© 2015 by The Alabama disABILITY Conference.

Last updated:  August 11, 2016

Keynote Speakers

Liz Weintraub

Liz Weintraub has a long history of leadership in self advocacy, and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations. She is a full time member of the policy team at AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities) and also the host of Tuesdays With Liz: Disability Policy For All, a podcast where she attempts to make polices in accessible language so policy is accessible to all.

In the Spring of 2018, Liz served as a Fellow for Senator Casey of Pennsylvania, working in his DC Office where she helped lead the way on disability policy by helping the Senator hold the administration accountable for disability stakeholder input into key programs; calling attention to the need for accessible supports and services for students and employees with disabilities on college campuses who have been sexually assaulted, which resulted in a S.2530; and helped organize a first of its kind Pennsylvania Disability Employment Summit with over 250 participants. Said Senator Casey, "Liz has shown the Senate how important it is to have staff members who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. She's helped reshape the culture of the Senate."

Prior to coming to AUCD, Liz worked for the Council on Quality & Leadership (CQL), a national nonprofit that supports excellence in the provision of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Liz recently completed a nine-month interdisciplinary leadership training program at Georgia State University and also recently completed a four-month fellowship with Senator Casey of Pennsylvania on his Aging Committee staff, where she was part of his disability policy staff and worked with the Senate diversity office to promote more professional opportunities for people with intellectual and other types of disabilities on the Hill.

In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Liz to serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues affecting the intellectual disability community. Liz is also a past chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Liz also recently received the Dr. Cathy Pratt Award from the Autism Society of America which recognizes the Professional of the Year.

In the fall of 2018, Liz told the story of her personal experience as a woman with disabilities as she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the potential implications of a Kavanaugh confirmation to the civil rights of people with disabilities. Read her submitted written testimony and watch her oral testimony on AUCD's website.

John Mascia

On January 1, 2013, John Mascia became the 17th president of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), the nation's most comprehensive education and service program for children, adults, and seniors with hearing and vision loss. Established in 1858, AIDB annually serves more than 20,000 individuals through five campus programs in Talladega and eight regional centers located throughout Alabama.

Dr. Mascia received his Doctorate in Audiology in 2004 from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He holds a Masters Degree in Audiology from Hofstra University, and he received his B.A. degree in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Hofstra University in 1983.

He began his professional career in 1985 as a consulting audiologist with Great Neck Audiology Associates in Great Neck, NY. He then served as supervising audiologist and senior audiologist with Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center from 1986 to 1989. At that time, he began work with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults as an audiologist. He served in various positions at the HKNC, including audiologist, supervisor of speech and hearing departments, coordinator of professional services, and national director of field services.

In January 2005, Dr. Mascia came to AIDB as executive director, Gentry Facility and Regional Centers. In 2009, he was named vice president, adult services at AIDB and served in that position until being appointed president. He is a member and past president of Lions Club international, and he serves on the Boards of numerous civic, charitable, and educational organizations.

Nicole Jorwic

Nicole Jorwic is the senior director of public policy at The Arc, a national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Prior to joining The Arc policy team, Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor for the state of Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices in serving individuals with disabilities. 

Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities, with a focus on transition-aged youth. Nicole received her JD and Child and Family Law Certificate, from Loyola University Chicago. She received her BS from the University of Illinois. Nicole is also a sibling; her brother Chris is 30 and has autism. 

Tate Hall Fall

The Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) is part of the nation's federally-funded protection and advocacy (P&A) system. ADAP provides legal services to Alabamians with disabilities to protect, promote and expand their rights. ADAP is part of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). Since joining ADAP, Tate has taken her role very seriously and come to be known as a go-to person regarding voting issues. And with good reason- issues like voting and engagement in census engagement has become more critical now due to disability rights and Medicaid potentially being under attack at any given moment.

