Anita Wright 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 Anita Wright into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Current Responsibilities: Anita champions diversity inclusion at Northrop Grumman Corporation. In her role as a manager of business development and proposal operations she is a leader responsible for interacting with executive leadership, business development, engineers and all functional organizations within Northrop Grumman to build a diverse workforce, inspire innovation and grow the business.

Anita is recognized as a knowledge expert in her field. She has gained the respect of her colleagues and peers through collaborating across boundaries to facilitate effective solutions with a can do attitude, a commitment to succeed, and a philosophy that encourages respect and teamwork.

Building the profession: Anita leads by example as an innovator. She was the recipient of the 2015 Northrop Grumman Sector President’s Leadership Award for Proposal Process Innovation and Affordability. She has been an active board member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) since 2005 to elevate innovation and creativity in the workforce to capture new business. The mission of the APMP is to advance the arts, sciences, and technology of new business acquisition and to promote the professionalism of those engaged in those pursuits. 2016 she was appointed to the international APMP Board of Directors for increasing the professional skills of proposal management professionals and improving the proposal process. She has applied new technology to save time and money to create compelling and winning proposals with the use of software and process tools and has been recognized for her leadership role of generating interest in the profession through the APMP and coordination of the Annual California APMP Training Day.

Culture change: She is known for her dedicated service to increase the talent pool of qualified individuals with disabilities, and improve the work environment for current employees to enable them to perform at their highest ability. At Northrop Grumman she has been an instrumental corporate leader driving process improvements internally from the grassroots by leading The VOICE: Victory Over Impairment & Challenge Enterprise, a volunteer disability advocacy employee resource group, to contribute to corporate disability initiatives and the rollout of disability resources, accessibility tools, and accommodation services enterprise wide.

Anita’s commitment to workforce and workplace engagement is highlighted by her leadership in the development and sustainment of diversity groups in multiple domains. As a leader who inspires innovation and problem solving, she was appointed Diversity Council Chair at her business site of approximately 900 employees guiding and mentoring 11 volunteer employee resource groups that include: African American Task Group, ADELANTE – Hispanic Employee Resource Group, Asian Pacific Professional Network, Gen2Gen, Pride in Diversity Alliance for LGBT, Veterans, Employees and Reservists Inspired to Act and Serve, Women’s International Network, The VOICE – disability advocacy group, GreeNG and Connect1NG. The ERGs collaborate to provide opportunities for career and leadership development to drive initiatives that impact the business, forums to include multiple types of diversity to foster inclusion, professional networking, and community and education outreach to grow the talent.

Community impact: Anita makes a difference locally, state wide and across the nation. She was appointed by the California Secretary of Health and Human Services as a board member of the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD) as a business representative committed to workforce diversity and the advancement of employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She is a champion dedicated to building disability and diversity inclusion from all levels as exemplified by her leadership role with the CCEPD, volunteer work with the Youth Leadership Forum for H.S. students with disabilities and Career Links Mentoring Program for university students, and community involvement with organizations such as The Junior Blind Special Olympics and the 2015 World Special Olympics. Her focus is not on disabilities but rather on abilities and unique qualities as she inspires individuals to aim high to accelerate in STEM related fields.

Previous Responsibilities: Anita has over 15 years experience as Senior Editor, Publications Manager and Program Trainer which aligns with her expertise in disability management and career counseling. She has worked with private and non-profit organizations as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Job Coach, and Job Developer. As a writer, speaker, and curriculum developer, a common theme in her work has been the importance of owning responsibility and taking action to succeed with the right resources and tools. She has challenged individuals to gain exposure to employment opportunities, act with purpose, and take responsibility for their actions to excel on the job.

Publications: Anita is a lead author of Blueprint for Workplace Success and has provided training to Workforce One Stop Centers in the state of California to train professionals working with high risk youth and individuals with disabilities. In addition, she was a contributor to several publications related to the American with Disabilities Act. These include: Making the ADA Work for You and What Managers and Supervisors Need to Know about the ADA. Additional accomplishments include: senior editor and trainer of career development programs 30 Ways to Shine as a New Employee: A Guide to Success in the Workplace, and Beyond Traditional Job Development: The Art of Creating Opportunity.

