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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Joe Devon – Co-Founder of GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day)

Joe Devon
Joe Devon

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 Joe Devon is a serial entrepreneur and computer programmer with over 30 years of development experience. Joe has worked on projects spanning Search Engine technology, Performance Management, Investment Banks, Telcos & Media.
In addition to starting several companies, Joe serves/d as an advisor at several startups,  leading industry conferences and nonprofits. Last but not least, Joe Co-Founded Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

Susanna Laurin Talks About European Accessibility Legislation

Headshot of Susanna Laurin
Susanna Laurin

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Susanna Returns to AXSChat to discuss European Accessibility Standards and legislation.

Susanna Laurin has a long experience in working with disability-related issues at senior management level, for instance as CEO of one of the subsidiaries of the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired’s corporate group IRIS, and the Swedish Independent Living Institute. She is a frequent international lecturer and debater, and she serves on some program committees for conferences in the field of accessibility.

At Funka she takes responsibility for major and international assignments, among other for the European Commission, for which Funka at the moment are developing the measuring methodology to be used by the member states if and when the proposed Web Directive will come into action, as well as a number of assignments for the different national governments. Susanna also works on Funka’s internal methodology and quality work and is in responsible for Funka’s close cooperation with end user organisations.

Susanna is a member of the board of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, IAAP, a global group that was co-founded by Funka, and she is also a fellow of the Swedish government’s forum for usability and accessibility in ICT. She is an expert and advisor, both for Swedish Standards Institute and Standards Norway, and furthermore served as technical expert for Mandate 376, that on behalf of the EC developed harmonised requirements for accessibility in public procurement in all EU member states. Susanna was moreover responsible for the authorised translation of WCAG 2.0 into Swedish that Funka carried out on behalf of W3C.

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Rob Laffan – Creator of TippyTalk

Rob Laffan

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Mr Laffan’s occupational background previous to creating Tippytalk would have been in management. In 2015 Rob attainted a degree in Engineering, specifically Automation & Robotic systems in 2015. Rob Laffan is a loving father of a beautiful little girl named Sadie, who just happens to be non-verbal. It was this love for his daughter, and a promise which all fathers make to their children, to love, protect, and provide for them, that inspired the creation of TippyTalk.

As a parent of a child with non-verbal autism Rob and his wife found the most heart breaking and frustrating thing was their daughter’s inability to communicate the simplest of things – things that a parent of a neurotypical typical child would take for granted. Such as “I want to hug”, Rob’s love for his daughter inspired the creation of TippyTalk, and now it’s his passion to share it with other families. TippyTalk is the first product created by Sadiecom, with the intention of adding value to the lives of children and adults living with a non-verbal learning disorder.

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Felipe Alonso – Founder of Nos, Why Not?, Agency Photographers with Intellectual Disabilities

Felipe, Founder of Nos, Why Not? and Fernando, Photographer with Intellectual Disabilities

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Coming from the world of business, and after 3 years of studying photography, he created a photography studio. In the year 89, he joined as a collaborator in the newspaper “El Mundo del S XXI” in Barcelona, where he became Head of Photography of the edition of Catalunya. Since 1996, he has collaborated with the International Agency Sipa Press, and with several magazines of the sector of the economy.

In September 2011, he moved to live in A Coruña. Start teaching photography to people with disabilities Create “Nos, Why Not?” The first agency of photographers with intellectual disabilities (March 2013). It has taught more than 100 people with intellectual disabilities (including three who are also blind). It is in several cities in Spain (A Coruña, Narón – Ferrol -, Nigrán- Vigo -, Santiago de Compostela, Madrid, Terrassa and Sabadell – Barcelona – and in Pamplona) and collaborates with “Moro Foto”.News Service “in New York, and with” Me Workshops “in Buenos Aires. This year, he created the Beta version of the first bank of images made by photographers with intellectual disabilities (January 2017)

The definitive version will be a fully accessible image bank with news that will facilitate and promote cooperation between companies or organisations and photographers.

Url image bank Beta version:

Ekaterina Walter – Best Selling Author, International Speaker, and Business Innovator.