 

A proud Auburn alum, Tate earned a bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, a master's degree in Public Administration, and a Graduate Certificate in Election Administration from the university. Her graduate research focused on voting rights and access to poll sites for people with disabilities. Tate is excited to work with fellow ADAP team members and statewide advocacy groups to educate Alabamians with disabilities about their voting rights and the importance of voting. (Did you know that if people with disabilities had voted at the same rate as people without disabilities in the 2016 presidential election, there would have been about 2.2 million more voters?) 

Diane Stewart

Diane is an Enable Outreach Specialist with First National Bank of Omaha. In that role, she collaborates and consults with program and division management to research, develop and implement comprehensive training and sales plans for investment products. She ensures outreach efforts align with prospective customers and internal objectives/goals. She also trains prospective customers and key influencers within targeted markets.
• Facilitates product training to diverse audiences ranging from personalized presentations to remote or online-based forums.
• Provides follow-up support to prospective and current customers by responding to questions and resolving concerns. Summarizes feedback for program management.
• Participates in community outreach and networking events in order to promote product while managing relationships with partners and influencers

Diane has over 30 years of banking experience and decades of serving in leadership roles with local non-profits such as United Cerebral Palsy and Quality Living,Inc.

Tametria Conner Dantzler

As an accomplished journalist and award-winning, former TV news anchor and investigative reporter. Tametria is an advocate for children with autism and other disABILITIES. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 5-year-old son with autism.

 

Tametria has been a constant and viable voice with her advocacy reporting. It is no surprise she is now using her voice and resources to reach an underserved population. She recently founded D.A.T.S. M.O.M.- “Disability as an Ability Toward Success, Moms on the Move”. Within a few months of launching this organization, Tametria has united hundreds of parents and professionals alike as she oversees provision of free educational workshops, extensive IEP trainings, and personal development seminars. This enables others to develop the tools needed to positively reframe beliefs about disABILITIES, challenge old stereotypes, and ignite societal change here in Alabama. D.A.T.S. M.O.M. is a spin-off of her high-demand workshop session “Disability as an Ability Toward Success: Understanding the Diagnosis and Journey” sometimes given in standing-room only format due to its wildly popular success. 

 

Tamertia has served as the Parent Representative for the Alabama Early Intervention Interagency Coordinating Council. In May of 2018, Alabama Governor Kay appointed her to serve on the Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council. The Dantzler family earned the 2017 Family Guidance Center of Alabama Family of the Year Award. Tamertia has earned several national, state and local awards for her advocacy journalism and community service over the last decade. 

 

Tametria will be our closing keynote speaker on Wednesday, September 11th. Come here her powerful presentation. 

Shannon Ammons

Shannon began her relationship with the Alabama Association of Nonprofits in 2009 as a consultant with Blackfish Strategies, specializing in organizational health and strategy and joined AAN as the CEO in August of 2014. The Association is a statewide membership based organization that serves the ever changing needs of the nonprofit sector in Alabama.

Shannon has provided technical assistance and consulting to Girl Scouts, Meals on Wheels, Greater Birmingham Humane Society, TEARS – Temporary Emergency Animal Relief, MENSA, Optimist, Ruritan, Civitan International, Hand in Paw, Leadership Georgetown, Kiwanis, Rotary, the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, Alabama Association of Nonprofits, and Leadership Montgomery, The Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, Senior Action, Upstate Homeless Coalition of South Carolina and The Community Foundation of South Alabama to name a few.


Her clients have experienced improved governance and program outcomes, growth in funds raised in special events, and significant improvements in volunteer recruitment and retention. Shannon has facilitated numerous trainings to nonprofit audiences throughout the country. She has assisted with curriculum development and programmatic measurements for more than 100 nonprofit organizations.

Don’t miss Shannon give a special Legislative Advocacy Boot Camp on Wednesday, September 11th. Wednesday attendees will be given a legislative advocacy guide to take home and study so that we can ramp up our united advocacy efforts come legislative session 2020.