Wednesday, October 20, 2021

9:00 - 9:45am MT

Keynote - Driving to New Heights in the Movement

In 2000, Sam Schmidt, Co-Owner, ARROW McLaren SP, IndyCar Racing Team, was in an IndyCar accident that left him a quadriplegic. Since then, Sam has continued to be an international leader in managing a successful racing team and has become known as an innovator, visionary, and motivational speaker encouraging people with disabilities to continue pursuing their sport passion post-injury. As LABS aims to shift the energy, narrative, and trajectory of the disabled sport industry, Sam will share his insight on how technology advances, curiosity, and vision can push conversations forward and elevate sport opportunities for the disabled.


Sam Schmidt, Co-Owner, ARROW McLaren SP, was in an IndyCar accident in 2000 that left him a quadriplegic. Since then, Sam has continued to be an international leader in managing a successful racing team and has become known as an innovator, visionary, and motivational speaker encouraging people with disabilities to continue pursuing their sport passion post-injury. In 2012, Sam became an investor and board member of the Braun Corporation, the industry leader in providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles and mobility devices to the disabled community.

Shortly after his accident, Sam and a few close friends founded the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, which was rebranded Conquer Paralysis Now in 2015. Through the years, the Foundation has funded research on a global level, provided grants to organizations benefitting the disabled, and continues its nationally acclaimed Day at the Races program providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities. A major focus of the program is encouraging people to find their passion and continue to live their dreams … just as Sam has done.

Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) has embarked on a major initiative to spark collaboration among researchers on an international level from various scientific fields to find cures and treatments for paralysis. In December 2018, the DRIVEN Neuro Recovery Center opened in downtown Las Vegas as a program of CPN. The facility provides activity-based therapy, an open gym, and many programs for anyone with a neurological disorder.

In 2021, he topped 200 mph and competed in the Optima Ultimate Streetcar Challenge against nondisabled competitors using a car designed by Arrow Electronics, appropriately named the SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) car. He’s completed the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and driven in Manhattan using this technology. Sam has received numerous awards for his work in the disabled and racing communities including the Visionary Leadership Award from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

10:00 - 10:45am MT

Just Do It! Activating on Inclusion

Sponsored by Sports Richmond, VA

Disability continues to be left out of conversations related to diversity and inclusion in sport – both in the inclusion of athletes and creating inclusive events. We all know the importance and value of inclusion – find out how top organizations and leaders aren’t just talking about inclusion, but are taking action and creating inclusive events and opportunities. Attendees will come away with an understanding of inclusion strategies, implementation, value, and influence.


Dorian Kail is the Professional Athletes Lead for the New York Road Runners. She has been at NYRR for the past 8 years, fully integrating professional wheelchair athletes into a well-established professional athlete operation for NYRR. Along the way, Dorian has built excellent relationships with world-class para athletes and their representatives. She continues to collaborate with her counterparts at the other World Marathon Majors for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series. Dorian also developed the Rising New York Road Runners Wheelchair Training Program, providing kids with physical disabilities the chance to run alongside their peers.    

Joel Rosinbum was a collegiate rower for the University of Portland. After college, he decided to ski in order to keep up his fitness. Joel was involved in a skiing accident that paralyzed his right arm. After his accident, he took up triathlon and quickly progressed to the elite paratriathlon ranks. Joel currently serves as the Board President of USA Triathlon. Rosinbum is the first Paratriathlete in USA Triathlon’s history to be elected to the position. He also serves on the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC). 

Daniel Gale is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Adaptive Action Sports. He is also a Sports Organizer for ESPN Summer X Games, a Sport Organizer for Dew Tour and the Adaptive Rep on the USASA Executive Board of Directors. Additionally, he sits on a sub-committee to USA Skateboarding tasked with bringing skateboarding to the Paralympic Games and a Sub-Committee with Logitech that has recently created, the first of its kind, Adaptive E-Sports League. He is a competitive snowboarder himself, avid skateboarder, surfer and all around board sports enthusiast. It was his partner, Amy Purdy’s struggle to achieve her action sports goals despite her “dis”ability that inspired them to create Adaptive Action Sports.  

11:00 - 11:45am MT

Innovation = Inclusion

Innovation for those in the disabled community leads to the creation of a more inclusive society for all. Meet a few disabled sport innovators who are creating more opportunities and access for all through cutting-edge equipment, apparel, and mobility devices.


