Atlanta Abilities Expo Event

Abilities Expo speakers are highly credentialed experts in their spheres

For the Abilities Expo workshop series, we select presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Their accomplishments precede them and many are recognized nationally and within their state for their ongoing work with people with disabilities. All our speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.

S. Barton Cutter

Author, Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll

Kristen Hartness Bio Photo

Barton Cutter lives his life out loud, finding joy and excitement in supporting others to find the freedom to succeed. With a flair for mind-blowing humor and a tangible passion that touches all he meets, Barton offers thrilling coaching and mentorship experiences to people with disabilities, their families and organizations seeking inclusion that is sure to spur transformation, independence and full participation. Barton has transformed his circumstances of a life with Cerebral Palsy from a drive to find freedom from others' expectations to a laughing shock-wave of reality that stirs everyone and anyone to their greatest potential. A professional coach, mentor and writer, Barton challenges those he works with to rediscover their own brilliance and build rich, meaningful lives within their communities. Barton is also the author of Youth Leaders in Action, a leadership curriculum for young people with disabilities. With a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, Barton has created for himself and his family a life that speaks to his deepest values. His passion for helping others grow is evident in his writing, teaching martial arts, and life coaching, not to mention his ever-optimistic approach to life. He has written on disability-related issues for The Raleigh News & Observer, ABILITY Magazine, the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities, Persona Magazine, the NC Office on Disability & Health, and the NC Disability Action Network. Learn more at

Making the Impossible Possible: Overcoming Roadblocks, Challenges and "No's"

Megan M. Cutter

Author, Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll

Megan Cutter Bio

As a writing coach and creative expressions facilitator, Megan has a natural ability to tap into what each individual needs in order to discover different points along their journey and to allow the creative process to evolve in a way that empowers others to recognize their powerful voice, learning how to use it effectively. She brings a joy to her work that insatiable and a natural laughter that relaxes and brings a subtle and honest emphasis to the heart of one's writing or self expression, and then combines this with creativity to break through personal limitations and blocks. Allowing the creative process to unfold, Megan leads participants through a fluid and personal journey using writing, storytelling, and the visual arts. With a BA in English/Creative Journaling from Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Megan has focused her writing efforts by organizing local literary events and supporting the local writing community. Studying Aboriginal oral tradition in Alice Springs, Australia, she has distinctive ability to see many angles of the story and uses joy and laughter to honor these essential aspects of our stories. Megan has published clips in Natural Awakenings, Med Monthly, News & Observer (North Raleigh News), Circa, and Jubilation. Her writing features local community organizations, emphasizes local sustainability, and brings together different communities into common goals. Learn more at

Making the Impossible Possible: Overcoming Roadblocks, Challenges and "No's"

Monica J. Foster, CC CPSS MVBC RM

Monica Foster Bio

Professionally known as The Life Beyond Limits Coach & Inclusionista, Monica J. Foster is a vibrant amputee on wheels with spina bifida from birth. She is professionally certified coach (CC) in Life, Life Purpose and Career Coaching and a Master Certified Vision Board Coach (MVBC), working with women of all abilities, but specializing in women with disabilities, female disabled veterans and moms of children with disabilities and special needs. As Chief Motivational Officer of Butterflywheel Motivation, Advocacy & Consulting (, she not only coaches individuals and groups, she is a nationally sought after speaker and trainer around such topics as self-advocacy, healthy relationships, self-employment, and trains the community at large in disability history, sensitivity and accessibility. Her secret weapon as a coach is not only that she has personal experience as a vibrant amputee on wheels, daughter of a veteran and wife of a stroke survivor who knows and understands the available resources, but also has specific training that enables her to empower others to get around highly emotional issues and sometimes uncomfortable labels that can keep them from using community and their own internal store of resources to maximize their potential. She helps clients and groups using individualized coaching tools, vision board creation, holistic energy work and educational workshops to give their life and work possibilities shape, then shift those visions into reality. She is also an Associate Editor for The Riot Rocks! national self-advocacy e-newsletter sponsored by Human Services Research Institute (, and contributing writer to several disability-related publications such as Disabled Dealer Magazine ( and Parenting Special Needs Magazine ( Monica lives and works in North Carolina with her husband, Bryan and their rambunctious cat, Annabelle.

