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.
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.
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.
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.
Kristy Ingram is currently an EY Global Lead with Athlete Programs and the Women Athletes Business Network. Drawing from global experience across multiple industries and a background as a competitive athlete, Kristy is inspired to bring her unique skillsets to the business world. With 15+ years of experience in HR and consulting, and previously working in Australia, the UK and Canada, Kristy has delivered on large-scale client transformation needs including talent management, operating model design, strategic change management and stakeholder engagement across a range of global industry groups. Kristy also supported the management of EY’s sponsorship of the Rio 2016 Olympics, including the development of the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN).
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.
Jonathan Kaufman is an innovative thought leader, business educator, and strategist. Born with cerebral palsy, Jonathan’s disability has been a profound part of his personal, academic, and professional life. Jonathan’s consulting business, J Kaufman Consulting is built upon his diverse educational background having attended Sarah Lawrence College, Oxford University, The University of Chicago, and Columbia. As a licensed psychotherapist, executive coach, and consultant, Jonathan’s unique background has allowed him the ability to work in a variety of capacities from being a former policy advisor to the White House on diversity and disability to a technical consultant for Hollywood films to his role as lead disability strategist for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and senior strategist at The National Business and Disability Council. Jonathan is also a Forbes contributor with a regular column “Mindset Matters,” where he writes about the intersection of disability, business, innovation, and culture.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Sam Schmidt, founder and team owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, 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.
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.”