Sarah Klecker is the daughter of an Olympian and an American record holder. Her passion for creative problem solving and working with athletes brought Sarah halfway across the U.S from Minneapolis to Portland, OR to pursue a graduate degree in Sports Product Design from University of Oregon. Her design career includes a position with Target Co., working on several of their internal apparel brands. She brought her competitive drive with her to Portland and continues to train, compete, and improve as a runner with the Bowerman Track Club Elite. Her focus on design and athletic excellence keeps her inspired to serve the athletes she designs for in the best way possible. Sarah’s master’s thesis, The Velox Project, focused on the design and creation of the first collection of racing uniforms and weatherproof apparel crafted to the specifications of elite women’s wheelchair racing athletes. She was lucky enough to work with several Paralympic athletes throughout the course of the project. Currently, she’s working with Nike on their Catalyst Apparel team.

Mike Schultz, known in the racing community as “Monster” Mike, has transformed the world of adaptive action sports. In 2008, Mike suffered a knee injury during a snowmobile competition resulting in the amputation of his left leg above-the-knee. Shortly after his accident, Mike was back doing what he loved, but the prosthetic he was using wasn’t cutting it for the competitive and rigorous sports he had enjoyed prior to his accident. Mike engineered a durable and versatile mechanical knee. Within seven months, Mike was again competing on the national stage at the ESPN X-Games, receiving a silver medal in Adaptive Motocross. Ten years and eight X-Games gold medals later, Mike made a name for himself in the sports of Motocross, Snocross, Snowboard and Snow Bike. Mike added one of his biggest accomplishments to his list of honors and brought home gold and silver medals in ParaSnowboarding from the PyeongChang Paralympic Games. He was selected by Team USA athletes to be the flag-bearer for the 2018 Paralympic Opening Ceremony and won an ESPY Award for “Best Male Athlete with a Disability.”

Patricia Wall is a Senior Engineer at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) in Costa Mesa, CA.  Through her 20 year motorsports career she has gained considerable experience in aerodynamics, data acquisition, engine data systems and race car engineering in both IndyCar and the NASCAR Cup Series.  On weekends she and her family commute from Southern California up to Mammoth Lakes where she trains and competes with the Mammoth Mountain Masters Alpine Ski Racing Team.  For the past two years Patricia has combined her motorsports engineering background with her ski racing hobby to help a diverse team of fellow TRD engineers and technicians develop a new mono ski available for use by U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing in the upcoming Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

12:00 - 12:45pm MT

Elevating the Whole Athlete

Sponsored by Lakeshore Foundation

Hear from a diverse panel of Paralympians from the 2021 Tokyo Games. Learn what their experience has been over the past year-and-a-half with training and competing during a global pandemic, and how adapted sport leaders can support disabled athletes in balancing both the physical and mental health in training and competition.


Chuck Aoki has used a wheelchair for most of his life due to a genetic condition called hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies type II, resulting in him not having feeling in his body below the knees and elbows. He was influenced by the 2005 film “Murderball” after playing wheelchair basketball for 11 years. Aoki made his international debut in 2009 and was named to the US Quad Rugby Association’s Athlete of the Year in 2011. He is a two-time Paralympic medalist (2012 London – bronze and 2016 Rio – silver). Chuck was featured on the cover of the July 15th issue of Sports Illustrated, Paralympics Issue in the lead up to the Tokyo 2021 Games.

Femita Ayanbeku grew up playing basketball and lost her right leg below the knee after a car accident when she was 11 years old. She is President and Founder of the nonprofit organization Limb-it-less Creations Inc., dedicated to creating awareness and providing support to the amputee community. She was introduced to the Paralympic movement in 2015 through U.S. teammate Jerome Singleton, who she trains with at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. Not long after, she made the Rio Paralympic team.

John is a math and physics teacher at the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest in Wixom, Michigan. He teaches high school juniors and seniors from several different school districts in Southwest Oakland County. He is legally blind due to a degenerative hereditary eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics in 2009 from Western Michigan University. John’s eight year-old son, George, is in third grade and John’s wife, Jessica, is a teacher of children who are blind or visually impaired. John is a Paralympic silver medalist in the sport of goalball. He has worked in many mentoring roles for young people who are blind or visually impaired as well as their parents and teachers.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

9:00 - 9:45am MT

Keynote – Elevating the Business Case for Adapted Sport

Sponsored by Lakeshore Foundation

Currently one of the most well-known and powerful voices for disability inclusion, Caroline Casey is bold in her approach to establish disability as a central responsibility on every business and corporate agenda. Caroline will integrate her thoughts on disability inclusion as business and sport intersect. 


