Dr. Christopher Lee – Department Head and Director at AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech

Dr. Christopher Lee
Dr. Christopher Lee

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Dr. Christopher Lee serves as Department Head of AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In this capacity, he oversees a wide range of educational initiatives, with emphasis on technology services, products and research.

Dr. Lee has been an advocate and pioneer in promoting social justice and entrepreneurship to benefit humankind and to strive for sustainable social change in the field of disabilities. His work has centered on the innovation of new models and techniques to support the integration of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Accessibility in corporate, governmental and nonprofit entities. Responsible for securing millions of dollars to support social justice causes, Dr. Lee has raised the standard for others, thus promoting and emphasizing the importance of ensuring equal and timely access to services and products for individuals with disabilities.

Dr. Lee is also a nationally recognized advocate, author, speaker, principal investigator and leader in the fields of learning disabilities and adaptive technology. He has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio and in newspaper articles picked up by the Associated Press. He is a recipient of several national service awards from disability organizations. He was highlighted in the Microsoft Accessible Technology for Everyone feature video and publication. Dr. Lee was recognized in The Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of 50 of Atlanta’s promising stars and was highlighted in the PBS children’s series A Chance to Read.

Dr. Lee was awarded the funds to develop, implement and manage the AccessText Network by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for being a key contributor in changing the U.S. post-secondary textbook accessibility landscape. His multidisciplinary research interests include ICT Accessibility enterprise transformation, social and psychological stigma factors in education and workplace settings, and telepresence and wearable technologies. Dr. Lee was recruited to the University of Georgia on a swimming scholarship, where he was co-captain of the UGA swim team.

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Lolly Daskal – Leadership Coach and CEO of Lead From Within

Lolly Daskal

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies.

As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world. Based on a mix of modern philosophy, science, and nearly thirty years coaching top executives, Lolly’s perspective on leadership continues to break new ground and produce exceptional results.

Of her many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference and Speakers at your next event by Inc. magazine.

Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others.

Lolly’s proprietary insights are the subject of her new book, The Leadership Gap:
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness,
and is available for pre- order www.theleadershipgapbook.com

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Paul Smyth – Barclays

Paul Smyth
Paul Smyth

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Paul Smyth is the Head of IT Accessibility for Barclays, responsible for identifying, anticipating and addressing technological barriers faced by disabled and older customers and colleagues in doing business with or being employed by the bank. He has worked for Barclays for the past 13 years after joining as a Finance graduate, is visually impaired and has led the digital accessibility agenda for the past 4years. His remit includes equipping change & digital teams with the relevant training & tools to deliver accessibly,  boosting awareness across the business and setting, promoting and policing accessibility standards. This has involved mainstreaming and mandating accessibility into the DNA of the organization as well as exploring and leveraging innovation to meet the additional needs of all users. Paul is actively involved with the Business Disability Forum’s Technology Taskforce, with the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and on a personal level with RNIB’s strategy panel.

Over this time, Barclays has launched pioneering initiatives such as talking cash machines and virtual sign language interpreter services for its customers, stating its serious and committed through its publicly stated ambition to become the most accessible & inclusive FTSE company. For colleagues, a more effective workplace adjustments programme has helped support colleagues with disabilities along with awareness campaigns on particular themes such as Mental Health helping drive openness and self-identification. 

 Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US. With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

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David Banes – Founder of David Banes Access and Inclusion

Photo of David Banes
David Banes

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David Banes is Director of his company David Banes Access and Inclusion Services and was formerly CEO, at Mada the Qatar Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center based in Doha where he worked for six years. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for developing services to ensure that people with a disability are digitally included, and in shaping the broad policy framework required to ensure and sustain this.

As a Consultant addressing all aspects of access and inclusion through disability, he is currently working a range of issues the Middle East and Europe and has a special interest in how access will be ensured as technology and our understanding of disability shifts.

Much of his work is designed to build capacity in emerging access ecosystems, supporting an end to end approach from awareness to policy, and from production of assistive technologies to approaches to training and development.

Prior to taking up his post in Qatar, he worked as a teacher of children with special needs and principal of a major special school before working in the realm of digital Inclusion in the UK and Europe as Director of Operations and Development for a UK NGO.  He now seeks to support the emerging Access ecosystem in the region promoting cooperation between states and supports the development of assistive technology solutions and digital content that meet the needs of Arabic speaking people with a disability.

His recent work has focussed on the development of a framework for responding to disruptive innovation in the AT Industry, identify solutions t meeting the needs of refugees with a disability, consulting on the creation of a business case for public investment in assistive technology and supporting innovation and research to bring products and services to market.