Ekaterina Walter
Ekaterina Walter

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Ekaterina Walter led strategic and marketing innovation for Fortune 500 brands such as Intel and Accenture. Branderati, the start-up she co-founded, was acquired by Sprinklr where she now serves as Global Evangelist.

Ekaterina is an international speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg” and co-author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Marketing Your Brand.

Ekaterina has been consistently recognized by the industry and her peers for her innovative thinking, receiving a 2013 Marketer of the Year honor (SoMe Awards) and being named #3 on The Forbes 2014 World Top 40 Social Marketing Talent. In June 2014, Fortune magazine included her in the list of the most impactful business people on social media alongside Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Warren Buffet, and others.

A former trailblazer behind Intel’s social media success and a recognized business and marketing thought leader, Ekaterina is a contributor to leading-edge print and online publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur. Her thought leadership was featured on CNBC, ABC, NBC, FOX News, Forbes, TechCrunch, CNN, WSJ, Inc., and more.

Walter holds a master’s degree in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina. Blog:

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Dr. Flip Schrameijer – Sociologist, Mental health specialist, Novelist, & Founder of Architecture for Autism

Flip Schrameijer
Flip Schrameijer

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Flip is a Dutch sociologist with a PhD in social psychology who worked for seventeen years at the Netherlands Centre for Mental Health as a researcher and manager. Self-employed since 1996 as a researcher, writer and consultant.

Wrote several books on mental health issues (two about the problems and treatment of disturbed juvenile delinquents, one on the idea’s and treatment of schizophrenia over the past 25 years, centred around the Amsterdam Adolescent Clinic of Amsterdam university). Did research and consultancy in the fields of mental health policy, psycho-oncology and work disability, among others.

After writing three books for and about the treatments and philosophy of the Autism Centre Dr Leo Kannerhuis, in 2009 he embarked on a book about architecture and autism, based on the extensive building and design experiences of the Kannerhuis. It appeared in November 2013.

Researching this subject he became convinced adapted architecture can have an underestimated contribution to the well-being of people on the autistic spectrum of the same magnitude as the best treatments. Recognizing the need of bringing together a variety of insights and experiences from the design of schools, treatment and long-stay facilities, (semi-) independent living arrangements and parental homes, he founded the bilingual website Architecture-For-Autism.Org. Its aim is to further the knowledge base in a systematic fashion, offering both practical recommendations and the considerations behind them. As an on-going project it aspires in the longer term to contribute to evidence based design for autism.

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Stefan Trömel – Senior Disability Specialist of The International Labour Organization (ILO)

Stefan Trömel
Stefan Trömel

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Stefan Trömel, Senior Disability Specialist in the International Labour Organization (ILO) since August 2013. His current duties include the coordination of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.

Between 2008 and 2013, held the position of Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance, the global umbrella organization of organizations of persons with disabilities.

Between 1999 and 2004, he was the Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), the most representative disability organization at European Union level.

Stefan Trömel was actively involved in the negotiation process of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from 2002-2006.

ILO Global Business and Disability Network

ILO Global Business and Disability Network | LinkedIn

ILO Global Business and Disability Network – YouTube

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Ann Douglas – Bestselling Parenting Book Author and Keynote Speaker

Ann Douglas
Ann Douglas

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US edition Parenting Through the StormAnn is the author of Parenting Through the Storm: Find Help, Hope, and Strength When Your Child Has Psychological Problems (Guilford Press), a book that is based on interviews with over 50 parents who have weathered similar storms with their kids and who are eager to share their best advice with other parents. She is also the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio (Canada’s national public broadcaster).

Ann’s website is
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Aurélien Levy – CEO of Temesis

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Aurélien Levy

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Aurélien is CEO of Temesis, a French company working on digital accessibility and quality. He works as a consultant and he is one of the main authors of the French government’s accessibility guidelines RGAA version 1 and 2. He is also and international speaker (CSUN, Funka accessibility days, A11y Québec, Confoo Montreal, etc) and actively involved in various events and projects promoting accessibility such as Openweb and the Parisweb conference.

If you want to read the RGAA in English it’s been translated.

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