Meet Our Board


Carol J. Bradley, J.D., Chair
Disability Compliance Officer at Sutter Health

Carol Bradley, headshotCarol has several decades of disability community engagement, including roles as board member, volunteer, executive director, trainer, advocate, and policy advisor since the early 1990s. Her interest sparked in 1993, during her first intensive week of training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She served in leadership roles, including executive director of several independent living centers (CILs), gubernatorial appointments to two different State Independent Living Counsels, and consultant for Pacific ADA & IT Center, Breast Health Access for Women with Disabilities, and the film, Freedom Machines.

Most recently, her key focus has been developing programs on disability access obligations as a City ADA Coordinator and 8+ years as Sutter Health’s Disability Access/504 Officer. She developed the Health System program that includes training the 30+ ADA Coordinators on disability access responsibilities. She worked with equipment stakeholders on development of an accessible medical equipment survey, scoping standards, and vendor sourcing processes.

Carol acquired her vision loss during law school. She is legally blind and uses a variety of assistive technologies for accessibility. She practiced law in a small employment litigation firm in the Midwest. She has trained and presented on a variety of topics including all aspects of the ADA, management for independent center staff, domestic violence, sexual assault, and children’s experience of divorce.

Heather Dowdy, Vice Chair
Accessibility Solutions Engineer, Motorola Mobility
Heather Dowdy, headshot
Heather Dowdy is the Product Compliance Manager of Accessibility at Motorola Mobility. She reviews FCC Disability Access regulations, researches new technologies to improve communications for people with accessibility needs, and guides related product development. Heather currently serves as the Chair of the Accessibility Working Group (AWG) of the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum (MMF).

Heather received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the oldest daughter of Deaf parents, Heather is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). She has a real passion for influencing and empowering communities through education and benevolence.  Heather loves teaching others about sign language and Deaf culture, financial literacy as a standing Junior Achievement volunteer, or through her user friendly product demonstrations. In addition to spending quality time with her family, she enjoys reading, journaling, and interacting with different cultures while traveling abroad.

Sheridan Gates, MED, PCC, Treasurer
Executive Coach, Purpose At Work
Sheridan Gates, headshotSheridan is an executive coach and the principal of Purpose At Work. She has partnered for over 20 years with leaders and teams to create more effective and integrated organizations. She has designed, developed, and delivered numerous Leadership Development Programs for clients, using a blended-approach of experiential classroom training, individual coaching, and action-learning.

Sheridan offers coaching in: leading with authenticity and presence, purpose-oriented career management and renewal, accessing one’s personal power to deepen learning and capacity for action, leveraging energy and vitality, and building connections and relationships. Her clients come from Fortune 500 companies, federal government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

She holds an M.A. in Education and Human Development with a specialization in Organizational Behavior from George Washington University and a B.A. in Economics and Business from DePauw University. She completed Coaching for Personal and Professional Mastery, a coaching certification program, and the Graduate Coaching Program offered by Newfield Network; she is also a certified Somatic Coach as a graduate of the Strozzi Institute. She is a Core Individuation practitioner and a member, faculty, and coach with the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation.

She captured her coaching approach in an article in 2011 called “Creating Possibilities and Pathways: Coaching Leaders through Change.” 

Eli Gelardin, Secretary
Executive Director, Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL)
Eli Gelardin, headshot
Eli serves as the Executive Director of Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL).  He has over a decade of experience working in disability services and advocacy. During his leadership at MCIL, the small grassroots organization has grown to an annual budget of approximately $900,000 with 11 staff serving over 800 individuals with disabilities each year.  In 2013, MCIL was recognized as a California Center of Excellence by its peers.

Eli also serves as the co-creator of, an innovative web application that blends the high tech capacity of an online personal care registry with the high touch services of local non-profit community-based organizations. was recently featured as a model for homecare innovation at the National Home and Community Based Services Conference in Washington, D.C.

Eli translates his personal experience as an individual with a disability into his professional roles. He currently serves as Chair of the California State Independent Living Council, Chief Financial Officer of the Mission San Rafael Rotary Foundation, and board member of the California Foundation for Independent Living.

