Dr. Patricia Morrissey, President
Dr. Morrissey is the former Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities within the Administration for Family and Children in the US Department on Health and Human Services. She is currently the Director of the Center on Disabilities Studies in the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa College of Education.
Candace Cable, Vice President
Candace Cable has competed in 9 Paralympic Games, 4 Summer and 5 Winter Games from 1980 to 2006 in 3 sports, wheelchair racing, alpine and Nordic ski racing, winning 12 Paralympic medals, 8 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze. Winner of 84 marathons including 6 Boston Marathon titles, she is the current Paralympic skiing athlete representative to the USOC athlete advisory council. Candace is writer, webcast host, and visual media creator..
Jerry McCloskey, Treasurer Jerry McCloskey is a graduate of Marquette University and serves as a Board member of Independence First, Milwaukee, WI, executive and advocacy committees. He is one of the State of Wisconsin representatives working with USICD on the quest for ratification of the CRPD, and is a polio survivor.
Kirt Toombs, Secretary
Kirt Toombs is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Oregon Center of Independent Living (EOCIL) and began his employment in January 2000. Kirt is an alumnus of the University of San Francisco (USF), where he was awarded a Master of Management and Disability Services degree. Kirt has also studied at the University of Ireland-Galway, Department of International Disability Law & Policy, through its summer program. Kirt has extensive educational and professional experience in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Since 1986, Kirt has been a fierce advocate of the Independent Living Movement, participating at both the practitioner and researcher levels. Kirt has over two decades of public administration experience, all of them in the service of the cross-disability community.
William M. Abrams is the President of the Trickle Up Program, in New York. Mr. Abrams joined Trickle Up following a career as a senior executive and journalist for the New York Times, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Abigail Akande Dr. Abby Akande is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services at The Pennsylvania State University – Abington College. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and prior to entering academia, she worked in the fields of vocational rehabilitation and behavioral health across four states. She has taught students at the bachelor’s and master’s levels who aspire to a variety of careers within the rehabilitation and disability services disciplines. Dr. Akande’s research focuses on the implications of disability and culture in the realms of employment, education, and health regarding women in developing countries and immigrants in the United States. Furthermore, her research and service endeavors seek to highlight needs and interventions through international partnerships and policy development and implementation.
Until recently Mr. Michael Brogioli has served as the Executive Director of RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America since 2013; Prior to joining RESNA, Brogioli served as Executive Director and CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the first Vice President for Policy and Government Relations at Special Olympics International, and the Executive Director of the Autism Coalition for Research and Education. Michael holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University, where he was a Jacob Javits Fellow and a Bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame.
Executive Director, DisabilityIN
Jill Houghton is the President and CEO of Disability:IN. Jill’s goal is to empower companies to achieve disability inclusion and equality. Through her leadership, Disability:IN has partnered with over 170 Disability:IN corporations, accounting for a total workforce of over 7.8 million people. Jill has led the development of nationally recognized programs, such as the Disability Equality Index (in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities), Supplier Diversity program providing nationally recognized disability-owned business certifications, and programs supporting NextGen Leaders, like the Mentorship Exchange and Talent Accelerator. It is her hope to build an inclusive global economy where people with disabilities can participate fully and meaningfully.
Judy Heumann is a long time and internationally recognized disability rights advocate. In previous positions at the World Bank and the U.S. Department of State, she led efforts to mainstream disability into international development programming in developing countries. She also has helped the independent living movement become increasingly global.
Janet Lord International Human Rights Attorney
Janet Lord is an international human rights lawyer who has worked on disability rights advocacy for 15 years. She participated in the drafting of the CRPD, written extensively on disability rights issues, and worked with disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs) around the world. She serves on the Board of Amnesty International USA and teaches international disability rights at American University.
Shelia Newman is President of New Editions Consulting, Inc., a government consulting firm specializing in contracts that focus on vulnerable populations, especially people with disabilities. Ms. Newman has been in the field of disability for 30 years, directing research studies, developing educational materials and more recently overseeing work on international disability programs. She volunteers for and supports numerous disability organizations and has won awards for the company’s inclusion of people with disabilities. Ms. Newman has a M.S. in rehabilitation counseling.