Love Beyond Limits: Finding Love, Healthy Relationships and Dating with a Disability

Laura George

Laura George Bio Photo

Emergency Management Disability Liaison, Georgia Emergency Management Interpreting Initiative (GEMINI)

Laura George actively works in the first responder and disability communities to encourage collaboration and emergency planning design between the them. As a program director, presenter, educator, advocate, published and writer, she works nonstop to ensure that emergency management design plans adequately cover the needs of the Disability community. To further her efforts she sits on county, state and national committees from Georgia to Washington D.C. Besides her Bachelor of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University, she has also has seven years 7/24/365 experience as caregiver requiring her to medically maintain her spouse's life and train all medical professionals regardless of level/experience who came in contact with him. Recently she completed her Community Emergency Response Team training in addition to a Basic Disaster Life Support class offered by the Georgia Healthcare Association created by the National Disaster LIfe Support Foundation. She has received awards and accolades for her uncharted and compassionate work in bringing the two communities together and an awareness of the importance of addressing the concerns of persons with disabilities in disasters. Her favorite reward is spending time with her daughter.

Disaster! Planning, Preparation and Collaboration for Emergencies

Kelly Green

Kelly Green Bio Photo

Founder, The Abilities WORKS! Project

Former music marketing executive, Kelly Green is an empowerment and personal development coach for persons with disabilities. As someone living with Multiple Sclerosis, she knows first-hand the challenges people with disabilities face wanting to have fulfilling, meaningful lives. For that reason she is passionate about empowering others with disabilities to live the highest quality of life by reclaiming independence and sense of self-worth by identifying a "new normal." Her passion to change the stigma of disability from one of unable to differently-abled, has fueled her desire to show people with disabilities how, they too, can have successful, productive careers and identify a personal brand that results in positive life opportunities. Kelly is the founder of The Abilities WORKS! Project a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship, workforce development and career advancement while also advancing societal beliefs towards persons with disabilities. She also serves on the board of MENA- Atlanta (Metropolitan Employment Networking Association) as the marketing chairperson. MENA's mission is to offer career resources and support to meet the employment needs of the disability and business communities.

Reinventing You for Employment and Beyond! Workshop: Reinventing You for Employment & Beyond!

Michelle Saunders Haney, PT, MSPT

Director, Euro-Peds

Michelle Saunders Haney Bio Photo

Haney has been the Director of Euro-P?ds National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT since 2003 as well as a Licensed Physical Therapist specializing in pediatrics. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Child Development and a Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Central Michigan University. Prior to becoming the Director of the program, Michelle worked at Euro-P?ds as a PT and the PT Manager. As Director, Michelle's aspirations include motivating insurance companies to fund this emerging therapy through demonstrated research of its success in reducing healthcare costs later in the affected child's life. Euro-P?ds is a specialized therapy center treating a nationwide base of patients who have neuromuscular disorders. Euro-P?ds opened in 1999 as the first hospital-based intensive therapy program outside of Europe. Haney's sister, who has severe mental & physical disabilities as a result of spinal meningitis as an infant, was her initial inspiration to foster a better way of teaching children with gross motor disorders new skills for greater independence.

6 Reasons to Consider Intensive Physical Therapy (PT) for Children and Young Adults with Gross Motor Disorders

Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, Canines for Disabled Kids

Kristen Hartness Bio Photo

A graduate of Franklin Pierce College, Rindge NH, Kristin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree. An accomplished public speaker, Kristin speaks nationally and internationally on the value and legality of service animals in the lives of people living with a variety of disabilities. Speaking at schools, businesses, and special conferences, Kristin has crisscrossed the United States with engagements in California, Texas, North Dakota, Georgia, Florida, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and more. Kristin splits her time between running the office, public speaking to educate people about service dogs, how they work in public, and consulting with families who are considering a dog to assist a loved one. Kristin has lived with Multiple Sclerosis since she was 16 years old. A service dog user herself, Kristin knows firsthand the independence a service dog brings to an individual and talks about the realities of using these specially trained canines. In April of 2001, she was partnered with her first assistance dog, Laddie, a smooth coat collie. Laddie was dual trained for retrieval skills and for balance and stability while walking. Laddie retired in 2008 and Bronson, also a smooth coat collie, stepped in to fill his harness. In 2013, Asha, another smooth coat collie, because her 3rd service dog partner.

