Board Member Testimonials

Board Member Testimonials

USICD Board Member Shelia Newman

USICD Board Member Shelia Newman

I started my career in the field of disability in 1978 when I graduated with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. For almost 40 years, I’ve worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Fifteen years ago, I created a government consulting company and begin to “practice what I teach” by hiring people with disabilities.

Today my company has 60 employees and 20% of these employees has a disability. I like to say that New Editions looks like every company in America should look with a workforce representing the rich diversity in our county—made up of many different races, religions, ages, cultures, and disabilities.

About seven years ago, my company was awarded an international contract to work around the world with vulnerable populations. As I became more aware of international disability issues, I became interested in USICD. I joined the organization and attended several events, and in 2015, I applied to become a Board member. While humbled by the accomplishments of my fellow Board members and the membership at large, I wanted to contribute what I could to help USICD meet its mission: To promote the rights and full participation of persons with disabilities through global engagement and United States foreign affairs.

I am proud of USICD’s range of projects and programs promoting the inclusion of disability perspectives, especially the education and advocacy campaign to promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I invite you to contribute to these valuable projects by becoming a member of this important organization that fosters inclusion of people with disabilities around the world.

Thank you,
Shelia Newman



USICD Board Member Jerry McCloskey

I am a polio and post- polio syndrome survivor, and in 2006 my wife and I returned to the US after living in Ireland. After many years of support from family, friends, and corporate partners, I decided to become an advocate for disability rights. This path eventually led to my involvement in Independence First, a center for independent living, in Milwaukee, WI.

The CEO of Independence First is Lee Schulz, a former USICD Board Member, who urged me to become a member of USICD and apply to join the Board of USICD. I joined in 2013 and was elected to the Board in 2014.

I totally believe in the mission of USICD which is to promote the rights and full participation of persons with disabilities through global engagement and United States Foreign affairs. I also believe totally in the vision of USICD of a world where the equal rights of persons with disabilities are protected and advanced, where the capacities and talents of persons with disabilities are celebrated and elevated, and where people with disabilities come together across borders as a global disability community.

Based on my commitment to USICD, I have become a strong advocate in the support for the ratification of the Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD is an international disability treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities and is a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities.

We have so much work to be done and I strongly urge you to become a member, whether corporate or individual.

Thank you,

Jerry McCloskey


USICD Board Member Judith Heumann

I believe it is our responsibility as advocates and members of USICD to push for full inclusion in international development and humanitarian aid, including those programs funded by the United States around the world. Through partnerships and the community’s support, USICD is also helping disability rights advocates in other countries build their collective voice for access and inclusion. You as an individual member can help USICD’s efforts reach more people.

Many of you got to know USICD in recent years as they led the campaign for United States ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). My deep thanks to all of you who joined the effort with your own advocacy and organizing! Though this goal has not been met, I know USICD and you will not be deterred. When you become a member of USICD, you are supporting all of their work both here in the U.S. and around the world. Solidarity with our brothers and sisters with disabilities around the world is USICD’s mission and priority. I am proud to support this work.

Please join me in thanking USICD for their 25 years of advocacy of behalf of people with disabilities around the world by becoming a member of USICD today!

Judy Heumann


USICD Board Member Candace Cable

I'm a member because I support the U.S. International Council on Disabilities' (USICD) promotion of rights and full inclusion of people with disabilities through global engagement and U.S. foreign affairs. Our membership is vast and spans across the United States and overseas, convening at least once a year to keep our members apprised of progress toward global disability rights.

At our meetings, we share specifics on how USICD's advocacy provides information and strategic guidance to national grassroots organizations, governments and corporate partners. USICD's initiatives create opportunities for involvement and advocacy with peer USICD members.

The need for engaging with disability advocates around the world has never been greater! USICD members and staff work around the world promoting inclusion, spanning primary education for all children to independent living, and learning from our global colleagues' new ways of bringing human rights home. And, in the case of our internship program for young professionals seeking careers in international development and foreign affairs, we provide the right talent to host partners to get the job done.

Please consider becoming a USICD organizational or individual member and share in our vision where all people with disabilities come together for equal rights across all borders!

I wish you all the best in your pursuit of excellence and thank you for your support.

In Joy & Warm Regards,

Candace Cable