Meet Our Board


Carol J. Bradley, J.D., Chair
Disability Compliance Officer, 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 Program Lead, Microsoft
Heather Dowdy, headshot
Heather is the Accessibility Program Lead within the Enterprise IT division at Microsoft. She drives the E2E Web Accessibility strategy, working with engineering teams and SaaS providers to deliver accessible user experiences benefiting all employees. Heather gets excited about using technology and the design thinking process to create solutions that improve usability for everyone – especially people with disabilities (PwDs).

Prior to joining Microsoft, Heather spent ten years as the Accessibility Lead for mobile devices and apps at Motorola Mobility. As a founding member of Project North Star for the Motorola Mobility Foundation, she developed citywide programs to increase access to technology for PwDs and STEM education for minorities including students with disabilities. Heather also served as Chair of the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) project and website collaborating with users, manufacturers, and governments around the world.

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, Deaf culture and financial literacy. 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.


Tali Bray
Chief Information Officer for IT for IT, Wells Fargo
Tali Bray, headshotTali is Wells Fargo’s Chief Information Officer for IT for IT. She joined the stagecoach twelve years ago and has served in a number of technology leadership capacities across Innovation, Enterprise Contact Centers, Small Business Payroll, Enterprise Database Management, and Risk Management. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Tali held Technology and Product Management leadership roles for multiple Bay Area startups.

Tali has a bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University and studied classical vocal performance at the New England Conservatory. Prior to joining WID’s board, she served as President of the Board of Directors for the Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley and served on the Board of Directors for the Randall Museum in San Francisco. Tali is an avid reader and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, cats and dog, and a bearded dragon named Rey.

Claire Forrest
Public Relations Coordinator, MacPhail Center for Music
Claire Forrest, headshot
Claire is the Public Relations Coordinator for MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. She has a variety of experience working in public relations and freelance writing for arts organizations and marketing companies throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

She holds a B.A. in English from Grinnell College and is an MFA candidate in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. She is the Community Liaison to the Disability Advisory Council at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. The Council works to make the theatre’s programming more accessible to the disability community and advocates for more inclusion of people with disabilities on the stage. She has previously served as an alumni member of Grinnell College’s Accessibility Committee, where she assisted in the creation of admissions materials catered to prospective students with disabilities.

When not working or writing, Claire enjoys swimming and spending time with family and friends.

Kevin Foster
Human Resources Professional
Kevin Foster, headshot
Kevin was previously 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 from 2006-2017, he focused on program and project management of large scale global projects, including mergers and acquisitions, as well as diversity leadership.

Before that, 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.

Darlene Hemerka
Equal Justice Works Fellow, the Public Interest Law Center
Darlene Hemerka, headshotDarlene is an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Darlene’s fellowship is sponsored by Greenberg Traurig. As a fellow, Darlene works to improve secondary transition services for students with disabilities ages fourteen to twenty-one in the Philadelphia region.

While Darlene was born with Cerebral Palsy and has used a mobility device to ambulate her entire life, she did not become a disability advocate until college. In college, Darlene founded and served as the President of a student organization called the Coalition for Disability Awareness (CFDA). The mission of the organization was to increase disability awareness throughout the campus community and make the campus more accessible.

Darlene had several internships focused on disability rights during law school. After her first year, Darlene interned at WID where she worked on multiple projects, including a paper on emergency preparedness and persons with disabilities. The paper served as the basis for a presentation Darlene gave at the 3rd Annual Central Pennsylvania Public Health Day Symposium in 2016. Darlene also interned at the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

In her free time, Darlene enjoys reading and spending time with her niece.

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
Human Resources Professional
Julie McCarthy, headshot
Julie previously served 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 remained until 2017.

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.

Neil Milliken
Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion, Atos
Neil Milliken, headshot
Neil is Head of Accessibility & Inclusion at Atos where his role is to help make the world a better place by delivering better technology for Atos’s customers and staff, embedding inclusive practice into the Business As Usual Processes of organizations with thousands of employees and turnovers numbering in billions.

He created the Atos Centre of Competence encompassing Accessibility, Inclusive Design and Assistive Technology Services. This team services multiple accounts and delivers best practice, support, and consultancy for the organization.

Neil delivers strategy and services working with a wide range of clients internally and externally helping them to develop policies, processes, and technology solutions to meet the needs of their staff and customers. These clients include: BBC, Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Insolvency Service, and NHS.

He is the Atos representative on the Business Disability Forum Technology Task Force. Neil is also an invited expert and contributor to the W3C Cognitive Accessibility Taskforce and member of the Atos Scientific Community. He is the Co-Founder of AXSChat, Europe’s largest twitter chat with a focus on Accessibility & Inclusion.

Previously, he worked at Iansyst, one of the largest providers of Integrated Assistive Technology Solutions in the UK.

Ari Ne’eman
Chief Executive Officer,
Ari Ne'eman, headshotAri is the Chief Executive Officer of, an online platform designed to empower seniors and people with disabilities to self-direct their own services. Ari also is the co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and served as its President from 2006 to 2016. 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 was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and served until 2015, during which time he chaired the Council’s Committee on Entitlements Policy. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Ari also served as an adviser to the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup convened by the American Psychiatric Association. Ari is a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the World Institute on Disability. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010.

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

Brian Scarpelli
Senior Policy Counsel, ACT | The App Association
Brian Scarpelli, headshotBrian is a Senior Policy Counsel at ACT | The App Association, where he works on a diversity of legal and policy issues impacting mobile app development companies, including disability access, intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets), privacy, cybersecurity, and connected health. He often speaks publicly at conferences and in the media on challenges and opportunities to the small business app developer community.

Previous to joining ACT, Brian worked for over five years at the Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade association representing telecommunications equipment manufacturers and vendors that is also an American National Standards Institute-accredited standards developer. He has also spent time with the Federal Communications Commission, the District of Columbia Public Service Commission, and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions.

Brian lives in Silver Spring, MD with his wife Rebecca, son Daniel, and dog Zeke.

Rachel Wolkowitz
Attorney, 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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