WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 17, 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. Inclusion, Intersectionality, and the Future of Work is scheduled for June 24 at 2 p.m. EDT.

Inclusion, Intersectionality, and the Future of Work will gather a diverse group of leaders to explore what the future of work will look like, particularly for people who are blind or have low vision. Moderated by Katie Kelley, SVP, talent development solutions director at LHH, the panelists are:
• Jennison Asuncion, Co-Founder, Global Accessibility Awareness Day & Vice-chair, GAAD Foundation
• Keri Gray, DEI Educator and Consultant on Race and Disability
• Sachin Pavithran, Ph.D., Executive Director at U.S. Access Board
• Sara Minkara, Founder and CEO of Sara Minkara, LLC, and Founder and Board Member of Empowerment Through Integration

The group will seek to address how we can strengthen workplace inclusion and reduce inequalities of race, disability, and gender; how we ensure that new workplace technologies are accessible and inclusive; and how we share our understanding of a changing occupational landscape to inform, prepare, and train workers who are blind or have low vision. The live session will be followed by an audience Q&A.

These 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. Both events are 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. Special support for ‘The Future of Work’ provided by CTIA and The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. For those interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amanda Kolling, senior engagement and brand manager, at akolling@afb.org.

About the Speakers

Katie Kelley serves as the senior vice president of talent development solutions for the U.S. Western Region at Lee Hecht Harrison. Katie successfully brought the 5050 Women on Boards campaign to Oregon in 2019 as chair and served as a core member of the campaign’s statewide leadership committee in 2020 in an effort to drive education and advocacy for gender balance and diversity on corporate boards. Kelley earned a B.A. in Psychology at Boston College and a master’s in Clinical Social Work at Smith College. She went on to complete her postgraduate work as a psychotherapist at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Katie's first book, Career Courage, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.

Jennison Asuncion is a digital accessibility leader who has worked in the field since 2006. In 2012, he co-founded Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), an annual, grassroots effort inviting the broader, high-tech community around the world to participate in in-person and virtual activities intended to raise awareness of digital accessibility issues that people with different disabilities encounter. On the occasion of GAAD's 10th anniversary this year, the GAAD Foundation was launched, with Jennison named as Vice-chair. The foundation's mission is to disrupt the culture of technology and digital product development to include accessibility as a core requirement. In addition to being a member of Knowbility’s Board of Directors, Jennison serves on the Boards of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired San Francisco as well as Accessible Media Inc.

Keri Gray is a disability, equity, and inclusion educator and consultant on race and disability. Her work centers on exploring the intersections of race, gender, and disability across the workplace. As a consultant, speaker, and facilitator, she works with companies and organizations to leverage intersectionality as an organizational practice. Through the National Alliance of Multicultural Disabled Advocates, Gray collaborates with organizers across the country to invest in the livelihood and leadership of Black and Brown people with disabilities. Gray has recruited approximately 4,000 professionals for over 100 organizations and Fortune 500 companies. She has also designed and managed programs for over 1,000 professionals that have helped participants secure competitive employment, identify transferable skills, build an influential network, and gain notable opportunities.

Sachin Dev Pavithran, Ph.D., is the executive director of the U.S. Access Board. He was appointed to the Access Board as a public member in 2012 and reappointed to a second term four years later. During his tenure, he has served terms as chair and as vice chair. In addition, Dr. Pavithran has served as program director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program and as the director of policy for the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University since 2011. He has over 20 years’ experience developing and testing assistive technology and has lectured and trained extensively on the subject. He is the former president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities’ national board and is a member of the National Federation of the Blind, where he chairs the Committee on Autonomous Vehicles and Innovations in Transportation. He was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Utah Advisory Committee and has represented the Access Board on the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission’s Board of Advisors.

Sara Minkara is the founder and CEO of Sara Minkara, LLC, a founder and board member of Empowerment Through Integration, and a pioneer and creator of the Discovery in the Dark series. Leveraging all aspects of her identity—as a Blind, Muslim, Arab-American woman—Minkara promotes “authentic inclusion” to create genuine empowerment—for herself and everyone she meets. Through virtual or in-person Inspired Speaking engagements, her flagship Discovery In The Dark workshops, customized courses, and one-on-one coaching sessions, Minkara facilitates a self-transformative journey to create authentic inclusion that helps clients achieve their goals as an individual and in their organization. Her areas of expertise are: Inclusion and Representation, Women Empowerment, Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. Minkara has received multiple awards for her passionate advocacy, including Forbes 30 Under 30, the Echoing Green Fellowship, and the Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award. She holds her BA in Math and Economics from Wellesley University and master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University.

# # #
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