Who We Are

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Nearly 1 in 4 Americans has a disability, yet individuals with disabilities are vastly underrepresented in professional and civic leadership roles.

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership has a bold strategy and groundbreaking programs—the first of their kind in the nation—for bringing greater disability inclusion to tables of power and influence in the Chicago region.

What We Do

    ADA 25 Advancing Leadership is creating a Chicago region where people with disabilities:

    Four concentric circles within a web of interconnected lines. The circles are embedded within each other to indicate the expanded network that a person participating in the program could have access to. The smallest innermost circle says Leadership Institute followed by Members Network followed by Civic Connections Project. The largest outermost circle says Diverse Leadership of the Chicago Region indicating the overall goal of the program.
  • LEAD - Our Civic Connections Project increases the number of people with disabilities in professional and civic leadership positions.

  • CONNECT - Our Members Network: provides mentoring, support, and ongoing civic engagement opportunities for leaders with disabilities.

  • GROW - Our Leadership Institute: is a year-long leadership development program for emerging leaders with disabilities.

144 Civic Advancements

Two rows of people featuring established disability rights leaders

113 Members and Fellows

Large group of Fellows gathered together

Vision And Mission

OUR VISION: People with disabilities leading with power and influence for full participation and equal opportunity as a vital part of the civic fabric in the Chicago region.

OUR MISSION: To increase civic engagement and diverse leadership in the Chicago region by developing and building a network of leaders with disabilities — consistent with the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Board of Directors

Officers

  • Karen Tamley* (President), Mayors Office for People with Disabilities
  • Kenton Klaus (Vice President), Deloitte and DePaul University
  • Chad Turner* (Treasurer), JPMorgan Chase

Members

  • Mary Anderson, AARP
  • Adam Burke, Microsoft
  • Mark Ishaug, Thresholds
  • Anna Lee, The Chicago Community Trust
  • Lora Laverty, CDW Corporation
  • Ann Manikas*, American Medical Association
  • Steve Solomon, Exelon

*Denotes Advancing Leadership Member

Program Committee

Co-Chairs

  • Ann Manikas*, American Medical Association Chicago
  • Karen Tamley*, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Members

  • Azeema Akram*, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Laurie Dittman, City of Chicago
  • Bob Eichinger, The Chicago Community Trust
  • Cheryl Farney*, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
  • Daisy Feidt*, Access Living
  • Joanie Friedman, University of Chicago - Office of Civic Engagement
  • Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert*, Playwright
  • Sarah Helm*, Discover Financial Services
  • Brian Heyburn*, Ph.D. Student in Disability Studies
  • Antonio Martinez, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation
  • Melissa Reishus, Seaglass Group
  • Jewel Holly Ware*, Jewels of Success

*Denotes Advancing Leadership Member

Staff

  • Emily Blum, Executive Director
  • Robin Burnett, Director, Education and Operations
  • Risa Jaz Rifkind, Director, Civic Engagement and Marketing
  • Alexandra Perez-Garcia, Associate Director, Development and Communications

Be Part of The Change!

Learn how you can help build a region where people with disabilities lead with power and influence.