Education & Accomplishments: Anita received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a master’s degree from California State University, Northridge in Educational Psychology. She is an APMP Certified Proposal Management Practitioner and currently serves on the APMP international board of directors. She is also certified by Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business in Corporate Social Responsibility and recipient of the 2016 Corporate Responsibility Award for the 21st Women of Color STEM Conference.

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

Regina Snowden Inducted into 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 Regina Snowden into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Regina Snowden, M.S.W., is the Founder of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. and has been the Executive Director since its inception. She brings a wealth of knowledge on mentoring and management, and works closely with the Board of Directors to oversee and manage the agency. Regina Snowden has over 28 years of experience in managing not-for-profit organizations. Since founding PYD in 1985, she has played a major role in the creation of successful programs and securing funding which has enabled the organization to help Massachusetts youth with disabilities overcome barriers by providing mentoring, education, entrepreneurship, health, recreational and cultural opportunities. Ms. Snowden designed the Mentor Match program which has received the Award of Excellence in Children’s Health from the Harvard School of Public Health as well as an award from the National Organization on Disability. She has secured the financial growth of the organization through proposals and presentations to foundations, corporations, trusts, United Way, federal, state and local government sources and through special events. Ms. Snowden and the story of PYD have been featured by local and national media, including CBS This Morning, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the Chicago Tribune.  Ms. Snowden was selected by the Governor’s Commission on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities to assist in developing leadership skills building forums for youth with disabilities on a state and national basis. In addition to those already mentioned, she was selected by the Boston Public Schools to chair a committee for the School-to-Career Initiative.

Ms. Snowden and PYD programs have received awards and recognition from organizations and entities including the American Red Cross (Clara Barton Award), Citizens Bank (Champion in Action Award), United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Harvard School of Public Health, Children’s Hospital, the City of Boston, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2003, the Rehabilitation Services Administration published an article written by Ms. Snowden entitled “Mentoring Youth with Disabilities” in the American Rehabilitation Journal.  In the Fall of 2005, Ms. Snowden was selected to attend Laura Bush’s “White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth” with a reception at the White House. In 2008, Ms. Snowden was recognized by the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc. for excellence in nonprofit administration. Ms. Snowden was honored by BOSTnet with their Disability Inclusion STAR award in 2010 for her extraordinary commitment to serving youth of ALL abilities. Ms. Snowden was selected as one of the “100 Women We Admire” by the Ad’s Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum in 2013 and was also selected as a 2013 nominee for the  “Women Who Live United Award” from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Under Ms. Snowden’s direction, PYD created and launched PYD’s National Center for Mentoring Youth with Disabilities. Currently, the National Center is finishing up the first phase of the Mentoring for All Initiative.  Funded by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, this initiative has the goal of increasing the availability of quality mentoring programs for youth with disabilities throughout the country, starting with three regional Big Brothers/Big Sisters affiliates. The National Center’s Inclusive Fitness for Youth Initiative also began in 2012. In partnership with the Boston Foundation, this three-year initiative proposes to increase youth with physical disabilities’ access to fitness and recreation facilities throughout Boston. Having engaged the collaboration of Spaulding’s Adaptive Sports Program, PYD is working the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston in efforts to remodel their fitness room to improve inclusivity, expand access to their sports and fitness programs through staff training, and strengthen their reputation in the community as an organization that welcomes youth with all abilities. In addition, the National Center began a new partnership with the Liberty Mutual Foundation (LMF) to assist Liberty Mutual in bringing a new level of focused attention and priority to the well-being of youth with disabilities within its service areas.