Caroline Casey is an award-winning social entrepreneur. Committed to building a global movement on inclusive business for the 1.3 billion people in the world with a disability, over the past two decades she has set up several organizations and initiatives centered on disability business inclusion. Caroline is also a TED speaker, Ashoka Fellow, Eisenhower Fellow, a past advisor for the Clinton Global Initiative, a One Young World Counsellor, and is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

10:00 - 10:45am MT

The Movement’s Value Proposition

A number of leading global businesses are investing in the adapted sport movement. What is it about the disability sport industry that’s catching their attention today? How are these valuable partnerships mutually beneficial for the movement and their respective businesses? Learn how their influence can positively impact grassroots adapted sport programs across the country and help elevate the movement to new heights.


Dedra DeLilli joined Toyota in 2017, shortly after Toyota joined the TOP (The Olympic Partner) program. She led the Olympic and Paralympic partnership for marketing strategy, creative development, and execution of work across all marketing channels. She was also responsible for managing and activating their Team USA, 17 National Governing Body, and Team Toyota athlete partnerships.

In 2021, Dedra’s role expanded as Toyota moved to a more centralized sponsorship structure. In addition to the Olympics/Paralympics, Dedra’s team is responsible for developing strategy, producing content, managing athletes and events, and executing all aspects of Toyota’s sponsorship portfolio across several verticals: sports, culinary, music, lifestyle, and more. She also oversees the Auto Shows Team, responsible for leading multiple marquee consumer and dealer-facing events.

She and her husband, Rob reside in Frisco, TX but she remains a hopeless Giants, Yankees, and (NY) Rangers fan.

Ryan Neiswender won gold at the Tokyo Paralympic Games as a member of the Team USA’s wheelchair basketball team. He is also a corporate keynote speaker, and business leader at Visa. Originally from Pennsylvania, he was born with a disability called Arthrogryposis which affected the development of my quadricep muscles in his legs. In 2005, he was introduced to the game of wheelchair basketball and as a senior in high school was named to Team USA. He committed to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to play Division I wheelchair basketball where he was a 4-Time All-American and also met his wife, Lauren. He was a part of the Olympian and Paralympian Business Development Program at Visa and is now a Manager on the Strategy and Operations team within Global Risk.  

Kate manages Visa’s global Olympic and Paralympic partnerships, including the company’s Team Visa athlete program.  A veteran of nine Olympic and Paralympic Games, Kate has worked across the global sports industry in brand, agency and property roles for more than 20 years. Prior to Visa, Kate spent 12 years in Edelman’s sports & entertainment practice in New York, London and San Francisco. She was the first women appointed head of marketing and communications for the ATP World Tour, and began her career in communications for the Boston Red Sox.  Kate loves travel, languages and enjoying the beautiful Northern California outdoors with her husband and two young children.  Favorite Olympic moment: attending the Opening Ceremony at Salt Lake 2002, just five months after September 11; Favorite Paralympic moment – watching Para swimming live for the first time in the iconic Water Cube at Beijing 2008.

Ian Cropp works on Citi’s Global Sponsorship Team, managing the International Paralympic Committee Partnership. As head of this partnership at Citi, Ian’s role is to lead all Paralympic initiatives across Citi, which also include relationships with 23 National Paralympic Committees and more than 50 Team Citi athletes. Ian also works closely with the global Disability Affinity groups at Citi. Prior to when he joined Citi in 2018, Ian worked for several sports marketing consulting agencies, developing campaigns for the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Earlier in his career, Ian worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Vail, Colorado where he covered outdoors and sports. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Ian resides in Queens, NY with his wife, two dogs and cat.

An accomplished athlete, Anruné is a South African sprinter, a 4x Paralympic medalist and world record holder. She was on top of the podium, winning gold at the Tokyo Paralympics in the 400m. At her first Paralympic Games in London, she won silver and bronze along with another silver medal at the Rio Paralympics. In 2019, she was named the 2019 South African Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability. She was named 2018 Sportswoman of the Year with Disability at the South Africa Sports Awards.

11:00 - 11:45am MT

Adapted Sport as a Springboard to Professional Success

Adapted sport is often an unexpected springboard into new educational and career opportunities for athletes. How can the adapted sport industry and employers collaborate to stimulate more professional opportunities for athletes with disabilities? Learn how to develop the disabled athlete beyond the court, pool, or field, and help them build their professional toolbox for success.