Eli lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Christina, and their two children. They are a multi-generational disabled and proud family.

Paul W. Schroeder, Immediate Past Chair
Vice President, Programs and Policy, American Foundation for the Blind
Paul Schroeder, headshot
For over 25 years, Paul Schroeder has been working to improve public policies and programs to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. He currently serves as Vice President of Programs and Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Paul joined the staff of AFB in 1994 as National Program Associate in Telecommunications and Technology.

Paul provides leadership for AFB’s efforts to improve services and policies related to the needs of people with vision loss. He is responsible for AFB’s activities related to legislative and public policy, research and demographic trends, training for service-providers, and efforts to improve access to information and communication technology. He also oversees AFB’s comprehensive web-based technology magazine, AccessWorld: Technology and People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired. As a member of AFB’s management team, Paul plays an active role in strategic planning, budget preparation, and organization policy setting.

Paul is known nationally and internationally for his efforts to foster greater access to mobile phones and other mainstream technology. He was also a leading advocate in the successful effort to amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to improve access to textbooks for students who are blind or visually impaired.

He earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from American University and currently lives in Maryland with his wife and two daughters.


Rachel Arfa
Staff Attorney and PABSS Project Manager at Equip for Equality

Rachel Arfa, headshotRachel is a Staff Attorney and PABSS Project Manager at Equip for Equality, Illinois’s Governor-designated protection and advocacy organization to preserve the human and civil rights of people with disabilities. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf (MCLD), as Alumni Co-Chair on the Board of the New Leaders Council, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium. Prior to attending law school, Rachel worked for Senator Patrick Leahy as Nominations Clerk on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary where her work focused exclusively on judicial nominations. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Law and the University of Michigan. She is profoundly deaf and wears bilateral cochlear implants.  

Kevin Dabney
Manager/CIO of Wholesale Technology, Wells Fargo
Kevin Dabney, headshot
Kevin is CIO/EVP of the Wholesale Technology Services group at Wells Fargo. Wholesale Technology manages applications and delivery channels used by Wells Fargo Treasury Management Services, the International Bank, Wholesale Credit Support Services, Corporate Trust, Insurance and Asset Management, and Wells Fargo’s Merchant Customer base.

Prior to his current role, Kevin served as CIO/Group Technology Executive for Retail Applications, which included responsibility for the retail store delivery channels (teller/sales/service platforms), Call Center Technology, Hogan Deposit Systems, Risk Systems, and Check Operations Systems, as well as dotted-line responsibility for the Private Client Services, Business Banking, and Internet Services.

In his career with Wells Fargo/Norwest, Kevin has also managed the item processing operations, Mergers and Acquisitions (including management of the merger between Wells Fargo and Norwest), and the Project Management Office.

After graduating Cum Laude from Texas Tech in Management/Finance, Kevin has spent over 30 years in retail, operations, technology, and now wholesale banking and has also completed the Pacific Coast Banking School Honors Program.

Claire Forrest
Writing and PR Freelancer
Claire Forrest, headshot
Claire is a freelance writer and public relations assistant. Her roles include everything from writing press releases to managing social media for several businesses and non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities, including handling the publicity for a documentary on how media stories about persons with disabilities have evolved over the years.

Through her personal experiences and her years as a U.S. Paralympic swimmer, Claire is passionate about raising awareness, accessibility, and cultural visibility for persons with disabilities and hopes her writing can be useful in this way. She holds a B.A. in English from Grinnell College and serves as an alumna member on the college’s Accessibility Committee while writing new web content for prospective students with disabilities. When not working, Claire is reading or writing fiction. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

Kevin Foster
Director of HR Operations at Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Kevin Foster, headshotKevin is the Director of Human Relations (HR) Operations at Motorola Solutions, Inc., the previous Government and Public Safety division of Motorola, Inc. Kevin has over 8 years of HR experience and 12 years of Diversity and Inclusion experience. Director of HR Operations since 2006, he’s focused on program and project management of large scale global projects, including mergers and acquisitions, as well as diversity leadership.