PYD’s Mentor Match program was selected as an inaugural member of the Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Quality-Based Membership initiative, which places Mentor Match among those Massachusetts mentoring programs whose practices most accurately reflect and utilize the National Mentoring Partnership’s Elements of Effective Practice. PYD’s Mentor Match program collaborated with Children’s Hospital Boston on Project Adventure, a research study designed to assess the impact of a mentored, inclusive recreational program on feelings of recreational self-efficacy in children with disabilities. Project Adventure sought to provide the necessary support so that any child with any special health care need and/or disability could choose any activity and participate alongside peers in the general community.  Under Ms. Snowden’s leadership, PYD is currently collaborating with Tufts Medical Center in a demonstration research project aimed to evaluate the efficacy of site-based mentoring for improving self-esteem, social comfort and quality of life for youth with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. PYD received the AccesSportAmerica 2012 Award of Excellence.

Ms. Snowden received a B.A. in Social Work from Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana and an M.S.W. in Social Work from Boston University.

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

Kathy Petkauskos Inducted into 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  Kathleen A. Petkauskos into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Ms. Petkauskos has over twenty years of experience delivering and managing vocational evaluation, supported employment, benefits planning, and job placement services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. Ms. Petkauskos has successfully implemented several federal disability-employment initiatives and has extensive experience designing, managing and delivering disability-employment related services to the Massachusetts business community.

As Senior Program Director of the Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit at UMass Medical School, Ms. Petkauskos provides expert guidance, direction and leadership on the development and implementation of various disability programs and services. She is Director of Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts statewide initiative managed by UMass Medical School that brings together employers and community partners to increase the employment of people with disabilities. Work Without Limits aims to improve the infrastructure in the state so that more individuals with disabilities will enter and advance in the employment arena.

Ms. Petkauskos has been instrumental in building the Work Without Limits B2B Network, which provides opportunities for business peers to share best practices around disability employment and build disability diversity confidence of organizations. Another resource created under Ms. Petkauskos’ leadership is Jobs Without Limits, an online job portal for people with disabilities seeking work in Massachusetts and the employers who are looking to hire them.

Among Ms. Petkauskos’ responsibilities is building and maintaining effective relationships with a variety of stakeholders including state and federal agencies, consumer and provider organizations, businesses and employers, and grant partners.

Prior to coming to UMass Medical School, Ms. Petkauskos was President at Resource Partnership, a private non-profit organization that worked to support non-traditional job candidates including individuals with disabilities to secure employment.

Ms. Petkauskos received an Associates of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Becker College; a certificate in Vocational Evaluation from Assumption College; and a certificate in Nonprofit Finance and Administration from Suffolk University.

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

Matthew McCollough 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 Matthew McCollough into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

As a Filipino American with developmental disabilities, Mathew McCollough is currently the Executive Director of the District of Columbia Developmental Disabilities Council, which promotes independence and equal opportunity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Prior to assuming this position, he served as the Communications Manager for the DC Office of Disability Rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance office for the District Government.  He has been recognized for his communication and training expertise in the areas of education, diversity and sensitivity, cultural competency, and disability issues to a broad spectrum of audiences—students, advocates, parents, managers, community leaders, and other stakeholders.

Since 2009, the Developmental Disabilities Council has conducted the Disability Mentoring Days (DMD) program during October and parts of November, in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month.  This annual program has introduced over 200 high school and college students with disabilities to potential employment and internship opportunities within approximately 60 government agencies and private companies in the DC metropolitan area during the seven-year time span.

In addition to the DMD program, Mr. McCollough has volunteered to serve as a mentor to several professionals, with and without disabilities, throughout his career.  Serving as a mentor holds great value and responsibility to him.  His grandfather, Norman “Bud” Iehl served as his greatest mentor during his childhood.  As a member of “The Greatest Generation”, this gentleman acquired his disability during World War II, and he taught his grandson how to live with a great sense of purpose, integrity and honor.

Mr. McCollough has been appointed to several commissions and boards with emphasis on health equity and human rights, including the Chair of the District of Columbia State Rehabilitation Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Health Equity Council, District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, and the Vice President of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities Board of Directors.  Additionally, Mr. McCollough has had the privilege of serving as staff faculty with the Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence since 2015.

