John, an award-winning columnist, has been writing about disability issues for nearly 30 years. Having written over 2,000 articles, which have included a weekly column for Business Week and Business Week Online and appearances in publications including The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, London Times and Newsweek, among many others, John coined the phrase "Assistive Technology" and is credited with raising awareness of disability issues and the benefits of assistive technology to an international level. He is also the author of "Assistive Technologies: Exploring a Universe of Opportunities for People with Disabilities."
Katharine is a health writer in the San Francisco area. She is the founder and CEO of a freelance writing firm, Katharine Gardner, where she specializes in writing about auto-immune and chronic health issues. She is the former managing editor of Bay Bella Publishing, which publishes Mocha Bride and Bride Nine. She also has worked as a research operations manager at the Myelin Repair Foundation, which develops treatments for multiple sclerosis patients. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and a Master's degree in Political Science from Lehigh University. She resides in Menlo Park, Calif.
Lisa is a public relations professional and a wheelchair user with a 20-year history of helping organizations elevate thoughts and ideas into brands. Consulting for the past 14 years has given Lisa the chance to be entrepreneurial and to help clients communicate their mission and advocacy efforts, including Hospice Atlanta, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Egleston and Shepherd Center in Atlanta, one of the nation’s top spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospitals. Lisa is a founding affiliate of the Green Earth PR Network and spearheaded its launch of CONNECT, a subscription database of events in green business and social responsibility. She is based in Orange County, Calif., and Atlanta.
Megan writes about the latest health news affecting people with disabilities. Having a son born with multiple congenital heart defects, she also covers issues facing children with disabilities and the impact of disability on family life. She founded her own freelance writing firm, Megan McDonnell, in 2007, and also worked as senior vice president of ICR, a public relations agency. She began her career as a broadcast journalist at an ABC affiliate in Nebraska, where she earned Associated Press awards for excellence in television news reporting. Megan serves on the board of directors of Little Hearts, Inc., a non-profit organization providing support to families of children with congenital heart defects. She chairs the public relations committee for the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley and is a frequent speaker on the emotional impact on families with chronically ill children. Megan holds a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Marist College. She lives in New Fairfield, Conn., with her husband and son.
Melissa writes about autism spectrum disorders, having grown up with a brother who has autism. She is a media outreach and communications strategy coordinator for a small, research-based nonprofit in New York. She previously worked in the national headquarters of the Obama campaign and for a global public relations agency. She holds an Master's degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Northwestern University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Brooklyn.
Michael writes stories on deaf and hard of hearing issues. He's a business consultant who advises companies in the technology and accessibility markets, and writes his own blog. Profoundly deaf since birth, Michael has a passionate interest in technologies that enable people with disabilities to strive for equal access in their workspace and lifespace. Over his career, he has worked for American Express, Thomson Reuters, and BCD Travel. He received an Master's degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's degree from Brown University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Elise.
Penny Reeder has been writing about disability issues for a number of years. Formerly, editor of the American Council of the Blind's monthly magazine, The Braille Forum, she has blogged for Gettinghired.com, among other web sites, and contributes frequently to Independence Today News. She is a mother of six, the grandmother of four, an advocate for all people with disabilities, a rehabilitation teacher for people who are blind, and the current editor of Guide Dog Users, Inc.'s quarterly news magazine, PawTracks. Blind as a result of Retinopathy of Prematurity, she lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., and enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Stephanie writes on fashion and lifestyle issues for people with disabilities. Born with congenital physical defects on her hand and feet, Stephanie is a disability fashion consultant and longtime advocate in the field of accessible clothing for retail clients. She is also a former TV reporter/producer, on-air radio personality and voiceover actor, and has been the trusted voice for many commercial clients including Travel Channel, McDonalds, Macy’s, Popeye’s and Hoover. She is an adjunct Fashion and Speech professor at The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, and is developing a Disability Fashion Stylist training program that will help train stylists in the field of accessible fashion. Stephanie holds a BA in Communications from Sullivan University, an MA in Communications from Regent University, and is pursuing an MFA in Fashion Journalism at The Academy of Art University.
Suzanne is a writer, author and blogger who has real experience with a disability. She lost her hearing at age four and grew up profoundly deaf. In 2002 she received a cochlear implant, which she credits as “the ultimate assistive technology.” Suzanne was the former assistive technology columnist for BusinessWeek.com, giving rise to her fascination with technology that helps people with disabilities surmount barriers in the workplace and life space. She is a trusted source of disability information for The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek.com, Media Post, Ability magazine, HealthDay, Disaboom and other publications and she serves on the advisory board of the National Center on Disability and Journalism. She is also the author of The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology. She holds a MS in Journalism from the Medill School of Northwestern University and a BA in Communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She resides in Greenwich, Conn., with her husband and small son, James.