Kari Miller Ortiz is a former US Army Sergeant. Miller lost both her legs when her car was hit by a drunk driver while she was on leave from military duty in 1999. She discovered sitting volleyball after playing other wheelchair-based sports including her favorite, wheelchair basketball. Through dedicated training and coaching, she made the US Paralympic Team. In 2008, she participated at the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled where she won a bronze medal, and the same year won a silver medal for her participation at 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.

During this time, Kari began working for the US Paralympic Military program and was responsible for setting up the program for newly injured service members at Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval, and Ft. Belvoir facilities. In 2009, Miller was honored as Paralympian of the Year. In 2010, she won a silver medal at the Parapan American Championship. In 2011 and 2012 respectively, she won three gold medals at ECVD Continental Cup, Parapan American Zonal Championship, and Volleyball Masters. She also got a 4th silver medal for her participation at 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and ultimately, a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

Throughout her Paralympic career, Kari has worked with multiple services to create adaptive programing and events. Kari also created and ran the US Air Force Wounded Ill and Injured Program. Kari currently works as the Manager of Outreach for veterans and People of Color at Maximus.

Kristy is the Global Leader of EY’s Athlete Programs. Through the development of these strategic Talent initiatives, Kristy has driven the dialogue within business and the global athlete community through advancing thought leadership, promoting athlete dialogue and supporting the transition of athletes into a successful life after sport. Previously working in her native Australia, the UK, Canada and now the US, Kristy has over 15 years of experience developing industry leading Talent diversity programs, human resources and people-centric transformation consulting. She was also a key team member managing EY’s sponsorship of the Rio 2016 Olympics and is dedicated to forging connections between the sporting world and the people and communities it unites.

Diana Codispoti serves as the Director of Corporate Stakeholder Engagement at Disability:IN and is responsible for managing various relationships with key stakeholders. Diana has worked in the advertising, marketing, and design industry for 15 years. She started her career as an assistant in television ad sales. She spent eight years working with various internal and external clients on identifying which cable television programs and/or other means of advertising were best suited for a client’s target demographic and spent seven years working in the architecture industry.  Diana is extremely passionate about being an advocate for disability inclusion in the workplace and in athletics. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, public speaking, racing, and traveling.

12:00 - 12:45pm MT

Elevating the Narrative – Sustaining Critical Conversations and Progress

We’ve covered a lot of critical topics during LABS 2021 with a focus on elevating the movement. How do we continue the momentum around these important conversations? As industry professionals, we can develop strategies to sustain important dialogue that not only sustains but elevates the narrative surrounding the disabled sport industry.


Karin Korb, MS is a prominent expert on the intersection of disability and public health. Her consultancy provides an array of services with community-based organizations including public and private sector facilitations. Providing knowledge translation, stakeholder and strategic partnership convenings and community engagement while also implementing customized staff trainings, management coaching, leadership development, policy analysis, with the specific elevation and commitment to centering the lived experience and personal narratives of disabled individuals are just a few examples of what makes Ms. Korb a distinguished thought leader in the public health sector. She is deeply committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities at every level of life as she previously served as the Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for Lakeshore Foundation, an organization devoted to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live a healthy lifestyle through activity, research, advocacy and health promotion. In 2021, she received a Congressional appointment to serve on the Commission on the State of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC Commission). The USOPC Commission is charged with reviewing recent USOPC reforms highlighting some of the many issues that plague sports, from unequal pay and treatment to sexual abuse. She pridefully identifies as a disabled woman who is a full-time wheelchair user. She has many professional sport accolades and is a two-time member of the USA Paralympic team in the sport of wheelchair tennis.

April Holmes has redefined what it means to be disabled. April was involved in a train accident in 20021 that resulted in the amputation of her left leg below the knee. While in the hospital, she learned about the Paralympic Games from a doctor. A year following her accident, April’s track and field began. April is proud to have worn the Team USA uniform at every major championships from 2002-2016. She has created several undefeated seasons, broke multiple World and American records in the 100, 200, 400 meters and the long jump. To add to her athletic accomplishments, she’s won three Paralympic medals (1 Gold, 2 Bronze) and five World Championship medals. She was named, “Top 10 Women in Paralympic Sport” by the IPC. She assisted First Lady Michelle Obama on the “Let’s Move” Campaign and spoke at the United Nations Sport and Social Impact Summit. April currently is the Co-Founder and CEO of a recent start-up, HeroHangout and is a board member for the U.S. Center for SafeSport.