In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the United States Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to establishing accessibility standards that promote the full integration and participation of people with disabilities. In 2015, President Obama reappointed Mr. McCollough to serve a second term on the U.S. Access Board.  Previously, he served as a Grants Manager and Trainer with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and for the National Service Inclusion Project—a training and technical assistance provider that advocates on the behalf of individuals with disabilities to fully participate in service and civic-minded programs within their communities.

Mr. McCollough received an MPA from American University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from James Madison University.

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

Renee Kirby 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 Renee Kirby into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.  Renee Kirby is the Associate Director of Disability Resources and Services at Temple University, a large urban university with over 38,000 students. A leader within the division of student affairs, she has advocated for the inclusion of students with disabilities in higher education and civic life throughout her 35 year career.  In collaboration with the director, Kirby provides strategic leadership to campus stakeholders, and shares administrative oversight to guide the university’s mission for the inclusion of over 2500 students with disabilities.

A former Paralympian, Ms. Kirby has an acute awareness of the challenges individuals with disabilities can face when pursing higher education.  She arrived at Temple University in 1981 with a vision of students with disabilities being fully active in campus life by involving them in recreation and sports.  As a Therapeutic Recreation intern, she designed and implemented Temple’s adapted recreation and sports program as her senior project and founded the Rollin Owls, who became the first nationally ranked collegiate wheelchair basketball team on the east coast. Temple’s Adapted Recreation and Sports Programs was the recipient of a 3-year grant from the Department of Education and Kirby given the Harold K. Jack award for Outstanding Senior of the Year in the College of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance.

Kirby has a demonstrated mastery of disability legislation and is a key collaborator with university leadership on issues involving access and inclusion of students with disabilities in university housing, career development, student activities and campus accessibility.

Kirby has served as the campus liaison for the Federal Workforce Recruitment Program since 1996, mentoring over 300 students with disabilities through pre-employment training under her leadership.  In 2015, Kirby launched Career Gateway (CG) in collaboration with the 25 year celebration of the ADA and implemented a workshop series to train CG students on their employment rights under Title I of the ADA, disability disclosure and how to request reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The Career Gateway program also provided opportunities for students to attend regional and national career networking events that included COSD, the USBLN Conference and the Careers for People with Disabilities Federal Job Fair in Washington, D.C. An estimated 100 Temple students have been placed in internships since the program’s inception.

Kirby serves as the career representative between the Disability Service office and the university Career Center and is a seated member of the campus career network group that include professional career stakeholders from various schools and colleges throughout the university.  She also serves as a key contributor in strategic planning and administrative planning for accessible housing selections for students with disabilities.

Kirby was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities in 1985 by Mayor Wilson Goode, and recently re-appointed under the newly elect Mayor, Jim Kenny. She currently chairs the education committee responsible for establishing the Oliver H.M. Jordon Scholarship, which has given away over $100,000 to Philadelphia residents with disabilities pursuing higher education.

Kirby previously co-chaired the accessibility and compliance committee and collaborated with city of Philadelphia officials to complete their accessibility transition plan.  Her work along with colleagues, contributed to the success of the city’s barrier-removal projects providing access to public services and facilities throughout the Philadelphia region.

Most notable projects include, the Center City district curb cuts, Avenue of the Arts, subway accessibility on the Temple University campus, SEPTA mass transportation and Para transit systems, Wachovia Sports Stadium, Liacouras Center stadium, Independence Mall, Philadelphia Airport, audible traffic signals and legislation for the provision of residential and public handicapped parking spaces in Philadelphia.

Before coming to Temple in 1981, Kirby was a recreation leader for the city of Philadelphia Department of Recreation for 12 years. While there she successfully designed, implemented and coached competitive sport programs for youth and adults with disabilities. As a community recreation leader, she advocated for individuals with disabilities to have full access to recreation programs and sport facilities in their local community and developed program opportunities to create a greater public awareness of athletes with disabilities.  She was instrumental in forming the city’s first regional wheelchair basketball and tennis tournaments as well the 3 on 3 summer wheelchair basketball league.

Other professional involvement include, serving on the Citizens Advisory Council for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind and Visual Services, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship Committee and the National ADA Leadership Network.

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

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