Speaking Testimonials

“Emily’s extensive knowledge of disability rights advocacy combined with her ability to engage audiences in a meaningful way is why we’ve had her speak at three different events in 2020. She first spoke to participants of The Arc of Texas Partners in Disability Leadership Program, which trains professionals working in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field in Texas on how to be effective stewards of the disability rights movement and leaders within their agencies and organizations. She was a keynote speaker at our annual inclusive education conference for teachers, school administrators, and other education professionals. She is such an enjoyable speaker that we booked her again for our annual local chapter conference to present on the importance of storytelling and advocacy. Emily’s strength is in meeting her audience where they are. She communicates clearly and with kindness, and her presentation style helps participants feel comfortable sharing what they’ve learned with others. Texas now has better disability rights advocates because of Emily’s knowledge, passion, and style. We highly recommend Emily, and are looking forward to working with her again soon.”

Ginger Mayeaux, MSSWDirector of Public Policy & Advocacy, The Arc of Texas

“Emily was a speaker on the Social Media/New Media Panel at the 4th Annual Disability & Change Symposium: Representation in the Arts and Media at Temple University. The audience included undergraduates, faculty, scholars, and community members. Emily spoke to self-representation using social media, including advocacy, building community, and influencing policy. She also discussed “inspiration porn” — reducing people with disabilities to pity-inspired emotional appeals. Emily gave equal time to the reality of trolls, the need to make thoughtful decisions about transparency and revealing yourself in the online public square, and the need for self-protection and self-care. Emily self-discloses in a quick, clever, forthright, and energetic manner. Her words and style were particularly resonant with the audience for this event.”

Kate Fialkowski, Director of Academic Programs
Institute on Disabilities, Temple University

“Emily moderated a panel of self-advocates at a Self-Advocacy Forum hosted by UJA-Federation of New York in December. Her passion, charm, wit, and thoughtfulness were apparent throughout the panel, both with her own contributions as a panelist as well as her role as moderator. Emily is an engaging, dynamic presenter with a keen awareness for her audience as well as her co-presenters, and as such she was able to seamlessly transition between panelists with very different experiences and points of view, while keeping the presentation unified and relevant. We would be delighted to have Emily come back to present any time; it was an absolute pleasure working with her, and she was an extremely important and engaging contributor to our program.”

Meredith Zylberberg, LMSW
Planner, UJA-Federation of New York

“Emily never fails to provide a meaningful and motivating presentation to New Jersey’s Partners in Policymaking classes. She leaves a lasting impact as she teaches participants about advocacy using content that honors history, weaves in her personal story and professional expertise, and engages the audience. The information she shares about the use of social media in advocacy and promotion of disability rights is thought-provoking and powerful. She encouraged everyone to think deeply about the negative impact of sharing posts that invoke pity over empowerment (e.g. inspiration porn) and ways to effectively create a movement using the technology available to us today.”

Colleen McLaughlin, MEd, Associate Director
The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

“Emily speaks to our occupational therapy students in their last semester before they head out for their internships and then their careers. She is so thoughtful. Couched in humor and using poignant examples, Emily talks about the powerful relationship between a client and their OT. She talks about her life, not her disability. Students are free to ask questions. No topics are taboo so the discussion does get a bit lively. The time just flies!”

Anita Perr, PhD, OT, ATP, FAOTA, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University

“When I coach educators and school leaders about how to be responsive to disabled students, I talk about the importance of being both empathetic and candid in their approach. Emily’s presentation modeled that with such depth of purpose, and adults and children alike responded to the safe space she held for their learning. And learn they did! This went way beyond awareness of Emily’s particular disability – her powerful narrative about how everyone can advocate will change the world one candid question at a time.”

Danielle Shylit
Educational Leader

“I had the pleasure of having Emily as a guest speaker via Skype for a unit I was teaching on Disabilities in the Media and Identity First Language vs. People First Language. Emily’s presentation was eye opening not only for my undergraduate students but for me as special education professor. Many textbooks frame how the disabled should be referenced but Emily helped us realize that we should support individuals with disabilities by having conversations about how they choose to identify themselves- it is not about what makes us feel comfortable or what a textbook says to do. Emily has challenged me to evaluate the way in which I teach inclusive practices to prospective educators and her writings and advocacy will allow me bring a level of authenticity to not only my teaching platform but also my research efforts.”

Kay Rone Wilson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Special Education, University of Louisiana Lafayette