James McCormick is critical and forward thinking professional who enjoys identifying opportunities and solutions to overcome existing challenges. He is passionate about making the world a better place, including equal rights and opportunities for everyone. James graduated with a double major in accounting and finance from James Madison University. He is a CPA and also has experience with forecasting and budgeting.
Meg O’Connell, is the President of Global Disability Inclusion. She is a nationally recognized disability employment expert with over 20 years of experience in human capital management, talent acquisition, performance management, disability inclusion, employee engagement, marketing and customer service programs. She provides strategic program design and implementation of disability employment and inclusion programs for Global 500 companies, non-profits and foundations. Prior to founding Global Disability Inclusion, she was Vice President at The National Organization on Disability where she designed and led their national consulting practice, providing disability inclusion expertise to Fortune 500 companies. She was also the lead architect of the first ever disability assessment tool, The Tracker, and led the analysis of the first data captures on employee engagement of people with disabilities. She also spent ten years at the premier consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton where she developed and led their employee resource group for employees with disabilities.
President and Founder
Women Enabled, Inc.
Stephanie Ortoleva is an international human rights lawyer, researcher and consultant and is the President and Founder of Women Enabled, Inc., a Non-Governmental Organization which educates and advocates for the rights of all women and persons with disabilities with a special focus on women and girls with disabilities through collaborations with organizations of women and girls with disabilities around the world.
Carolyn Osolinik Carolyn Osolink served as the chief counsel for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) with responsibility for judicial nominations and all civil rights issues. She was his key staff person for the Civil Rights Restoration Act, the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, for which Carolyn was the senior Senate staff negotiator with the House of Representatives and the George H.W. Bush Administration. Carolyn was also the government relations partner at the law firm Mayer Brown, LLP, where she counseled businesses on the requirements of federal disability rights laws. Carolyn provided outside pro bono counsel to USICD during the campaign for U.S. ratification of CRPD in 2012. As a long-time board member, Chair, and now Chair Emeritus of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Education Fund, Carolyn has worked to make sure the organization includes disability issues in all its initiatives.
Susan Parker has more than 30 years of executive experience gained through appointments by state governors, U.S. presidents, local and international boards of directors to better help people with disabilities worldwide. The former Secretary-General of RI (1993-1998), Parker’s experiences as a New England ski racer and instructor pointed her toward a career in disability advocacy, which included assisting disabled soldiers from armed conflicts in Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the early 1990s, Parker served as the Disability Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration, opening up disability benefits to 465,000 U.S. children. From 2002-2011, she joined in the U.S. Department of Labor as the Disability Policy Director and helped create the national Disability Unemployment Statistic. Prior to the federal level, Parker held top leadership posts in two state governments: the State of Maine, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation; and the State of New Hampshire, Executive Director of the Developmental Disabilities Council. From 1998 to 2001, Parker was the Senior Policy Officer, Disability at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. She holds the Master of Social Work and Master of Social Planning degrees from Boston College School of Social Work and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dylan Rafaty Mr. Dylan M. Rafaty is a navigator, influencer, and disability rights advocate committed to serving all people with disabilities including disabled veterans in the cross-disability community across the United States. Dylan launched DylanListed in 2012, a transition support services provider (for people with disabilities including disabled veterans) and works for C-Hear, Inc. as the Head of Accessibility Strategy & Partnerships, a company that developed a patented way to make images accessible and heard. His book, Occupy Special Education – Children Should Be Seen and Heard, encourages students with disabilities to speak up about their educational needs. Dylan serves on many executive boards, including the Texas Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities. In 2020, Dylan was inducted into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was named Oticon’s 2020 ‘Focus On People’ Advocacy Award Winner.
Eric Rosenthal Eric Rosenthal is the founder and Executive Director of Disability Rights International (DRI), a human rights advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and full inclusion in society of children and adults with disabilities worldwide. For 25 years, DRI has been a pioneer in documenting and exposing abuses, bringing media attention to the concerns of people confined to institutions, training disability activists, bringing test case litigation in international courts, and educating international donors and development organizations.
John Wodatch served for 42 years in the Federal government, where he authored the government’s comprehensive disability rights regulations for Section 504 and the ADA and created and led the Department of Justice’s section in charge of enforcing the ADA. He was also part of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations that helped develop the CRPD. He continues working internationally by assisting countries with their own disability rights laws and working to seek U.S ratification of the CRPD.