Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Raleigh 2023

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023

Ablr Celebrates First Annual GAAD: Raleigh!

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), we want to highlight the amazing work that is going on right here in our backyard – Raleigh! From innovative technology to inclusive policy, handfuls of individuals and organizations have been working to make Raleigh a more inclusive and accessible city. Join the Ablr team at the Pendo Headquarters in Downtown Raleigh on May 18th to learn about the accessibility movement taking place here in this growing city.

CART captioning will be provided during this event. For additional accommodations, please email Sarah Clark.

Event Time & Day

May 18, 2023, 8:30 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Sharon Delaney McCloud standing outside and smiling brightly in a green blazer.

Sharon Delaney McCloud
Director of Corporate Communications, UNC Health

Sharon Delaney McCloud is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, TEDx Speaker, Certified Diversity Executive CDE®, adjunct professor, agency owner, cancer slayer and communications expert whose goal is to help people make an impact in business and life by embracing the power of communication. As you’ll hear her say often, words matter.

By sharing how storytelling in business can move hearts and minds, Sharon imparts expert
insights to leaders and their teams so they can drive business results. Audiences worldwide
describe her programs as “deeply relevant, moving and actionable.”

Featured in Thrive Global, Enterprising Women, Sheryl Sandburg’s Option B platform and coauthor
of Keep Going, Memoirs of Strength, Courage & Perseverance, Sharon shows people
how they can inspire, influence and ignite change. Her diverse client list includes Cisco, Lenovo,
Eaton, 7-Eleven, Duke University, UNC Health, Florida State University, SAS, Biogen, Merz and
many more.

Prior to launching her 3 time honored INC 5000 company, Sharon spent 20 years as a television
journalist covering everything from NASA to politics to the Super Bowl at stations across the

Visit Sharon’s LinkedIn page.

Keynote Speaker

Ed Summers smiling warmly in front of a solid blue background.

Ed Summers
Head of Accessibility, GitHub

Ed Summers is a blind software engineer and an accessibility specialist. He has a B.S. in Computer Science and professional experience as a software developer, engineering manager, and leader of accessibility programs within large technology companies. Ed’s personal mission is to enable people with disabilities to realize their full potential in the classroom and the 21st century knowledge economy. He fulfills that mission as the Head of Accessibility at GitHub where he empowers people of all abilities to create and collaborate. He also serves on disability-related government and not-for-profit boards.

Visit Ed’s LinkedIn page.

Special Guests

Lindsay Wrege smiling brightly, wearing a black polo shirt and colorful earrings.

Lindsay Wrege
Co-Founder & CEO, 321 Coffee

Lindsay Wrege is the co-founder and CEO of 321 Coffee, a coffee shop and roaster in Raleigh, NC that employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her inclusive staff, featuring people with down syndrome, autism, and other forms of neurodiversity, together are modeling inclusion for other companies to follow. She started this company in college, and it now employs over 50 adults with IDD. Lindsay believes in the power of using business for social impact.

Visit Lindsay’s LinkedIn page.

Ada Lopez smiling brightly, wearing a light pink blazer and standing in front of a white background.

Ada Lopez
Product Diversity Officer, Lenovo

Ada Lopez manages the Lenovo Product Diversity Office team and is
responsible for the daily operations of the Diversity by Design Process. In
addition to leading the team, she works with development teams across
the company to implement inclusive and accessible design practices.
With over 18 years of professional experience as a teacher, and both a
product and project manager, Ada understands the importance of creating processes that increase diversity and inclusion which are supported through education, employee empowerment, and are championed by leaders. She believes that by including individuals from different backgrounds, varying abilities, and unique minds in decision making, human advancement is accelerated. She is customer obsessed and is thrilled by different points of view and large-scale systemic change.

Visit Ada’s LinkedIn Page.

Fireside Chat

John in a light blue check shirt, smiling brightly and resting his hands on the top of his white cane.

John Samuel
Cofounder & CEO, Ablr

John Samuel is the Cofounder and CEO of Ablr, and the author of “Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions”! John has been lucky enough to have a career as an intrapreneur. What this means is that he’s the one that companies turn to, to develop innovative ideas and bring strategic projects to life. Most recently, John launched Ablr, an award winning disability inclusion and accessibility business, for LCI, the largest employer of people who are blind in the US.

Visit John’s LinkedIn page.

Crystal Tenan smiling brightly outside in a bright white long sleeve shirt.

Crystal Tenan
Senior UX Accessibility Specialist, Edward Jones

I have been in disability field for the last 10 years. One of my top strengths is that I’m an includer and I think that is why I love this field so much. I want everyone to be included and to feel welcomed in all facets of life.

I pride myself on my ability to make accessibility fun and my ability to make sure people have the tools, resources and support they need to make their digital content accessible for all. I am honored to be part of this field and am so proud of the work that I have the opportunity to do.

My top 5 strengths: Includer, Maximizer, WOO (winning others over), Belief & Responsibility.

Visit Crystal’s LinkedIn Page.

Greg Kraus, wearing a gray suit, smiles warmly as he stands outside.

Greg Kraus
Director of Accessibility, SAS

I work with organizations to make their IT products and services accessible, from Fortune 500 companies, to higher education institutions, to startups, to open source projects. I bring a breadth and depth of accessibility experience that is both engaging and transformative, combining my experience in implementing accessibility at the institutional level with my technical ability to develop innovative software solutions. I take a people-centered approach to accessibility – accessibility is about people who need access to products and services and it is also about people who will be making changes to their own workflows in order to deliver accessible products and services. Meeting people where they are, together we create a vision for where they want to be, and then we journey to make it a reality.

Visit Greg’s LinkedIn Page.