Join Us in Honoring Inductees for the Class of 2021 of the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

Established in December 2014, the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is a membership organization dedicated to increasing the awareness, quality, and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities nationwide. Each year since 2015, the NDMC has inducted outstanding individuals and organizations into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame achieve two goals:

  • Honor those who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring, and
  • Raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

As we prepare for our Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2021 of the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame on Wednesday, March 30th from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT, we’re pleased to announce this year’s inductees:

Will Fried, Graduate Student at Fort Hays State University and Graduate Assistant in the Accessibility Services Office.

Dr. Tilak Ratnanather, Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) who was the first person with profound bilateral congenital hearing loss to obtain Bachelor of Science and PhD degrees in mathematics from University College London and University of Oxford, respectively.

Elaine Kubik, inclusive marketing & communications expert at Disability:IN with over 15 years of experience, specialized in inclusive communications, including narratives and campaigns related to accessibility, ESG, and executive pledges for inclusion.

BJ Stasio, disability rights advocate and Co-Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS).

RAMPD (Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities), a coalition dedicated to making disability inclusion and access a reality in the mainstream music industry.

Marie Dagenais-Lewis, artist, author, consultant, community organizer, digital media specialist, and creator behind @r.a.r.e.advoc8.

Darryl Sanchez, Career Readiness Program Coordinator at Partners for Youth with Disabilities.

Emily Reed, musician, writer, and advocate. Emily started the project How I Became Invisible and has her own music label, Anthropic Principle Records.

Stephanie Woodward, Esq., attorney, activist, and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Disability EmpowHer Network.

Curran Brown, Occupational Therapy student at Brunel University, mentor at Disability EmpowHer Network, and professional wheelchair basketball player for East London Phoenix.

Dr. Toni Saia, Assistant Professor and the Director of the Rehabilitation Technology Certificate at San Diego State University with a deep commitment to social justice, inclusion, and equity for all.

Nic Novicki, actor, comedian, producer, and founder / director of Easterseals Disability Film Challenge who has performed on six continents.

I’m Determined, a state-directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education that focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior.

Disability EmpowHer Network, an organization run by and for disabled girls and women to encourage them to succeed and lead.

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), an organization that ensures that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves, make new friends, and learn from their mistakes.

Trisha Brockway, Disability Support Specialist and Advocate (DSSA) for more than a decade who advocates for college professionals and students with disabilities against ableist ideologies and disabling structures in her adulthood.

Gayatri Kini, Founder and CEO of The Accidental Ally, a social enterprise that believes in a digital world that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability.

Nandita Gupta, Accessibility Product Manager at Microsoft where she works on building products that empower users to create an inclusive and accessible experience for all users.

Eli A. Wolff, directs the Power of Sport Lab, a platform to fuel and magnify creativity, diversity, connection, and leadership through sport.

California Transition Alliance, a nonprofit with the mission to provide information, tools, and resources that can be shared with teachers, parents, educators, and transition partners at the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Department of Developmental Services.

Kelan Koning, lecturer in the Department of English at California State University, Northridge and Communications Director for the California Community Colleges’ Success Network (3CSN).

Rayna Aylward, co-founder of and advisor to the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and board member of PolicyWorks.

Kevin Webb, Senior Director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, which empowers youth with disabilities to lead productive lives by building a pipeline of talent to help create a more inclusive and sustainable society for all.

Dr. Lisa Johnson, Director of Student Support Services at Nebraska Methodist College and faculty member for the institution’s undergraduate capstone course. Lisa is also a coordinator for a nonprofit that provides subsidized transportation for visually impaired residents in the Omaha and Lincoln metro areas. She and her husband share a passion for advocating for accessible art education and gallery experiences for the visually impaired and have gained international recognition for their work with Sensory: Please Touch the Art.

Congratulations to these individuals and groups around the country who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring!

In addition to honoring these participants on March 30th, we’re excited to bring in the following guest speakers to host a captivating celebration.

Maddy Ullman, Welcome Speaker | Maddy Ullman is a disabled Chinese adoptee with a love for stories. Her life experience growing up raised by white parents shaped her passion for diversity and inclusion in storytelling through writing to increase representation on screen. Maddy was recently a Showrunner’s assistant for a Netflix series, where she maintained a high level of organization in and out of the Writer’s Room. Additionally, her many years of experience as a writer’s assistant deepened her passion for collaborating with others to tell a compelling story that will resonate with diverse audiences. Having mild cerebral palsy, Maddy is an excellent problem-solver, especially when it comes to unforeseeable accessibility barriers. Other than chasing the writing muse, Maddy is a full on cat lady and photographer. Her hobbies include improving her American Sign Language skills and practicing aerial hammock yoga.

Xian Horn, Emcee | Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, who serves as teacher, speaker, advocate, blogger, and Exemplar for the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge toward the creation of Assistive Technology. Xian’s Give Beauty Wings’ Self-Esteem programs originated and continue at NYU’s Initiative for Women with Disabilities, the Jewish Community Center Manhattan, and M.S. 131. Her programs have also been presented at United Cerebral Palsy, Center for the Independence of the Disabled NY, the Standing Tall school (a school for non-verbal children), & her alma mater New York City Lab School, where she was commencement speaker in 2014. With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women.

Claudia Gordon, Keynote Speaker | Claudia is Senior Accessibility Strategy Partner with T-Mobile’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, where she drives enterprise-wide strategies for a disability inclusive culture and an accessible plus equitable work environment. She previously served as Senior Manager for Government and Compliance with T-Mobile Accessibility, a business unit that offers accessible communication products and services for customers with disabilities, including individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or have a speech disability. For her unrelenting commitment to her work, Claudia has been recognized by the American Association of People with Disabilities, Google, AT&T Humanity of Connection, National Disability Mentoring Coalition, National Association of the Deaf, National Black Deaf Advocates, and The Root 100.

Keith Jones, Entertainment | Keith Jones is the President and CEO of SoulTouchin Experiences, an organization aimed at bringing a perspective to the issues of access inclusion and empowerment, which affect him as well as others who are persons with a disability. To achieve this multicultural, cross-disability education and outreach efforts he collaborates and conducts trainings with the purpose of strengthening efforts to provide services and information for people with disabilities. The issues he tackles are wide ranging from immigration, criminal justice reform, health care and environmental justice just to name a few.

Joyce Bender, Tribute to Mary Brougher | Joyce Bender is the Founder and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc. and the Bender Leadership Academy, located in Pittsburgh, PA. Her focus for both organizations is employment for people with disabilities. As a woman living with epilepsy and hard of hearing, she dedicated her life to a crusade for youth and adults to gain the dream of competitive employment. She works tirelessly to break down the barriers and stigma that exist for people with disabilities.

Tony Coelho, Tribute to Mary Brougher | Tony Coelho is known for being the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — the most important piece of civil rights legislation in the last 30 years; advocating for the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and convincing President Bill Clinton to establish the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. After a series of remarkable career achievements, Mr. Coelho founded The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation at
Loyola Marymount University in 2018, which will pursue a three-pronged mission: convening thought leaders to pursue positive change on disability issues; leveraging technology to advance the lives of people with disabilities; and creating a pipeline of lawyers with disabilities to populate the bench and hold elected office.

With 500 anticipated attendees from across the country and a program filled with entertainment, the evening will be one to remember. Be sure to register for the event and join us on March 30th!