KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Chris Pope

Chief of the Data Collection and Analysis Unit, RSA

Christopher Pope has held a variety of roles in the VR Program. Beginning his career in 2007 as a Rehabilitation Counselor, Mr. Pope now serves as Chief of the Data Collection and Analysis Unit at the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) at the U.S. Department of Education. Currently, he leads a team responsible for collecting and analyzing Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) performance accountability data and other information required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie

Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft

As Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft, Jenny leads the company’s efforts to drive great products, services, and websites that empower people and organizations to achieve more. Her team is at the forefront of creating positive experiences that apply technology to make a difference in the world and the lives of individuals.

Mike Ellis

Global Vice President – Accessibility, Sprint

A former legislative assistant to Senator Harkin in Washington D.C., Joseph joined The Harkin Institute in 2016. Previously, Joseph served as senior vice president of government relations and public policy at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Joseph Jones serves as the executive director for The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement.

Lisa Gifford

Chief Executive Officer, Alliance Enterprises, Inc.

Lisa was one of Alliance’s first employees. She has had a profound impact on developing Alliance into a high-touch, high-tech technology company. Lisa led the launch and expansion of the company’s flagship software, Aware, by creating personal relationships within the VR community. Today, the Aware software is used by over 60 rehabilitation service providers across the nation.

Christine Ha

Restaurateur, Entrepreneur & MasterChef Winner – Season 3, The Blind Goat

Lauded by chef Gordon Ramsay as having an “extraordinary palate,” Christine Ha is the first blind contestant and winner of season three of the competitive amateur cooking television show MasterChef. As an accomplished writer and featured keynote speaker, Ha shares her experiences as a chef and a culinary ambassador around the world.

Richard Turner

Card Mechanic & Motivational Speaker, Showdown Creations, Inc.

Can you trust your senses? Perhaps not with Richard Turner in the house! As a blind master card mechanic, Richard Turner’s talent, humor, poise, and eloquence inspires and dazzles audiences.

HOST

SUSAN FOARD

Conference Chair

TRAINERS AND EXPERTS

MARIA RONEY

Software Product Trainer

KAREN DUNN

Education and Communications Director

SHOSHANAH BAIN

Alliance Labs Deputy Director

JOHN HARPER

Aware Product Manager

DAN BARTELS

Analytics Product Manager

KEN GOSS

Aware Subject Matter Expert

ALAN RHOTEN

Business Systems Analyst Lead

RALPH VIGIL

Strategic Account Manager

JOHN STEM

Business Systems Analyst

RICK GIFFORD

Alliance Labs Director

BREAKOUT SPEAKERS

SUSAN FOLEY

Ph.D, Senior Researcher,
UMass Boston

SANDY WILLIAMS

Department of Operation Systems Support Manager, VA DARS

BRITTNY DOWNING

VR Associate Director of Administrative Services, IN DDRS

TERRY DONOVAN

Senior Outreach Program Manager, University of Wisconsin

MICHAEL MACKILLOP

Deputy Director, WA DSB

ROB HINES

Director, WA DVR

IAN KREMER

Senior Software Developer, Kiehl Northwest

OUR SPONSORS