Service Dogs 101: The Basics on Bringing a Dog into Your Life

Karen Kain

Author, Abilities Expo Parent Ambassador

Karen Kain, Abilities Expo Parent Ambassador

Karen Kain - parent to Lorrin who was medically fragile and vaccine-injured – talks with parents about how to enjoy their children no matter their abilities. She shares how she bridged the gap from special needs to mainstream experiences in all arenas of life: best friends, slumber parties, concerts, camping, beauty pageants, Girl Scouts, school dances, musicals and endless travels. Karen is committed to helping children who are living a unique life experience by supporting their parents. In 1994 her daughter Lorrin was severely vaccine injured and at that time Karen's world fell apart. Life as she knew it was put "on hold" as she tried everything that she could to "heal" Lorrin and give her the best life possible. When Lorrin was 3, Karen made a pivitol choice to embrace Lorrin's uniqueness and enjoy all areas of life, living without rules and boundaries. Karen overcame life's massive roadblocks as she raised Lorrin. Together they held their heads high as they paved the way to giving all parents permission to explore and enjoy life. Karen found that the solution to winning in this life of parenting a unique child started with being committed to having a great attitude and perspective regardless of their situation. Learn more at and

The Parent's Journey: Ideas for Celebrating Life with Your Child

Magdalena Love, OTR

Clinical Education Specialist, Permobil Inc.

Magdalena Love, OTR Bio Photo

Originally from Florida, Magdalena received her Masters of Occupational Therapy from University of Florida in 2009. She then went on to hold an Occupational Therapist position at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, TX on the Spinal Cord Injury & Specialty Rehab team. Magdalena was actively involved in seating and mobility clinics during her career at TIRR. She currently works for Permobil as Clinical Education Specialist and is an active member of AOTA.

Wheelchair Standers: Stand for Function!

Corazon J. Ketchem

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Noah's Ark & Co., Inc, 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Disaster Preparedness Organization

Ms. Corazon J. Ketchem has over 25 years' experience in non-profit & for profit corporate marketing, strategic planning, administrative, project and event management with various organizations such as Cisco Systems & Interaction Associates. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Business Management from the Ateneo de Manila University – a prestigious Jesuit university in the Philippines. She currently and passionately advocates for individual and family disaster preparedness through Noah's Ark's partnerships with Georgia VOAD, American Red Cross, The Joseph's Network & the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services Emergency Preparedness Committee. She actively supports the Gwinnett Multicultural Advisory Committee as well as their local Boy Scout troop. She and her husband, Shoji Ketchem are parents of two boys. They enjoy living and working in Gwinnett County, GA.

Disaster! Planning, Preparation and Collaboration for Emergencies

Yvette Pegues, MEd

Mitch Tepper Bio Photo

Yvette Pegues had NO local familial resources and two small children when she walked into the operating room but did NOT walk out. A year into an adult diagnosis of a congenital brain condition, Arnold Chiari Malformation, Type I, she realized that it would take all reminisce of her Executive Program/Project management skill-set and training (previously used operate a Worldwide/Fortune 10 company) to manage the many moving parts of her treatment and recovery. She's currently dependent on mobility aids and effectively leveraging the "4/4's©" program to help families' live life fully with a disability. Visit her online at

The 4/4's for the Newly Disabled, Family Members and Healthcare Providers

Mary Peterson, CTC

Mary Peterson Bio Photo

Accessible Travel Consultant, ABLE to Travel, a program of United Spinal Association

Mary Peterson is a certified travel consultant and has been working in the travel industry for the past twelve years. She is currently working for ABLE to Travel, a program of Untied Spinal Association. Mary has extensive knowledge especially when it comes to planning accessible travel. She is an expert in the field, as she has dealt with all types of issues that a traveler using a wheelchair or who has limited mobility may encounter during a trip. Mary's background in nursing has given her an advantage in knowing the broad spectrum of disabilities and how to better meet her clients' needs. As a travel consultant at ABLE to Travel, Mary is extremely knowledgeable about accessible ground transportation to and from the airport, stowage of wheelchairs and other mobility equipment on board an aircraft, accessible hotel accommodations, accessible cruise bookings, medical equipment rental at the destination, accessible train reservations, travel insurance, tour groups and package deals, arranging for lift equipped vans and car rentals with and without hand controls. Additionally, Mary is a member of the TSA's Disability Coalition under the TSA Office of Disability, Policy and Outreach, which improves the security screening experience for passengers with disabilities. Mary is able to provide feedback to the Coalition based on the experience of her clients traveling worldwide.