In the past, Kevin worked as a Global Resources Manager for Motorola, Inc. where he managed, designed, developed, validated, and implemented global diversity strategies and initiatives.

He also served as a Manager of Human Resources for Motorola, Inc. where he managed government compliance initiatives, developed position statement responses for government agencies, performed investigations, managed database and reporting systems, facilitated compliance training, coached managers and senior leadership, and managed community outreach initiatives.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP), in addition to serving on the World Institute on Disability’s Board. He has also served as the president of a diversity business council, leading a variety of business and community initiatives.

He was a former member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Ski Team. He has his M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.

Malcom Glenn
Public Policy Manager, Uber

Malcom Glenn, headshotMalcom Glenn is a public policy manager at Uber in Washington, D.C., where he specializes on national community engagement with organizations supporting underserved communities. Since joining Uber in 2015, Malcom has spearheaded Uber’s outreach initiatives around increasing opportunity for drivers facing barriers to work, expanding transportation options to areas that have traditionally had limited access, and increasing the accessibility of the Uber application and platform for people with disabilities.

Prior to joining Uber, he was an executive communications manager at Google, where he wrote speeches and developed strategic communications plans for Google’s chief financial officer and his leadership team. Before joining Google, he was the national director of communications at the American Federation for Children, a leading education advocacy organization focused on expanding educational options for children from low-income communities. He previously worked at the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, where he helped organizations and issue campaigns hone their messages. He has also had various stints as a journalist and has been published by The Washington Post, CBS News, The Denver Post, and Sports Illustrated.

Malcom is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was the president of The Harvard Crimson.

Nanci Linke-Ellis
Partner, General Manager, Captionfish
Nanci Linke-Ellis, headshot
Nanci, Partner and General Manager of Captionfish, the premiere web and mobile content site for captioned entertainment, has spent the last 18 years working on film and television access issues critical to individuals with hearing loss. Begun in 1993, her film industry advocacy has resulted in the recent agreements by Regal, Cinemark, and AMC Theatres to provide accessible technology in all of its theatres across the U.S. by the end of 2013.

Nanci is a governor appointee on the California State Rehabilitation Council, and she was recently appointed to the Santa Monica Disabilities Commission. She is also the Southern California Chapter Coordinator for the National Hearing Loss Association of America.

Captionfish was honored by the FCC for its innovative technology by Phlixie, its sister site, the search engine geared toward online, streaming, Netflix, and iTunes content. Prior to losing her hearing and receiving bi-lateral cochlear implants, she worked in both the television and film industries as a senior development executive in the TV movies and mini-series adaptation genre.

Nanci joined the World Institute on Disability board in fall of 2011.

Julie E. McCarthy, SPHRCA, SHRM-SCP
Director of Human Resources, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, San Francisco

Julie McCarthy, headshotCurrently, Julie serves as the Director of Human Resources and Facilities and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, based in San Francisco. Her first position at LightHouse in 2001, was briefly that of Job Developer – before returning to her HR roots where she’s remained ever since. In the years leading up to joining the nonprofit community, her titles ranged from HR Manager to Director of Operations, as she surfed the dotcom wave until it largely went bust.  The experience was invaluable, though, exposing her to a variety of personalities, processes and duties. Her scope of responsibility broadened during that time, as well, leading to many facets of management since, including staff, facilities, information technology, budgeting, programs, vendor relationships, insurance, payroll, contracts, finance, policy and procedure development, report generation, Board presentations, HIPAA compliance, safety and audit processes. Along the way she’s picked up two senior certifications from the HR Certification Institute and Society for Human Resource Management.

A native San Franciscan, Julie has witnessed those living in the Bay Area make real progress in many areas, including the integration of persons with disabilities into the larger community.  She considers it her my privilege to continually support that progress in whatever ways she can.

Ari Ne’eman
President and Co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Ari Ne'eman, headshotAri is the President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He currently chairs the Council’s Entitlements Committee.