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Frances West – Founder of Frances West Co.

Frances West
Frances West

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Frances West is a champion for the rights for persons with disabilities on a global scale.  Frances served as IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer, as well as the Director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center until June 2016.

Since retiring from IBM, Frances founded FrancesWestCo, a company providing inclusive digital innovation, enterprise accessibility technology strategy and women in technology consulting to help institutions achieve market differentiation and talent acquisition.

She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the World Institute on Disability, is a board advisor on the National Business Disability Council, is a trustee with the National Braille Press and is the Chair of the Strategy and Development Committee of the G3ict. The mission of G3ict is to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in the digital age and it operates to support the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Frances was born in Taiwan and attended universities in Hong Kong and the US.  She also holds an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston for her work in accessibility.

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Jacqueline de Rojas – President of Tech UK & Advisory Board Member of the Digital Leaders Programme

Jacqueline de Rojas
Jacqueline de Rojas

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Advisory Board Member of the Digital Leaders Programme digileaders.com and President of TechUK, Jacqueline is a believer in smart partnering and tech that makes life easy. She dedicates much of her time to encouraging and empowering women in tech. Jacqueline was named Computer Weekly’s most influential women in UK IT 2015. Recent VP roles have included Citrix and Sage.

Nancy Doyle – Work and Organisational Psychologist, Neurodiversity Specialist, Social Entrepreneur, Founder of Genius Within CIC

Nancy Doyle
Nancy Doyle

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Nancy is a Consultant Occupational Psychologist based in the UK and the USA; a dual national.  Nancy has worked in organisational consultancy, neurodiversity and social inclusion, as overlapping specialisms until 2011 when she founded Genius Within CIC, a non-profit enterprise which now employs around 100 people.  Genius Within delivers positive assessments, coaching, workshops and advice on careers and workplace performance for neurodiverse people and their case managers / employers.

Nancy also provides consultancy for organisations wishing to develop strategic, purposeful inclusion of neurodiversity as a development policy.  Nancy is a doctoral researcher at City, University of London and is actively evaluating & publishing the effectiveness of various disability adjustments on workplace performance for neurodiverse employees.

Nancy was finally diagnosed with ADHD her late thirties, after founding Genius Within, having been misdiagnosed throughout her teens and spending her twenties finding her feet, and then finally finding her wings.

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Sarah Lee – Advocate, Writer, and Systems Administrator at Ruh Global Communications

Sarah Lee
Sarah Lee

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Sarah Lee received her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her concentrations include history, political science, and anthropology. Unsure of what to do after completing her undergraduate coursework, Sarah worked as a cook. After backpacking through Alaska, Canada, Europe, and South Korea, Sarah decided to go back to school and pursue her childhood dream of becoming a doctor.

She is currently attending Virginia Commonwealth University’s post-baccalaureate health sciences program. She is hoping to apply to medical schools next spring and to eventually study rural medicine to reach underserved populations.

Sarah is passionate about social justice, science, and anything that gets her outside. Sarah has had absence seizures since she was 7 and didn’t really consider herself as having a disability until she was filling out paperwork at the DMV 4 years ago.

She is excited to work for Ruh Global Communications not only because it synthesizes her passions and strengths but also because of their work in creating more awareness about disabilities- including the ones you cannot see.

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Jake Abma – Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands

Jake Abma
Jake Abma

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Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands

For the last four years Jake has set up a raft of initiatives to make sure products and services are accessible to people with the widest range of capabilities. He’s a passionate promoter of accessibility both inside and outside the Bank.

Product Owner

ING has introduced different initiatives to ensure full customer accessibility to our services and products, initially on a somewhat ad-hoc basis. Since 2 years Jake is the Product Owner for Team A11Y and his mission is to make it managed and documented.

Champions Network

Building the right technology, and creating standards, is a top priority for Jake and his team, which is made up of people from different disciplines, such as IT, UX and communication, some of them having a disability themselves. “We’re also setting up a Champions Network, inspired by BBC and Barclays, and we’ve just launched a new page on the Dutch ING website inviting feedback from customers on what their needs are, and communicating with them about what we’re doing.”

Ambassador UN CRPD

Since a year and a half Jake is very active as an ambassador of the UN CRPD. As an ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) actively contribute to spread the knowledge and to raise awareness of the existence and necessity of the rights of people with disabilities.

