HOW TO BE A LEADER: Advocacy as the ADA Turns 30!


This is an interactive chat talking about life as a person with a disability on the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

Do you want to lead but find others are holding you back or trying to speak for you? Do you experience tension with family members? Join the Center for Family Involvement and Center for Disability Leadership on July 24th at 12:00 for a raw and real discussion. 

This is also your chance to have a LIVE discussion with peers who are leaders in the disability rights movement along with family members who support these journeys and advocate along with them. This is a chance for you to ask questions and share suggestions. 


Jack Brandt is the Disability Policy Specialist at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University. He served as a Disability Rights Advocate at the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy, a Disability Policy Consultant for Virginia, and a Virginia Governor’s Fellow at the Office of Community Integration for People with Disabilities. Jack was appointed as a member of President Barack Obama’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and was later appointed Chairman. He was elected as Co-Chair of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities’ (AUCD) Council on Leadership and Advocacy in 2016. He has received the Jackie Crews award from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, the National Advocacy Award from the Arc of the United States, the Colorado Award from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and the Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Mr. Brandt received a B.A. from James Madison University and an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Angela West
Angela West

Angela West currently resides in Chesapeake, Virginia. She earned her Bachelor’s in Therapeutic Recreation and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. She works with VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities as the Multicultural Specialist. This position enables her to serve families and professionals by leading discussions about the cultural impact on disability. She has served on boards, including the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, Virginia’s Employment First Advisory Group, and the Chesapeake Special Education Advisory Committee. Her passion for advocacy stemmed from watching her mother advocate for her rights as a first-generation immigrant. Angela served as Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2015, where she spoke to over 200 audiences throughout the state.  

Shentelle Harris is 24 years old and has Neurofibromatosis type 1. She works at a Center for Independent Living (CIL) “Access Independence in Winchester, Virginia. Shentelle is majoring in Communication Specialization and is an accomplished advocate and speaker. 

Nickie Brandenburger is married to Mark and is a mother to two children; Thomas and Leah. Thomas participated in Early Intervention services when he was a toddler and receives ongoing support for Sensory Integration Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression. Originally educated as a special education teacher, Nickie began working in Support Coordination in the early 1990s at the onset of Virginia’s participation in the Home and Community Based ID Waiver. She has had the opportunity to work in South Carolina’s Developmental Disability service system and spent 17 years at Chesterfield Community Services Board helping families of adults and children with Intellectual Disabilities. She is the Director for the Family to Family Network.

Flip Grey is the mother of two amazing daughters. Flip became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of Ciara who, by the age of two, was diagnosed with developmental delays. She began to learn to navigate life after diagnosis as Ciara was identified as having Autism, ADHD, intellectual disability, anxiety, and epilepsy. Like many other families, Flip’s journey to obtain a diagnosis and then navigate policy and services has been difficult. As a result, Flip obtained a Masters’ in Social Work from VCU in 2018. She has served her community, volunteered for the Tidewater Autism Society, Individual and Family Support Program councils, and Virginia Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental Disabilities (LEND) program, advocated at the Virginia’s General Assembly, interned at the Chesapeake Community Services Board and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. She now serves as Co-Director for the Center for Family Involvement.


Erin Croyle is a journalist who has worked for National Geographic and Al Jazeera English. She was working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when her first child, Arlo, was born in 2010. His diagnosis of Down syndrome changed her life. She immediately immersed herself in disability rights advocacy and began using her journalism skills to help the world understand that people with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. She lived in Northern Virginia for many years aside from her stint overseas. She currently resides in Ithaca, New York with her 3 children, husband, and dog.

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