From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee. He also served as an adviser to the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup and is a member of the National Quality Forum’s Workgroup on Measuring Home and Community Based Services Quality.

Ari was recently appointed by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to serve as a member of the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities. He previously served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission. He is a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

In 2010, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36.” He has a bachelor’s degree  in political science from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Michael Palmer
Senior Manager, Accessibility and Regulatory, T-Mobile

Michael Palmer, headshotMichael Palmer is a Senior Manager at T-Mobile, who focuses on accessibility and regulatory compliance for company programs, products and services. Having worked in the wireless industry for over 20 years, Michael has developed an expertise in analyzing new technologies for the purpose of ensuring regulatory compliance in key areas.

Michael now supports T-Mobile’s Accessibility Programs, partnering with manufacturers to include accessibility features and ensure customers have access to the latest technologies. Michael also supports the development of informational tools related to the company’s Accessibility Programs and has been an active participant in T-Mobile’s consumer outreach efforts. In addition to these responsibilities, Michael is involved in the T-Mobile Disability and Inclusion Council and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the D&I Council’s Access for Disability Networks.

A graduate of the University of Washington, Michael resides in Bellevue, Washington with his family.

Debra Ruh
CEO of Ruh Global Communications

Debra Ruh, headshotDebra was in the banking industry for over 25 years.  She became an entrepreneur in 2001 because of her unshakable faith in the power of human potential and her love for her daughter Sara, born with Down syndrome.  She created TecAccess, an I.C.T. accessibility firm where the majority of employees had disabilities.

Convinced that “the real disability is being unable to see human potential,” she went on to create Ruh Global Communications in 2013 after merging TecAccess (by then a multi-million-dollar firm) with SSB Bart Group in 2011. Ruh Global Communications is a marketing and strategy firm that focuses on global disability inclusion and digital marketing, among other things.

Debra is also the Co-Founder of AXSChat, a Twitter chat about accessibility and disability inclusion and the number one TweetChat in the world, with over a billion tweets.

She is a global market influencer on social media. Her social media handle is @debraruh with over 300,000+ followers on all mediums.  She was named “Top 5% of Social Media Influencers” and “Top 0.1% of people talking about Disability Inclusion and Accessibility” by KLOUT.

She is also a blogger for The Huffington Post, the host of the “Human Potential at Work” Podcast on iTunes, and the author of two books, Uncovering Hidden Human Capital and Finding Your Voice by Using Social Media.

Rachel Wolkowitz
Attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Rachel Wolkowitz, headshotRachel is an attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP in D.C. Her practice spans a variety of policy, regulatory, and compliance matters for communications and technology companies. She has experience representing clients in rule-making, waiver, and enforcement proceedings before several federal agencies including the FCC, NTIA, FTC, FAA, DoD, DOE, and GSA. She advises media companies, carriers, and manufacturers on FCC regulations including accessibility, hearing aid compatibility, equipment authorization, and marketing requirements. Rachel was a recent panelist at a Federal Communications Bar Association Continuing Legal Education event on video accessibility. She also assists clients incorporate unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) into their operations and works with WBK’s trademark team to clear trademarks and prosecute trademark applications.

Frances West
IT Executive
Frances West, headshotFrances is an IT executive well known globally for her work in accessibility, emerging market, and industry solutions. She was IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer and worked to establish IT accessibility standards, shape government policies, and develop human-centric technology and solutions. Frances also held numerous executive management positions in her 30+ years with IBM.

Frances is a sought-after authority on the topic of global ICT accessibility. She has been invited to testify in front of the U.S. Senate on the need to pass the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and has delivered keynote remarks at events hosted by the UN’s Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technologies.

A leader in engaging government and private sectors in accessibility technology solutions and discussions, Frances initiated the Accessible Financial Services Forum in the U.S., France, and China so that business practices and technology innovation can be shared. She has received numerous awards, including the first John D. Kemp Award by the US Business Leadership Network.

Born in Taiwan, Frances attended the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Washington Lee University in Virginia and graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Kentucky. In 2011, she received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She currently resides in Newton, Massachusetts.

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