Web Guidelines Expert Group (WCAG)

Part of the WEG within the Netherlands. The WEG will propose amendments, ideas, concerns, interpretation and clarification of the Web Guidelines into consideration and issue a non-binding opinion thereon to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Collaborating across banks

One of the initiators of an accessibility ‘Task Force’ from within the G3ict, set up in conjunction with the UN, which currently involves nine banks in many different countries, sharing best practices on a range of topics. “Accessibility in banks extends to branches, ATMs, banking cards, basically any financial transaction where people are involved.”

Accessibility Guild

An Accessibility Guild within ING, along the lines of the Spotify model, is another of Jake’s initiatives. The Guild invites colleagues from different departments – IT, communication, debit cards, ATMs, branding, to come together and see how we can all help and strengthen each other. “This is currently just in the Netherlands,” says Jake, “but with the rise in modular architecture, with projects like TouchPoint Architecture and Model Bank, it could become relevant for other countries too.” Jake is in regular contact with countries such as Spain, Poland, Germany and Belgium, sharing best practices on accessibility from the Netherlands.

A passionate promoter

“The CRPD changed the definitions,” Jake explains. “It was no longer the person who had a problem, but the product, service or environment; if it had barriers that hindered a disabled person’s full participation in society on an effective and equal basis with others, then it needed changing.”

Since then, Jake has been a passionate promoter of accessibility. He has made sure that accessibility principles can be found within ING’s user interface framework, The Guide. “And they’re not just for IT, but for Product Owners, designers, developers, the whole spectrum.”


Rosemary Musachio – CPACC, Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications,

Rosemary Musachio
Rosemary Musachio

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When Rosemary was born on September 13, 1966 at an American naval hospital in Pozzuoli, Italy, the doctor asked her parents, “What will you do with her?”  Her parents looked at each other and thought he was crazy.  The ignorant physician asked because she had brain damage, which resulted in cerebral palsy.  Ironically, her brain was damaged because of his clumsiness; he bumped her head during delivery.  He presumed that she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life.

Rosemary has proven that doctor dead wrong.  For every limitation she has, she has been able to overcome it in one way or another.  Even though she cannot walk, she dances in her wheelchair to music.  Although she cannot talk, she uses a word board to communicate quite eloquently.  Although she cannot use her hands to perform daily tasks, she uses a head pointer to type on a keyboard.

Despite all her challenges, Rosemary has been able to accomplish a great deal during her life so far.  A year after graduating Cleveland States University Magma Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications, she became a monthly columnist for Sun Newspapers in Cleveland, Ohio.  Her column, Bit Of A Challenge, was the paper’s most popular column, running for ten years.  She also had articles published in The Plain Dealer and Italian Gazette.  In addition, she edited and published two monthly disability-related newsletters, The Able Informer and Ability Age.  Issues still roam around the Internet.  In her spare time, Rosemary reads, watches foreign movies, and writes poetry.  In fact, one of her goals is to publish a book of her poetry by the end of the year.

Rosemary Musachio hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland
Rosemary Musachio hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland

Besides establishing herself as a writer and a poet, Rosemary has pursued her dream of traveling and setting new heights…literally.  She has visited Italy (5 times so far), Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Holland, and Belgium.  During one of her visits to Italy, she even met the Pope!  She also has a daredevil spirit.  Several years ago she did tandem hang gliding in Ridgley, Maryland, where she went up twice at 2500ft and 5000ft.  A year afterwards, she took a ride on a customized motorcycle through eastern Metroparks and Chagrin Falls.  She also rode a horse on a Colorado dude ranch and skied at Brandywine ski resorts.  For her next adventures, Rosemary wants to paraglide and go in a hot air balloon.  No wonder her motto is “If you don’t accept challenges, you are not living.”

Rosemary photographed with a horse at a Colorado dude Ranch


In September 2001, Rosemary saw an ad by TecAccess, a Virginia-based technology company, in a disability newsletter.  It needed web testers, so she applied for the position.  During her ten years at TecAccess, she did everything from writing press releases and conducting business development correspondence to testing software and websites for accessibility standards.  Rosemary even helped train disabled veterans.  She was an accessibility analyst and a blogger for two other technology companies before holding her current position as Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications.

Rosemary is very adamant about the rights of non-verbal patients.  She believes communication between medical professionals and non-verbal patients is vital to treatment and recovery.  She has given presentations and written articles on the topic.  One day she hopes to offer a training course on it.

When people say how inspiring Rosemary is, she shakes her head and rolls her eyes.  Of course, she is humbled by and grateful for the compliment.  Yet, she feels there’s nothing inspiring about living life to the fullest despite disabilities.  Ironically, her parents and friends have been Rosemary’s inspirations.  Without their love and support, she might have ended up where that doctor at the naval hospital insinuated to place her.

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