. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University and completed her clinical hours and practicum experience in Applied Behavior Analysis at Pennsylvania State University. She became a certified college coach at Bank Street College of Education to assist individuals with autism whose aspirations are to attend and successfully complete college.

Over the past 12 years, she has gained a variety of experience while assisting individuals with autism at transitional times in their lives, such as early intervention to public/private school, public/private school to vocational placement and/or college based on each client’s individual interests. She has also had the privilege of working alongside Joey Travolta and his crew for the past 8 summers at the Joey Travolta Short Film Camp held in New Jersey. She learned the ins and outs of professional film-making from start to finish alongside both individuals with autism and their neurotypical peers aged 9 to 23 years old. Quite a few campers obtained employment in the field arising out of their film camp experience. In addition, many campers went on to college to obtain degrees in their areas of interest such as scriptwriting. As a result of her work with Joey Travolta’s NJ film camp, Nicole served as a mentor at the White House Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Disability and Media Summit held at Gallaudet University and a facilitator at the CBS Corporate Diversity and CBS Entertainment Diversity/Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Disability Visibility Hollywood Panel Discussion, Flash Mentoring and Networking Reception. Both of these events provided individuals with disabilities a platform to meet, speak with and learn what it takes to make it in front of and behind the camera from key leaders in the entertainment industry.

Through her work with individuals transitioning into the “real” world, she saw a need and found a way to incorporate her degrees, certifications, knowledge and experience to offer supported employment and business management services for individuals with autism who sought employment or endeavored to start their own business. She began educating potential employers such as Sesame Workshop in New York City and post-secondary institutions to understand the gifts and talents that individuals on the autism spectrum often have and how to “work” with them. She has also assisted and represented writers, public speakers, as well as artists of various mediums including illustration, animation and acting in the capacity of business manager. Her extensive contacts in various fields of employment allow her to connect the autism community with potential employers, colleges, local retailers, libraries, hospitals and other organizations. For more information on Nicole and her work, see this newspaper article about her.

What does mentoring mean to you?
Mentoring is a back and forth, fluid, give and take relationship between two people who trust each other. We all take on the roles of both mentor and mentee in life and through these processes continuously learn about ourselves and others. Helping others reach their fullest potential utilizing their strengths and talents through mentoring is the greatest reward.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Leah Katz Hernandez inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Leah Katz-Hernandez into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Leah Katz-Hernandez is a speaker, author, and advisor with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Advisory Committee. Previously known as the celebrated Receptionist Of The United States for President Obama “ROTUS,” Ms. Katz-Hernandez is a leading expert on disability inclusion, public communication strategy, and civil rights. Through her dynamic career, she gained experience with the nonprofit sector, presidential campaigns, Capitol Hill, and the Obama White House.

As a highly visible White House employee, Ms. Katz-Hernandez skillfully welcomed world leaders to the West Wing while simultaneously urging equal access for the Deaf, Disability, and Latina communities. Ms. Katz-Hernandez now uses her expertise to advocate for equality all over the world, with a focus on supporting marginalized communities. She earned her MA in Strategic Communication from American University in 2016 and a BA in Government from Gallaudet University in 2010.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Allison Chisenhall inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Allison Chisenhall into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Allison Chisenhall is a chemical process engineer for BAE Systems and a member of the Employee Resource Group, ABLE. Originally from Texas, Allison graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 with a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Throughout her time in college, she worked in multiple research laboratories in the Johns Hopkins Institute of NanoBio Technology, focusing on both cancer research and DNA nanotechnology. Allison was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and captain of the Johns Hopkins University Club Volleyball Team. Following graduation, Allison spent her summer as an intern in the Cancer Research Internship (CRI) program for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a program focused on increasing diversity by recruiting and training students from groups under-represented in the biomedical science fields.

It was not until this time that Allison became greatly involved in the disability community. She participated as a mentee in the USBLN Career Link Mentoring Program in 2015, concluding with her attendance at the annual USBLN conference. This experience proved life changing in multiple ways, as the connections she made quickly led to her current role at BAE Systems and sparked her interest in becoming more involved within this community. In 2016, Allison was able to attend the conference as a BAE Systems representative, speaking at a conference-wide session on disability inclusion as a female in a technical field. This year, she has expanded her involvement even further, serving as a mentor in the 2017 USBLN Rising Leader program, aiming to provide the same support that hers did for her. She is a member of the Professional Development Committee for this year’s USBLN conference and will be serving on panels for multiple breakout sessions to share her experiences, challenges, and understanding of coping and succeeding with a disability. Outside of the workplace, she pursues her passion of guiding others to achieve their goals through fitness by instructing exercise classes throughout the week.

What does mentoring mean to you?
“For me, mentoring is about sharing experiences with each other to help improve others and yourself. Mentoring is not a one way street and it is essential for professional growth from both sides. I believe that all young adults, with disabilities or without, should utilize mentors and in turn offer their mentoring knowledge to others once they have developed those skills. Mentoring does not have to be a formal program, either. I recently mentored several young girls from my sorority who are feeling unsure of their future careers. Remember what it felt like then and use what you have learned and what you wish you had known to help those in that place. Everyone can be a mentor, and everyone should.”

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Robin Jenks Vanderlip inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Robin Jenks Vanderlip into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Robin Jenks Vanderlip, MA, CRC first got involved with aiding people with disabilities when she was in high school where she would volunteer in the special education classroom during her study hall. Robin is a 2017 honor graduate of The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development Masters of Arts (MA) Program in Rehabilitation Counseling where she was a US Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration Scholar. Robin previously earned a Masters Certificate from The George Washington University in Brain Injury Education and Family Transition Services. She has earned her National Professional Certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). She completed this all as part of her ongoing recovery from her own severe Traumatic Brian Injury. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International- Chi Sigma Lota.

Robin’s practice focuses on working with people and families who need guidance, instruction, and support in the areas of physical, emotional, and social case management including housing. In her practice, she works with a wide variety of populations including veterans/wounded warriors, individuals and families with developmental disabilities, people over 50, survivors of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress, and victims of sex trafficking.

Robin is very sharp, smart, charming open minded professional with excellent interpersonal skills and sense of humor. She has over thirty years of successful experience working with people, with a proven
record of accomplishment and she is uniformly recognized as a change maker. In addition, she has earned a Certificate in Business Information Technology Leadership and has over 25 years of professional marketing, communications, and sales experience in the private and nonprofit sectors before becoming a rehabilitation counselor. Robin is a 1989 graduate of Salisbury University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Robin currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, her rescue dog, and cat.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Page 1 of 1812345...10...Last »