Andrew Imparato, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Photo of Andy ImparatoWe are proud to induct Andrew Imparato, Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

Andrew Imparato has served as executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) since September, 2013. As a disability rights lawyer and policy professional with more than two decades of experience in government and advocacy roles, Imparato has worked with bipartisan policymakers to advance disability policy at the national level in the areas of civil rights, workforce development, and disability benefits. Prior to coming to AUCD, he was senior counsel and disability policy director for Senator Tom Harkin on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Before that, he spent 11 years as President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a national membership organization working to grow the political and economic power of the disability community. Imparato’s perspective is informed by his personal experience with bipolar disorder.

Since joining AUCD, a national network of over 100 university-based programs that conduct research, training and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities, Imparato has helped the organization broaden the scope of its advocacy and expand its leadership capacity. Imparato is currently serving on two bipartisan panels developing recommendations for reform of the Social Security Disability Insurance program and has spearheaded a national “Six by ‘15” campaign designed to leverage this year’s milestone anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to focus public attention on the areas where the disability community wants to see more progress. This campaign has been endorsed by 160 disability organizations and the website is www.sixbyfifteen.org.

Imparato’s work has been recognized by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation, the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. He has testified nine times before Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been interviewed on a wide range of disability issues by national television, radio and print media. He cultivates grassroots activism on social media and is known for seeking out and mentoring emerging leaders with disabilities. He co-authored articles that have been published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Milbank Quarterly, and wrote a chapter on the Supreme Court’s disability rulings in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (Hill & Wang 2003). He has been an adviser on accessibility, recruiting and corporate social responsibility to Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Walmart, and other leading businesses. Imparato graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and with distinction from Stanford Law School. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, historian Elizabeth Nix, Ph.D., and their 16 year-old son Nicholas. Their older son Gareth is a writer in Los Angeles.

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

Jason Olsen, Federal Employees with Disabilities

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Jason Olsen photoWe are proud to induct Jason Olsen, President of Federal Employees with Disabilities (FEDS), into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

Jason Olsen is a nationally recognized expert in the field of disability employment policy.  He is currently lending his expertise to the Office of Equal Opportunity within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (via detail).

When not assisting the EEOC to be a model employer for people with disabilities Mr. Olsen works as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Labor.  Here he has served as an authority in the national employment policy forum for over 5 years. Due to his dedication, Mr. Olsen received the Secretary’s Exceptional Achievement Award.

Prior to joining DOL, Mr. Olsen worked for over 5 years at the Social Security Administration’s Office of Employment Support Programs. Here he has served as a team leader, a policy maker, a mentor, an advocate, and in numerous other leadership roles which resulted in Mr. Olsen receiving numerous Associate Commissioners Citations, a Deputy Commissioners Citation, and the coveted Executive Recognition Award.

In his personal time, Mr. Olsen is the President of Federal Employees with Disabilities (FEDs). FED is a national not-for-profit organization focused on ensuring that the rights, privileges, benefits and opportunities for people with disabilities employed by the Federal government are equal to those of their Federal sector peers. He is a passionate advocate for all people with disabilities and views employment as an option that should be available to all those that desire it.  Mr. Olsen holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Communications. He is also an alumnus of the Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Program and looks smashing in a fedora.

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

Kirk Bauer, Disabled Sports USA

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Kirk Bauer photoWe are proud to induct Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

As a disabled Vietnam veteran and Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA for over 30 years, Kirk Bauer firmly believes that the military philosophy of leadership by example is the most effective way to inspire others to dream big and achieve their goals. True to this, at age 64 he still leads an active sports life participating with wounded warriors, you th and others in skiing, biking, hiking, golf and other sports.

As DSUSA’s executive director since 1982, Kirk has taken a small, all volunteer organization, and made it the nation’s largest sports and recreation organization for physically disabled individuals. For his achievements, Kirk has been awarded the Gene Autry Courage Award and selected as the 1986 “Healthy American Fitness Leader”, an honor presented yearly by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In 2008, he was awarded the “George M. Steinbrenner III Sports Leadership Award” by the U.S. Olympic Committee in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sports. In 2013, Kirk was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the President’s Council on Fitness (Link).

In 2010, he led a team of all amputee veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on a successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341’) the highest mountain in Africa. Between them, the three wounded warriors from three wars and two generations had only “one good leg”.

In 2012, Bauer lead a team of 5 wounded warriors, with “four good legs” on a climb of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, which at 20,320’ is the highest mountain in North America and has some of the most severe weather in the world. The team reached 15, 500’ before having to suspend the climb due to severe wind and snowstorms.

He participates in the Bataan Memorial Death March, a one day 26 mile hike in the deserts of southern New Mexico; and in the “Three Notch Century” ride, a 100 mile, one day bicycle ride over three mountain passes in the White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire. He bikes with only one leg.

In 2006, Bauer received a Presidential appointment to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; and in the 2006 Torino Winter Paralympics and again in the 2008 Beijing Summer Paralympics, was appointed by President Bush to represent the United States.

While serving in Vietnam as a non-commissioned officer in the 9th Infantry Division, Bauer was awarded 2 Bronze Stars for heroism and the Purple Heart for injuries incurred in combat. Bauer holds a Doctorate of Law Degree from Boston University School of Law.

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

Ari Ne’eman, Autistic Self Advocacy Network

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Photo of Ari Ne'emanWe are proud to induct Ari Ne’eman, President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and currently chairs the Council’s Entitlements Committee. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Ari also served as an adviser to the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup convened by the American Psychiatric Association. He is also a member of the National Quality Forum’s Workgroup on Measuring Home and Community Based Services Quality.

Ari was recently appointed by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to serve as a member of the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities. He previously served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. He is also a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.

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

Kathy Martinez, Wells Fargo

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Kathy Martinez photoWe are proud to induct Kathy Martinez, Senior Vice President of the Disability Market Segment & Strategy for Wells Fargo, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

As the senior vice president of the Disability Market Segment & Strategy for Wells Fargo, Martinez works with line of business and channel leaders, a network of Wells Fargo team members with disabilities, as well as customers, and advocacy groups to expand the company’s capabilities and programs dedicated to serving customers with disabilities and their families.

Martinez joined Wells Fargo in March of 2015 from the U.S. Department of Labor where she served as the assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Martinez led ODEP in putting policy priorities into practice through several innovative grant programs.  These include Add Us In, through which a nationwide consortia worked to increase the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities. The grant program also included the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program, through which several states received support to promote community-based, integrated employment as the primary outcome for people with significant disabilities.

Under Martinez’s leadership, ODEP also launched the award-winning Campaign for Disability Employment, a national, multi-organization public awareness initiative that educates about the value and talent people with disabilities bring to America’s workplaces and economy.  This integrated campaign produced two television public service announcements (PSAs), “I Can” and “Because,” both which challenge common myths and misconceptions about the expectations and job skills of people with disabilities.

Prior to being nominated by the President in 2009, Martinez was executive director of the World Institute on Disability, where she successfully managed a number of initiatives, among them Proyecto Visión, a national technical assistance center to increase employment opportunities for Latinos with disabilities in the U.S.  She has also served on the National Council on Disability, the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the State Department’s advisory committee on disability and foreign policy.

A graduate of San Francisco State University, Martinez speaks and publishes on a wide array of topics related to disability employment, including the emergence of disability as an essential component of workplace diversity and inclusion and the importance of expectation in ensuring youth with disabilities grow up with an assumption of work—a topic on which Martinez, who herself was born blind, offers compelling and personal perspective.

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

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