Meet some of our 2022 PDL Speakers

Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley is a program officer in the President’s Office, developing the U.S. disability rights program strategy, at the Ford Foundation. Prior to joining Ford, Rebecca was the co-founder and director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress (CAP), where she built out a progressive disability policy platform that both protected rights and services disabled people and their families depend on for survival. She was responsible for organizing a campaign that resulted in an unprecedented 12 Presidential candidates developing disability policy platforms. Prior to her work at CAP, she served as the executive director for the National Council on Disability where she worked on sexual violence on college campuses, policing reform, and the civil rights of disabled parents. A three time Presidential Appointee, Rebecca served in key policy roles at the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a successful stint at the White House where she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts for the Obama Administration.

Keri Gray

Keri Gray is a cancer survivor, entrepreneur, speaker, and facilitator. She is the CEO of the Keri Gray Group, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in teaching leadership tools related to disability, race, gender, and intersectionality. She is also founder of the National Alliance of Melanin Advocates, an educational hub for managers looking to sharpen their skills through a lens of disability and racial justice. Through her various roles, Keri has recruited approximately 4,000 professionals for over 100 organizations and Fortune 500 companies. She has also designed and managed programs for over 1,000 professionals that has helped participants secure competitive employment, identify transferable skills, build an influential network, and gain notable opportunities. Keri’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People Magazine, Time Magazine, Madamenoire, PBS Newshour, and the Diet Coke campaign #Unlabeled.

Emily Ladau

Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and her first book, Demystifying Disability, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in September 2021. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is a focus on and harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.

Dr. Justin Porter

Dr. Justin Porter holds a Doctor of Education degree from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and has had a lengthy career working with at-risk populations, including students with disabilities, in a variety of school districts across the state of Texas. His leadership experience began at the campus level and then moved into supervisory roles in varied central administration positions where he worked extensively with programs to serve students in special populations, as well as general curriculum and instructional programs. Currently, Dr. Porter serves as the Associate Commissioner, Special Populations Programs and Policy at the Texas Education Agency.

Brit Miles

Brit Miles is a training associate at The Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, supporting the rights of children and adults with disabilities to participate in all aspects of society. Brit has 13+ years of experience in the field of employment supports for people with disabilities as a Program Architect, Contracted Corporate Consultant, Program Manager, and as a Direct Support Professional placing and coaching individuals in community jobs out of facility based environments. Brit facilitates training in best practices of Competitive, Integrated, Employment for Community Rehabilitation Providers, state agencies, and other stakeholders. Brit is a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) and Texas APSE’s Chapter Founding President.

Ari Ne’eman

Ari Ne’eman is a PhD Candidate in Health Policy at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and as a Visiting Scholar at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. Ari previously co-founded and served as executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the leading national advocacy organization by and for Autistic Americans. He also served as one of President Obama’s appointees to the National Council on Disability from 2010 to 2015, in which capacity he worked on a wide variety of issues, including Medicaid HCBS policy, Managed Long Term Services and Supports, parenting rights of people with disabilities and supported employment. Ari is currently working on a book on the history of American disability advocacy over the last two hundred years for Simon & Schuster.

Leigh Ann Rodgers

As an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field, Leigh Ann is a skilled coach, trainer, and meeting facilitator working with numerous Fortune Global 500 companies to help leaders cultivate cultures that are both highly productive and positive. For over two decades, Leigh Ann has cultivated a passion for people and teams. Motivated to provide solutions for the common challenges that all leaders and organizations face, she channeled her passions into creating the Better Teams Model and Assessment which includes five components, all critical for a high-performing team: Alignment, Readiness, Happiness, Leadership, and Trust. She has also founded Team Consultant Academy and Forward Membership to support the development of professionals serving leaders and teams.

Jenifer Sarver

Jenifer has more than two decades of experience in media relations, crisis communications, speechwriting, coalition building, and media and presentation skills training. Her career has spanned the corporate, nonprofit and political worlds, helping clients develop messages that will resonate with their core audiences and create strategies for effectively delivering those messages through the appropriate communications channels. In launching Sarver Strategies, Jenifer focused her skills on training and storytelling. Jenifer has extensive experience in media and presentation skills training, having conducted workshop and one-on-one trainings for a wide range of public figures including CEOs, political candidates and office holders at the state and federal levels, nonprofit leaders and foreign leaders. Jenifer regularly speaks and conducts trainings for a range of nonprofit and educational organizations.Jenifer was the Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Bush Administration. She also served as the Director of The Archer Center and was a Senior Advisor on the Washington, D.C. staff of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.