Planning Accessible Travel

David M Popoli, MD

David Popoli Bio Photo

Medical Director for Telemedicine, Sports Medicine Physician, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Dr. Popoli attended Princeton University for undergraduate education. He then moved to New Orleans and completed his medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine. After a one-year internship in internal medicine at Boston University Medical Center, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA. The following year, he pursued a fellowship in Pediatric/Primary Care Sports Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Popoli joined Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in 2012 as an attending physician in Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine. Dr. Popoli's interests include adaptive athletics, overuse injuries, concussion, and dance medicine. He also has an interest in the use of innovative technologies to improve patient access to specialist care and was appointed Medical Director of Telemedicine for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in 2013.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Adaptive Sports Initiative: Helping and Healing Through Sport

Rev. Virginia Rodes, PhD

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000, Virginia continues an active professional life as a former pastor and project specialist. A PhD in religion and sexology from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, Dr. Rodes has led human sexuality workshops, trainings, and written human sexuality curriculum, including facilitating the Dating, Relationship, and Intimacy workshop, Atlanta Abilities Expo 2013. It is my pleasure once again, along with Dr. Mitch Tepper, to facilitate the Dating, Relationship, Intimacy workshop for the Atlanta Abilities Expo 2014.

Secrets to Great Intimacy: Creativity, Adaptability, Mindfulness and Sense of Humor

Nick Scott

President and Founder, Wheelchair Athletics Foundation; Abilities Expo National Ambassador

Workshop: Fitness for All Abilities: Ask Your Questions!

Chuck Shiery

Regional Sales Manager, BraunAbility

Chuck Shiery has over a decade of retail sales and sales management experience in the wheelchair accessible vehicle industry. Based in the Orlando area, he joined the BraunAbility team in 2012 and previously worked with a Florida- based mobility dealer, where he gained extensive knowledge of mobility products and features.

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Megan Talbert

Executive Director, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers for the Disabled

Megan Talbert is the Executive Director of Helping Hands and has been with the organization for 15 years. She spent many years traveling the country bringing Helping Hands' service animals to new clients and their families and educating them on the care, behavior, and health of these special monkeys. Ms. Talbert regularly speaks about the human-animal bond and Helping Hands' history and mission at universities, events, and conferences. She has been interviewed by CBS' "60 Minutes," "NBC Evening News," and "The Today Show," as well as a variety of international media stories, "People Magazine," and the "Boston Globe."

Helping Hands Monkey Helpers: Is a Service Monkey Right for You or Someone You Know?

Mitchell S. Tepper, PhD, MPH

Mitch Tepper Bio Photo

Dr. Mitchell Tepper brings a lifetime of first-hand experience with chronic conditions and disability to his work as an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor, sex coach, writer, researcher, public speaker, licensed PAIRS Instructor, and self-proclaimed Prophet of Pleasure. He grew up with Crohn's Disease and broke his neck at age 20. After a private sector career in business and finance, Dr. Tepper realigned his life with his mission to end the silence around sexuality and disability. With no set career path in this field, Dr. Tepper founded his own company, The Sexual Health Network, and became a pioneer in the delivery of sexual health information and advice online with the launch of in 1996. Many in the disability community know Mitch from his column, Love Bites, which he wrote for New Mobility magazine for 10 years. Dr. Tepper is called on regularly by the media and has been featured on CNN, Discovery, PBS and in popular press, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, GQ, AARP, and HuffPost Live. Dr. Tepper lives in Atlanta with his wife Cheryl and their 17-year-old son, Jeremy.

Secrets to Great Intimacy: Creativity, Adaptability, Mindfulness and Sense of Humor

Naomi Walker

Staff Attorney, Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO)

Naomi Walker Bio Photo

Naomi Walker studied law at Emory University. She is a staff attorney at the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) and has worked there for 19 years. During this time, Naomi worked on behalf of people who have sought assistance in obtaining assistive technology (AT). She has challenged agency denials and policies that prevent people from obtaining what they need. Having realized the importance of self-advocacy, both personally and professionally, Naomi has developed expertise in how to encourage self-advocacy for people who are in need of assistive technology. Consequently, Naomi has often guided people as to how they can access resources to obtain the equipment they need. She has also provided multiple trainings on these skills.

How To Fund Assistive Technology

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