WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 15, 2021)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) announced today its next “Centennial Conversation”—curated webinars focused on the pressing issues and topics affecting people who are blind or have low vision. Making Money Work: Including Disability in the Financial Equation is a free, Zoom-based panel discussion scheduled for July 22 at 2 p.m. EDT.

Making Money Work will focus on the importance of including disability when tackling diversity, equity, and financial inclusion. The session will include a live Q&A after the panel's conversation, moderated by Denise Steele, community engagement manager, JPMorgan Chase. The panelists are:
• Rodney E. Hood, Board Member and Former Chairman, National Credit Union Administration
• Tom Foley, Executive Director, National Disability Institute
• Lauren Oplinger, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase

The Centennial Conversations are being held in celebration of AFB’s 100 years of creating a more inclusive world for people who are blind or visually impaired. This event is free to attend, and live captions, American Sign Language, audio description, and transcripts will be available. Centennial events are made possible through the generous sponsorship of partners like Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Horizon Therapeutics, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Oncor, American Printing House for the Blind, Exelon, Facebook, LHH, Northrop Grumman, Pepco, U.S. Bank, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Walmart, Microsoft, and Verizon. For those interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amanda Kolling, senior engagement and brand manager, at akolling@afb.org.

About the Speakers

Denise Steele serves as a Community Engagement Manager for JPMorgan Chase, supporting the Central Region and is based in Michigan. As part of the company’s Corporate Responsibility team, she focuses on building enduring relationships with community stakeholders in support of the firm’s efforts to drive positive, lasting community-centered impact. Steele’s 30+ year career includes 17 years of community lending and development experience. She is a proven leader in the community, and has developed a reputation as a champion for change. Steele co-chairs two county-wide Community Reinvestment Act Associations in Michigan, and is a member of Center for Disability Inclusive Community Development national workgroup, managed by the National Disability Institute.

Rodney E. Hood was sworn in as the eleventh National Credit Union Association Chairman on April 8, 2019, and served in that role until January 25, 2021, and he continues to serve on its Board. Hood was previously nominated to the NCUA Board by President George W. Bush; during his first term on the board, he was appointed vice chairman. As a board member, Hood serves as the NCUA’s representative on the Board of Directors of NeighborWorks America, one of the nation’s leading affordable housing and community development organizations. Hood previously served as a corporate responsibility manager for JPMorgan Chase, managing national partnerships with nonprofit organizations, financial regulators, and community stakeholders to promote financial inclusion and shared prosperity in underserved communities. Hood also served as a member of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Board of Visitors and as a member of the UNC School of Arts Board of Trustees. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Museum of Art and as a member of the Board of Governors for the UNCCollege System. Hood holds a bachelor’s degree in business, communications, and political science from UNC Chapel Hill.

Tom Foley is trained as a tax lawyer and financial planner with over 30 years’ experience serving the disability community. Blind himself, Foley has dedicated his career to partnering with other thought leaders to address the complex drivers of economic inequality and to create pathways to employment and financial security for vulnerable communities. He is currently the executive director of the National Disability Institute and the author of EQUITY, the first asset-building book for people with disabilities. Foley has partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to design programs and provide technical assistance to better reach the disability community.

Lauren Oplinger is a vice president with JPMorgan’s Public Finance Sales Group, covering bond funds, asset managers, and money market funds for tax-exempt and taxable municipal bond products. She joined the firm in 2008 as a summer analyst, having graduated from College of the Holy Cross with degrees in math and economics. At JPMorgan, she served as a member of the Global Leadership Team for the Access Ability Business Resource Group and co-founded the Blind and Low-Vision Working Group. In 2018, the firm recognized Oplinger as one of its Disability Champions, an award reserved for those who go above and beyond to create an inclusive environment for people with disabilities. In 2019, Careers and the DisABLED magazine recognized Lauren as one of 10 “Employees of the Year” for being a role model for people with disabilities.

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About the American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. AFB is proud to steward the Helen Keller Archive, maintain and expand the digital collection, and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. Visit: www.afb.org